Reporter: Trout's Guide Staff
Current Fishing Conditions:
May Fishing Report
As we predicted in April, flows have remained on the low side below Cheesman reservoir. As we get into May, the South Platte in the Cheesman Canyon and Deckers area will likely see a very brief to minimal spike in flows as we predict runoff will be very brief on our Front Range fisheries. But despite the continual low levels, the river has remained fishing very well. The substantial hatches of midges and baetis that we saw in April will likely continue in the early part of this month and mid day dry fly fishing has been exceptional in both sections. As we get later and later in May caddis will begin making an appearance as well. Fish are still holding in the deeper water as of the start of the month, so look for that dark green water or quick depressions in the river bottom.
5/17/13 Update: flows have remained minimal coming out of Cheesman Reservoir as Denver Water works to fill this holding pond. The good news here is that there is roughly 120cfs coming into the reservoir, which will help fill it soon rather than later. The fish seem to be getting used to these new surroundings, and have begun to be a bit more willing to eat a well resented fly. Water temps are still low with the reservoir releases coming from the bottom of the reservoir, but do be wary of water temps as we move into more consistant warm daytime temperatures.
Insects and Natural Food Sources
Baetis, midges and small black stoneflies will still make up a majority of the fish’s diet. As flows begin to elevate, aquatic annelids (aka the san juan worm) and scuds in Cheesman Canyon will be valuable food sources.
Bead Head attractor nymphs such as the Prince Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Copper John sz. 12-16, Attractor Dry Flies such as the Stimulator or Amy’s Ant sz 8-14, Small streamers sz 4-10, Baetis Emerger Patterns size 14-18, Caddis larva and pupae patterns size 12-16, Parachute Adams sz. 16-22, Parachute BWO sz. 16-22, Hatch Matcher BWO sz. 16-20, Tailwater Humpy sz.16-20, Brooks Sprout Midge sz. 18-22, Trico Emerger sz. 18-20, Scuds sz. 16-18, Worms sz. 16-20, Pheasant Tail sz. 18-22, Copper John sz. 18-20, RS2 sz. 18-22, WD-40 sz. 18-22, Black Beauty sz. 18-22, Mercury Baetis sz. 18-20
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: