Waterton Canyon Fishing Report

Last Update - 5/28/2016- Waterton is finally open to the public after a long period of closure. The fishing has been marginal thus far but it still may be worth spending a few hours looking around. Expect to see flows stay pretty high for the coming weeks as we continue experiencing runoff from the melting snow. I personally focus my efforts up above the bridge about 4 miles up from the parking lot and fish the top two miles. Scuds and worm patterns are very effective in the upper canyon this time of year as well as large stonefly nymphs. There is also a very healthy population of salmonflies in the canyon that normally start hatching about now through the end of June. Fish dry-dropper rigs with larger foam salmonfly patterns such as the Chubby Chernobyl, Rogue River Salmonfly, and Red Yeager's Tantrum all in sizes 6-10 trailed by your favorite attractor nymph pattern. Look for seam lines against the bank and slower spots behind boulders and focus your efforts there.

River Information

Waterton Canyon is best accessed by mountain bike and offers Denver anglers a chance to catch trout close to home. This stretch of the South Platte River flows out of Strontia Springs Reservoir and tends to hold Rainbow and Brown trout of the small-to-mid sized variety. However, like most every river in Colorado, is home to a few very nice ones. The larger fish are typically ones that have moved out of Chatfield Reservoir and taken home in some of the larger pools and holes that exist in this 6.5 miles stretch of river. 


Winter/Spring: Midges, Baetis

Summer: Mayflies, Caddis, Terrestrials, Attractor Dries

Fall: Midges, Baetis, some Caddis

Seasonal Conditions

Waterton Canyon can be fished year round. Spring and Fall can be popular down lower near Chatfield Reservoir, as anglers look for migrating fish moving up into the river to spawn. 

River Access

To get here from Denver,  take C-470  to Wadsworth Boulevard. Exit here and take a right at the bottom of the ramp. Drive 4.2 miles. Turn left on Waterton Road. There is a parking approximately a quarter of a mile down the road and on your left. As you move up the canyon, there are six public parking lots availble named Mule Deer, Blue Heron, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Rattlesnake, and Bighorn Sheep.