Reconnecting: Fly Fishing Cheesman Canyon

It’s been a few years since we fished the Cheesman Canyon section of the South Platte River. To be honest, we forgot exactly how challenging it can be. It took us most of the day to get fish to eat, and then when we did hook up, we lost many fish. Eventually, we began to find some success and ended the day on a high note. Cheesman can be accessed through the Gil Trail. Trailheads are just south of the town of Deckers at a well-marked parking lot or at the Cheesman Reservoir dam. Be prepared for a full day of hiking away from the car and make sure you have plenty of water and a rain jacket.

Our Takes: Cheesman Canyon in the winter is the ultimate test of sight fishing in Colorado. Fish in the section grow to large proportions. They are also highly pressured and used to people as well as fly patterns. Stealth is important here, but fly and tippet size are just as important. 6x and size 22-26 nymphs are the norm in most conditions from November through March. Make lots of perfect drifts to sighted fish or through obviously fishy areas is the key.

Nymphs: jujubee midges, top secret midges, rainbow warriors, zebra midges, Cheesman emergers (tungsten), mercury RS2s (all in sizes 20-26); brown San Juan worms, pig stickers, egg patterns.

Fish 5x and 6x mono with dries and 6x – 7x fluorocarbon with nymphs. 4 thru 6 weight rod.

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