Deckers Fly Fishing Report
Last Update: 7/21/2017- The water has finally shown up at Deckers. While it got a little off color due to some spikes earlier this week. It has leveled off and is fishing really well. A lot of people have been a little timid about fishing the high water and that shouldn't be the case. While it will make wading a little tricky, it knocks a lot of big bugs loose and will push fish to the edges. With the high flows it will make fishing some of the pronounced, classic runs hard to fish because of weird currents and added depth. Focus on pockets, head of runs, edges and banks. Another advantage of the high flows is the opportunity to size up in tippet. 3x-4x will get the job done, however I know a good majority of you won't believe me but, please at least size up to 5x. Dry-Dropper rigs have been a really effective way to fish the edges and pockets the water has created. If nymphing is more your style, make sure you have ample weight. For dries, Chubby Chernobyls, Fat Alberts, Stimulatorrs have been producing as lead flies for dry-dropper rigs. Other dries are Film Critic PMDs, CDC Biot Dun PMD, Extended Body PMD, Various Caddis Patterns and Smaller Trico patterns that are riding in the film. Nymphs to have in your box are Golden Stones, Caddis, Leeches, Worms, PMD Emergers and Small Black Emergers.
- Flow: 463 cfs
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- Flow: 443 cfs
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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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Spring 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 receive a run of lake fish, you can almost always expect to have some elbow room through mid-April. As spring warms up, the river should start to 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 healthy population Rainbow Trout that can exceed 20" and you can expect to see them moving up onto 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 available 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 brown trout that are picking up the eggs being washed downriver from those upstream spawners.
Speaking of rainbows and browns- 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 midge/bwo/stonefly/caddis game will be coming alive throughout the next few months and you should match your flies accordingly. As spring wears on however, these four bugs will become the name of the game and fishing patterns from these four families will always be a safe bet.
Lastly, when it comes to flies the 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.