Deckers Fly Fishing Report
Last Update: 2/18/2017- Currently flows are at 84 CFS near Trumball. That is pretty much the exact flows as last week. Crowds (especially on weekends) have been fairly heavy recently with all the nice weather. Don't allow that to discourage you! This really great February weather has opened up a ton of water so head lower where you will find plenty of space as well as a bunch of eager fish. Fish remain stacked in just about any riffle run and tail out with knee to waist depth. Similar to last week, bug selection remains just about the same. My favorite lead fly patterns are Size 14-16 Copper Johns, Pats Rubber Legs, Leeches and Red San Juan Worms. Other bugs that have been producing remain similar to the previous weeks. Black/Brown/olive WD-40s sz 20-22, Black Beauties sz. 20-24, Miracle Midge sz 20-24, Brassies Sz.18-22 Gray/Olive RS2's sz. 20-24, Juju Baetis sz. 20-22, Radiation Baetis sz. 20-22, Tube Midges sz. 20-22, Juju Midges sz. 20-24, Mercury PT's sz 20-22, Red D-Midge sz 18-22
- Flow: 88.5 cfs
- Wind: 0 MPH
- Temp: 15.2 °F
- High/Low: 36/12
- Flow: 135 cfs
- Wind: 0 MPH
- Temp: 15.2 °F
- High/Low: 38/12
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.