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North Fork of the South Platte

Man holding large trout near the bank on the North Fork of the South Platte River

14 Day Forecast: Low flows, all natural...

Effective Patterns: #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #10 Pine Squirrel Leech, San San Worms, Chamois Leeches, #20 Red Larva, #18 Bs Head Flashback Pheasant Tail, 18-20 Rainbow Warrior, #16 Caddis Pupae, #10 Pat's Rubber Legs, #14-16 Bead Head Breadcrust, #20-22 Manhattan Midge, and Crystal Buggers.


Stream Conditions, Effective Patterns, & Expert Fly-Fishing Tips from Pat Dorsey

The North Fork of the South Platte River offers yet another opportunity to sample the South Platte River system. The vast majority of this swift, fast flowing stem of the South Platte River is within an hour’s reach of metropolitan Denver, nevertheless, this branch gets over-shadowed by the renowned South Fork. The headwaters of the North Fork, as it is referred to, commence on the eastern side of legendary Kenosha Pass. The North Fork is extremely small and expeditious for the first several miles until it joins forces with diverted water from the bottom of Dillon Reservoir via the Roberts Tunnel. Another tributary—Geneva Creek—further adds a substantial quantity of water to the North Fork near the small town of Grant. This creek is especially influential during run-off as the North Fork swells and becomes high and roily. Several other smaller side-streams also enter the river but are not the magnitude of the two previously mentioned sources of water.

The North Fork is comprised of shallow riffles, runs, and an abundance of pocket water. Deep holes are uncommon throughout this section of river. The water is gin clear, and standard sight nymphing tactics work best on a day-to-day basis. Short-line nymphing is the most effective technique with the heavy brush, small pockets, and quick seams—all of which are key holding areas for the trout. Typically if it looks “fishy”, it generally is, and of course it’s always lucrative to find fish positioned where you think they should be.

Trophy trout await you on many of our leases on the North Fork of the South Platte.  To book a day on Boxwood, Long Meadow, North Fork Ranch, or the Meadows, call the Blue Quill Angler (303-674-4700) and we'll gladly assist you.

Tips & Other Information:

Flows are currently a touch high on the North Fork of the South Platte. Denver Water plans on supplying down stream irrigation demand via the North Fork until Cheesman Reservoir fills. (For more information on Cheesman Reservior’s low flows, see that report.) Anglers will need to target the soft water margins along the rivers edge where the trout are stacked up trying to get away from the heavy currents. Effective patterns have been egg imitations, San Juan Worms, a variety of Bead Heads, Leeches, and midge larvae and pupae.

Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing