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High Water Temperatures on The South Platte River

August 14, 2011
Author: Trouts Staff

We wanted to bring everyone up to speed on the high water temperatures currently plaguing the Deckers and Cheesman Canyon sections of the South Platte River.  Due to a mechanical problem with the valve at the bottom of Cheesman Reservoir, Denver Water is currently having to pull water through the Johnson Valve, which is about 60' below the surface.  The issue with this is that the water at this depth is hovering a bit over 60 degrees, thus creating dangerously high water temperatures in the South Platte below Cheesman Dam.  The situation in Cheesman Canyon isn't at critical levels, but anglers will notice a decrease in the productivity of the fishing as a result of the higher temps.  Fishing will remain most productive during the morning and evening, when the cooler air temps will help keep the water a bit cooler.

The situation down around Deckers on the other hand is reaching critical levels.  We have been getting a lot of reports of dead fish, which is a direct result of high water temperatures and mishandling of the fish.  We are currently suggesting that anglers look to other rivers or sections of the South Platte if they're looking to get out, but if you must fish the South Platte at Deckers, please follow these suggestions:

-  Use 3X and 4X leaders and tippets as to allow you to bring the fish in quickly

-  Do not over play a fish.  This will exhaust them and most likely lead to them dying

-  Pinch all barbs, and keep the fish in the water.  No pictures

-  If water temperatures reach 67o, STOP FISHING.  All outfitting services are following this guideline, so please do the same

-  If you see other anglers not following these guidelines, please politely inform them of the situation

Denver Water is hoping to have repairs done on the broken valve sometime in September.  Keep your fingers crossed for a reprieve in the hot weather, as a cooler spell of day time and night time temperatures would do great things for the section of water.  Thank you for your understanding and help preserving this great resource.

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