Reporter: Trout's Guide Staff
Current Fishing Conditions:
March Fishing Report for South Platte at Cheesman Canyon
March in both Cheesman Canyon and Deckers is one of our favorite times of year for both of these sections. As air and water temperatures warm, fish and bug life will become more and more active. On warmer days, look for Blue Winged Olive and Midges hatching mid-day and flats and tailouts can offer superb early season dry fly fishing. Still focus on the slower and deeper runs as the water is still cold, and you will likely be still nymphing a large portion of your day if you want to maximize your fish potential. Flows have been holding at a great level at start of the month, but we all know that can change on a whim. Still focus your efforts in the middle portion of the day when the water temperatures warm. Later in March or especially if flows elevate, don’t be opposed to slow stripping a streamer. In Cheesman Canyon, scuds have been especially effective due to the great seasonal flows.
Be wary this month especially of spawning fish. Please do not fish to actively breeding fish and be wary when wading shallow pea gravel looking for redds. If you would like to better understand how to identify redds or spawners when fishing, call the shop. We’re happy to educate!
Insects and Natural Food Sources
As it is still early season, fish will primarily focus on midge and baetis as their primary insect food sources. Eggs will become the flavor du jour as water temperatures elevate after we begin getting more spring like conditions. A small percentage of fish’s diet will also consist of micro-stoneflies and scuds (in Cheesman) too. For another recent report from the South Platte River CLICK HERE.
Cheesman Canyon is by far one of the most remarkable and unique trout fisheries in the Rocky Mountain West. With nearly 4 miles of Gold Medal water that is only accessible by foot, Cheesman Canyon offers visitors an angling experience they will never forget. But be warned, this fishery will test the skills of the most advanced angler, so don't expect fishing this river to be a walk in the park. Because this section of the South Platte River is located below Cheesman Reservoir, flows are dictated by reservoir releases but allow this river to be fishable 365 days a year. There are two access points for this fishery, one at the bottom of the canyon and one at the top of the canyon. The bottom access is much easier and is the recommended route into Cheesman. For those looking for a physical challenge, the upper access trail will certainly meet your needs. Be sure to bring extra layers, food and water with you, as it is easy to find yourself far from the comforts of your vehicle.
The South Platte River starts high in the mountains surrounding South Park as numerous creeks and springs drain eastward. The river cuts through Eleven Mile, Cheesman, and Waterton Canyons before it enters Denver. The best quality trout water can be found in the tail waters below Spinney (AKA Dream Stream, AKA Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area), Eleven Mile, and Cheesman Reservoirs. The fish in these sections are as smart as they come and the fishing pressure can be heavy.
Dries: Nymphs: Streamers: