Effective Patterns: #22-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #20 Mercury Blood Midge, #20 Red Larva, #20 Pale Olive Larva, #20-22 Black Beauty, #20-22 Mercury Flashback Black Beauty, #20 JujuBaetis, #22 Stalcup's Baetis, #18-20 Mercury Flashback Pheasant Tail, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, #20 Mathew's Sparkle Dun, #20 Stalcup's CDC Biot Comparadun, #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:
Cheesman Reservoir is currently 63 percent full, so Denver Water is keeping the outflows low until the lake fills. Currently the snow pack is about normal in the South Platte corridor but the problem is that the lake is so low. I’m told by Denver Water the outflows will be 40 cfs until further notice. Anglers should prepare themselves for a.m. and p.m. midge hatches (both the big spring midge and the small midge) as well as mid-day blue-winged olive hatches. The water temps have finally reached 4o degrees so the trout are moving back into the riffles. Look for challenging fishing in the weeks to come until the flows improve.