Overall River Rating:


Cheesman Canyon Fly Fishing Report

Latest Update, 3/12/15- The Chees' will fish well all winter long due to it's proximity to the dam and consistent water temperatures. Flows should stay low for the next several months making a fair bit of stealth all the more important. The fish should feed pretty consistently, particularly during the warmer mid-day hours. The key-as always- is figuring out what bugs their keying in on. Size 18-24 Midges and Baetis should be your focus. On our last few trips here, the fish have been really keyed into darker flies. Black rs2's, non-bead pheasant tails, black beauties, etc have all produced. As is common anywhere on the Platte, finding feeding fish this time of year is typically more important than having the exact 'right' fly.

River Information

Cheesman Canyon is without a doubt one of the prettiest places you could hope to fish in the Rockies- all while being just over an hour from Denver. This tailwater, fed by Cheesman Reservoir, is one of the most technical rivers in the state to fish, however can also be one of the most rewarding. A sight fisherman's paradise, Cheesman grows some very large trout and is home to a wide variety of aquatic insect life.  Aside from the fishing, the scenery, wildlife, and sheer grandeur of the canyon is worth the trip alone. This stretch of river is known for its large Rainbow trout, however holds a good population of nice brown trout as well. It typically runs crystal clear. Cheesman Canyon sees a considerable amount of pressure and a successful angler here will need light tippets, small flies, long leaders and fair bit of stealth. This three mile long canyon is strictly catch and release.


Winter/spring: Midges, Baetis

Summer: Mayflies, Stoneflies, Terrestrials, Caddis, Tricos

Fall: Mayflies, some Caddis, Terrestrials, Midges

Seasonal Conditions

Cheesman Canyon can be fished year round, as could be expected though, Spring through Fall will yield the most bug activity. Dry fly fishing can be had year round, starting with midges/baetis in the spring. By summer, the canyon will see caddis, a variety of mayflies, tricos, stoneflies and terrestrials. Sight fishing dry flies can put fish in the net, however nymphing will be your best bet for numbers of fish throughout the year. Autumn in the canyon will see an increase in midges, as well as some mayflies and caddis still hanging around. 

Winter fishing can be productive in the canyon, however anglers should use caution when taking on this endeavor- and possibly avoid going alone if possible. The terrain can get decently steep in places and treking though snow and ice in frozen waders and boots isn't always the easiest, or safest, combination. 

River Access

Cheesman Canyon's sits just a few miles west of the town of Deckers, on CR 26. Park at the Gill Trailhead and get ready to hike. Anglers should be prepared to hike in at least 30 or more to get to the more productive sections. Once in the canyon, cover ground and try to target individual feeding fish.