Deckers Fly Fishing Report
Last Update: 10/16/16- Fishing around Deckers has improved improved withe the onset of lower fall flows and cooler weather we have been experiencing. Chessman Dam is now pumping out a steady sub-100 cfs rather than the 300-400 cvs of weeks past. Mornings have still been bringing a few smaller hatches of tricos and midges out and the fish are feeding. That being said, the fish are a bit sluggish at first light so there really is no need for super early mornings. I would begin fishing around 9:00-10:00 AM after the sun has a chance to warm up the water a bit and gets the fish more active. Nymphing a worm/egg lead fly trailed by darker, flashy midge patterns or baetis emergers have been incredibly productive. Dry fly fishing has been picking up as the baetis continue to become more relevant by the day. It seems that the majority of the normal Deckers crowds have been moving up to the Dream Stream so it is a great time to get out and have considerable amounts of water all to yourself. -Austin Manthey, Professional Fly Fishing Guide for Trouts Denver
- Flow: 64 cfs
- Wind: 0 MPH
- Temp: 60.1 °F
- High/Low: 79/50
- Flow: 95 cfs
- Wind: 0 MPH
- Temp: 60.1 °F
- High/Low: 80/50
While a tailwater by definition, the Deckers section of the South Platte is another example of a Colorado river with considerable freestone characteristics the further downstream you head. The river holds approximately 3,000 fish per mile and sight fishing opportunities abound. If solitude is a necessity of your fishing, don't head here. This stretch of river is very popular for a variety of reasons mentioned above, however dealing with the crowds can result in some truly amazing catches. Fish over 20" are not uncommon here, and many much bigger than this are taken every year. Whether you're looking for a 22" or a 12" fish here, the same rule will always apply---get a good drift. These fish can be very eager to please, but due to the year round angling pressure, have become very wary of a poor presentation. The upper few miles of this section are definitely the most popular to fish, however anglers should take the time to explore while here. The entire 18 miles from Cheeseman Reservoir to the confluence with the North Fork all hold significant numbers of fish per mile and typically get much more "catchable" the further down river you head.
Match the Hatch
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Fall can be a magical time to be on the South Platte River, with the Deckers stretch providing some truly incredible and consistent fishing over these next few months. Like any river within an easy drive of Denver, don't expect to have this river to yourself. That said, seeing as how Deckers doesn't recieve a run of lake fish, you can almost always expect to have some elbow room. Additionally, the river should fish well from the town of Deckers clear to the confluence with the N. Fork of the South Platte so don't be afraid to get out and explore some new water if you've never done so here.
Deckers is home to a very nice population of Brown Trout that can exceed 20" and you can expect to see them moving up on to the shallow flats with regularity as the spawn approaches. If you happen find fish up on their redds- LEAVE THEM ALONE!. My approach to fishing around spawning fish is to always find the closest availalable deep water (drop off/shelf/bucket/etc) below the spawning fish. These areas will be congregating fish that have either A) spawned and are seeking shelter, or B) are holding fish that are still in pre-spawn mode. Additionally, these locations will typically also be packed with rainbow trout that are picking up the eggs being washed downriver from those upstream spawners.
Speaking of rainbows- these are the predominant species of trout in the South Platte and can effectively be targeted in the shallow riffles, buckets, drop offs, rock gardens, etc. I always say that if an area looks like it's holding fish it probably is, so cover water and cast into anything that looks 'fishy'.
From a bug perspective the trico/pmd/caddis game from the past few months will still be around to some degree (although fading) and you should match your flies accordingly if you happen to see these adult bugs. As Fall wears on however, BWO's and midges will become the name of the game and fishing patterns from these two families will always be a safe bet.
Lastly, when it comes to flies my biggest rule is to not overthink it. Fish something that 'makes sense' (i.e. matches what you see getting active) and cover water. If you're nymphing, fish your flies close- like 10" apart- and use plenty of weight. Streamer fishing can also get quite good in the Fall, particularly on cloudy days. Stick with the small/midsized stuff that is a little slimmer in profile to find the most consistant success.
Fly recommendations: San Juan Worm (brown/red/wine), eggs, leeches (olive/black/purple/rust), scuds, Barr's BWO emerger, Juju Baetis, Sniper Baetis, Batwing BWO, Shotglass baetis, Barr's graphic caddis, buckskins, Barr's PMD emerger, Jujubee midges, miracle midges, wd40's, rs2's, foamback emergers (chocolate thunder), pure midges, flashbang midges, mercury bead black beauty's, bling midges, pheasant tails, copper johns. Sculpzillas, slumpbusters, sparkle minnows (white/olive/black), thin mints and double mints.
River access here is phenomenal. From below Wig Wam (up YMCA Camp Road from Deckers) clear down to the confluence with the North Fork, public access will be the rule. There are a limited number of private stretches throughout here but they are very easy to pickout and are clearly marked. Countless public parking "P" signs line the river banks and anglers will have no trouble finding a place to wet a line.
**One item to note for anglers venturing here for the first time: Cell phones do not work along the entirety of this stretch of river. There are a few pay phones located at the town of Deckers, as well as at some of the campgrounds along the river.