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South Platte River - Denver

Report Date: 09/06/2013
  • Want to catch really big fish!? AND NO CROWDS????

    Reporter: Cody Hoeckelberg

    Flow Conditions:

    Water Clarity: Clear

    Current Fishing Conditions:

    September Fly Fishing Report - Denver South Platte River

    SEPTEMBER 14th UPDATE: The Denver South Platte River spiked to ~4000+ CFS on September 12th and is currently at 350 CFS.  Sight fishing conditions should improve over the ~72 hours when/if water levels recede below ~150 CFS. 

    Controlled flows have been sporadic below Chatfield reservoir with water levels bouncing between 10-110 CFS.  This, in conjunction with natural monsoon rain events continue to make the Denver South Platte River a bit chaotic.  Larger storms in the afternoon have increased flows right around 200 cfs – up from earlier this summer.  Some of the larger storms we saw in early August seem to be dissipating and with this the water should begin to clear nicely creating prime time sight fishing conditions for the month of September.

    Continue to look for fish moving into sections of shallow water to forage for a massive array of crawfish and worms that seem to get well dispersed after the high flow event.  Remember to look for structure in the river and areas where the river changes (shallow to deeper, large rocks/boulders, bridge abutments and “other urban structure”). 

    If we do continue to see monsoon rains throughout the rest of September, the river usually settles down and becomes much clearer within 3-4 days (the river most likely will clear up higher in the system more quickly because of the tributary flows from Bear Creek, Clear Creek, etc downstream).  As always, it pays to check out the real time stream flows before you head out the door.

    For more detailed strategic and tactical information about fly fishing in this section of the South Platte River you can check out our three part series. Or call the shop at 303.733.1434 if you have questions or need advice.

    Suggested patterns:  Crazy Dad 8, McTage's McLuvin (we have these in the shop but they are going to sell out fast!) Brasso's Brandy Candy 8, Crazy Dad 8, Long Strip Crayfish, Barry's Carp fly, Hogan's Carp Bait, Morlock's Carp Breakfast, Agent Orange, Onyx Agent, Swimming Carp Nymph

    River Description

    The Denver South Platte is our go to water after work. The DSP (Denver South Platte) is the best carp fishery in the west (In our humble opinion) with the size of the carp being anywhere from 5 pounds to 40 pounds.We see carp fishing as practice for the flats for Bones, Reds, Permit etc and it will truly make you a better trout fisherman and will teach you the essentials to sight fishing. Some days will be so frustrating you wonder why you are standing in the middle of Denver, and other days you even wonder why you drive to the mountains when you can be sticking 10+ pound fish 15 minutes from your front door.

    Not only will you find massive carp, the river is breeding grounds for rainbows and browns ,smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, catfish, perch, and walleye.  There is an ongoing effort by Denver Trout Unlimited  to help clean up and restore the Denver South Platte and make our river the best warmwater fishery in the west! One of their efforts is the Denver Carp Slam, a day long fishing tournament where the best anglers in the Country come to compete to see who can rack up the most inches of carp.

    If you are thinking about trying your hand at Carp on the fly, come down to the shop and talk to one of us and we will get you pointed in the right direction.

    If you really want to cut the learning curve you can take a guided trip with Trout's Guide Service.


    Seasonal Overview:

    Current Hatches:

    Recommended Flies

    Dries: NA Nymphs: Streamers:

    Recommended Products:


  • The Urban South Platte is an excellent resource for anglers in the Denver Metro Area, with healthy populations of Carp, Smallmouth Bass, and Trout found throughout its urban reaches. The Urban Green way Project provides great access through out the metro area via bike trails and parks.