Dream Stream Fly Fishing Report
Latest Update: 1/18/2018 - Same old, same old for the Dream right now as in previous weeks. Flows at the Dream continue to be better than usual for this time of the year. This has resulted in some really good winter fishing at the Dream. Fish are active and eating a variety of midges, baetis and attractors. Work seams and buckets around structure. Streamer fishing has also been pretty good. With these good winter flows, there are still plenty of fish looking to pack on calories in the form of big meals. On a side note, be prepared with warm clothes. South Park has a bitter cold and is usually windy. Being prepared for the elements, is half the battle on the Dream this time of year.
- Flow: 106 cfs
- Wind: 7 MPH
- Temp: 37.5 °F
- High/Low: 47/22
The Dream Stream, also know as the Charlie Meyers Recreation Area, is the most well known section of the South Platte River, if not the most famous in the State of Colorado. Positioned between Spinney and 11-Mile Reservoirs, The Dream Stream is a notorious stomping ground for anglers looking to catch trophy rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout. Located in South Park, CO, this section of river is a meandering stream that flows through a high desert prairie. This makes it a great destination for beginner anglers, as there isn't much growth around the river to get caught up on. But be warned, the "open" nature of this river also makes it vulnerable to the epic winds that can hammer South Park year round. Additionally, The Dream Stream is also a very popular anging destination for private anglers and outfitters, so don't expect to be the only angler there on any given day.
Spring on the Dream… a river comes back to life.
I'd imagine there are at least a handful of novice anglers reading this who don't know the backstory of this place so let's start there. The 'Dream Stream' earns it's name for the size of fish it produces (primarily) in the Spring and Fall that run up out of Elevenmile Reservoir- located at the eastern end of this 5 mile stretch of water. Cutthroat trout, Rainbow trout and Cutbow hybrids begin migrating out of Elevenmile Res. (Flow Dependent) starting as early as February and continue well into April. Due to the lower spring flows the majority of the lake run fish will be in the lower section of the river, from the bridge down to the inlet.
With the big lake run fish, come the crowds. On any given day the number of anglers on the water chasing the temporary river residents can seem more like a nightmare than a dream. Consider yourself warned.
While the lake run fish get the majority of the credit this time of the year, the Dream Stream has a very healthy population of Brown, Rainbow and Cutthroat trout that exceed the 20” mark on a regular basis. So don’t count the middle and upper stretches of river out this time of the year. These fish aren’t gimmies by any stretch of the imagination, so be prepared to bring your “A-game” when making a trip to the Dream.
Along with the healthy populations of Trout, the Dream also boasts an insane bug life. Being prepared to match whatever bugs are moving around underneath the surface is half the battle as an angler. During the spring, BWO, midge, caddis are going to be the main course meals for these trout. Leeches, worms, scuds and a handful of other meaty morsels can produce when there is a bump in flows, that knocks them loose.
While having the right bugs on is going to be half the battle when fishing the Dream Stream, finding fish is going to make up the other half. The low clear water this time of the year will provide some excellent sight fishing opportunities, so cover water and keep your eyes peeled at all times.
*Side Note- the aforementioned pressure this river recieves during the spring seems to always lead to some very questionable angling practices. This is not a big river and when the Cutthroat and Rainbows are on their redds they are VERY easy to spot. Trust me, I know it can be very tough to not cast at a 26" trout sitting in less than a foot of water but PLEASE remember why these fish are here- to make more fish for us all! Focus on the closest deep water near these spawning areas when fishing. These areas will still be loaded with fish, and some very big ones at that. Just remember, the better we take care of this resource during this fragile time the better it will continue to fish for us in the future (and more importantly, the more BIG trout there will be to return in the years to come!)
Suggested flies: worms, leeches, eggs, copper johns, pheasant tails, hare's ears, barr’s bwo emerger, juju baetis, shotglass baetis, radiation baetis, sniper baetis, graphic caddis, buckskin, nitro caddis, jujumidge, mercury bead flashback black beauty, zebra midges, top secret midge, mayer's tube midge, mercury midge, rs2, juju emerger, sculpzilla, Galloup articulated streamers, near nuff sculpins, etc.
Approximately 2 hours from Denver near South Park, the Dream Stream is very easy to get to and the entire 3.8 mile section between Spinney and 11-Mile Reservoir is open to the public. There are 4 public parking areas once you arrive at the river and they won't be hard to find....as they are very rarely without at least a couple vehicles in each.