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Trip Report | Happy Meadows on the South Platte

June 16, 2011
Author: Tucker Ladd

With runoff is full swing, and a day off to hit the water, I was a bit concerned that any and all tailwaters near the front range would be a crowded mess.  With few other options, and a strong desire to chase some trout, I opted to hit up 11-Mile Canyon knowing that there are plenty of other options if all else failed.  Upon arrival at 11-mile around 8:30am, my worst fears were proven true with countless vehicles heading up the canyon for a day of fishing.  Not wanting to endure a day of combat fishing, I retreated downstream to the Happy Meadows section of the South Platte.  There I was pleasant greeted to great looking water, minimal crowds, and trout feeding aggressively all day.

Happy Meadows on the South Platte River.  An often overlooked section of public water.

My first and smallest fish of the day.  Start small and things will only get better!

The small brown trout were eating aggressively all day long, making for an enjoyable day of dry dropper fishing.

The Tungsten 20-Incher turned out to be the fly of the day

Houser getting his first up-close introduction to a trout.  What you won't see is the fish in his mouth 2 seconds after this photo was taken.  Luckily Mr. Brown Trout escaped unscathed.

You know it's a good day when this is a common sight, fish on!

My only rainbow and largest fish of the day.  Best part is that this fish was caught on my last cast... always a good way to call it a day. 

In the end, what I loved most about this day on the water was the reminder that trout fishing can be so simple and so pure.  A couple of dry flies, a few bead head nymphs, and a memorable day of fishing.  Can't wait to see what the rest of the summer has in store!


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