Author: Trouts Guide Service
Fishing the South Platte River over the past week and a half has been dynamic. This past Saturday, we saw a significant increase in flows during our On-Stream Beginner Fly Fishing School. The river was high when we arrived and we saw it increase throughout the day. The flows near Deckers actually quadrupled over a 24-hour period. Even with rising water levels, the fishing was still good.
During our class we stressed that weight with our students. Using weight to ensure your flies are getting down to the right depth in the water column is key. This entails adding split shot in deeper runs and then removing weight when you move to shallower areas. We also talked about fishing tighter to the bank. The key to success during the high water periods is fishing a rod length in front of you. The fish don’t want to fight that heavy and fast current so focus on the soft areas behind the islands and large bends.
We also talked about patience and fishing runs in a very thorough manner. Make more casts through the runs than you normally would. They need time to see the flies. Go larger with the flies and the tippet - bust out the 4x and larger stonefly nymphs. That being said we did catch fish on smaller caddis and emergers. Don’t under estimate what these fish can see in high flows.
Another promising thing to note: adult caddis flies are now out in good numbers along with the blue wing olives. With the higher flows we saw no risers but caddis larva are on the menu now. We fished the Deckers area again this week and the conditions were consistent - as were the flows.
One other thing to note and this is straight from a Press Release by Denver Water:
DECKERS, Colo. — June 3, 2014 —Denver Water will be testing a new valve system at Cheesman Dam, located about five miles southwest of Deckers, Colo., on June 10 and 11. During the testing, the flow in the South Platte River below Cheesman Dam to Deckers will run in excess of 1,000 cubic feet per second, and flows are expected to run even higher between Deckers and Strontia Springs Reservoir.
“The test has been planned to coincide with peak runoff when flows will already be high,” said Dave Bennett, water resource manager for Denver Water. “However, we want to advise recreationists below the dam about the exceptionally high flows over the two-day test so no one is caught off guard.”
The flows below Cheesman Dam during normal peak runoff are between 600 and 800 cubic feet per second. Depending upon the weather, peak runoff may exceed this average this year because of the high snowpack and reservoir levels.
Recreationists can still access Cheesman Canyon during the test; however, fishing may be difficult due to the high and variable flows. The canyon is open from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
The new valves were installed in 2012 as part of a project to upgrade the dam, and until now water supply conditions have been too low to fully test the new valves. The dam’s valve system controls the amount of water flowing from the reservoir into the South Platte River.
- Denver Water
As we continue through early June we expect for conditions to keep changing and we expect to evolve our tactics as well. Peak run-off most likely will occur early this month and this will lead the way to more consistent conditions. If you have any questions about our June 21st On-Stream Beginner Fly Fishing School or our class being held in July please call the shop at 303.733.1434.