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Cheesman Canyon

14 Day Forecast: Look for sporadic hatches of midges

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Red Larvae, #20-22 Mercury Blood Midge, #22 Chocolate WD 40, #22-26 Black Beauty, #22-24 Medallion Midge, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-26 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #18 Micro Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22 South Platte Brassie, #22 Buckskin, #22 Jujubee Midge, #22 Rojo Midge, #20-24 Parachute Adams, #22-24 Matt's Midge, #22-24 Griffith Gnat, and #20-26 Parachute Adams.


Stream Conditions & Tips from Pat Dorsey for Fly Fishing Cheesman Canyon in Colorado

The picturesque boulder-filled Cheesman Canyon portion of the South Platte River is considered by many one of the most pristine fisheries in the world. This area, often times simply referred to, as “the Canyon” is an experience you’ll never forget. It’s the perfect scenario, magnificent beauty in combination with great fly fishing.

The South Platte River carves its way through a granite canyon lined with ponderosa pines, willows, fallen tree trunks, and various other assorted ground foliages. Boulders as big as Volkswagens Beetles create structure for the super-selective trout residing in the river. Mule Deer, Black Bear, Raccoons, Mountain Lyons, and Bald Eagles all add to the experience. Anglers can expect to catch mostly large rainbows supplemented with a few nice brown trout. The aforementioned “canyon” is as technical as they get, and if you can catch trout here, you can catch them anywhere in the world. This three-mile section is primarily a nymphing fishery requiring tiny midge and mayfly imitations with fine 5 and 6X tippets. Ideal flows for Cheesman Canyon are between 250  and 400 cfs. The regulations are flies and lures only. All fish must be returned to the water immediately.

Cheesman Canyon is one of the best tailwaters in the country. There's a common belief among "canyon regulars" that if you can catch fish on the South Platte River, you can fool fish anywhere in the world. There's no substitution for good technique in Cheesman Canyon.

Tips & Other Information:

Flows are excellent for this time of year. The good news is that Cheesman Reservoir is at 89 percent capacity despite the recent drought. And the good news is that our snowpack is up to 108% with all the recent storms in the high country.  It’s that time once again to target the slower pools and runs with tiny midge imitations.  It’s hard to go wrong with an egg midge combo or a red larva trailed by dark pupae, especially in the slower runs and pools where the trout have a long time to inspect your offerings.

Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing