South Platte River Fishing Report

Southwest of Denver, the South Platte River is formed by the convergence of the South Fork and Middle Fork rivers. Its drainage basin, on the eastern side of the Front Range Rocky Mountains, is quite substantial covering large parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. Together with the North Platte, they form the Platte River that winds through Nebraska and eventually joins the Missouri River. There are three main areas along the South Platte that are known for great trout fishing, each a unique and worthwhile adventure: Cheesman Canyon, Dream Stream and Eleven Mile Canyon.


Cheesman Canyon has the rarified distinction of being ranked as both a Wild trout and a Gold Medal stretch of water. Known for its huge boulders, arid clime and towering Ponderosas, the river is also considered to be one of the most technically difficult tailwater fisheries in the state. It is also known for rewarding anglers with large rainbows (average 14-16 inches and many over 20) and sizeable browns. Throughout the canyon you can expect to find deep pocket water, rifles and small pools. Fishing is possible year round although it is catch and release only.

Open to the public, the Gold Medal Dream Stream runs from the Spinney Mountain Reservoir to Elevenmile Canyon. Famous for it trophy rainbows, cutthroats and browns, the Dream Stream is also known for its Kokanee salmon that arrive during their fall spawning season. Trout weighing 2-3 pounds are commonplace, while larger fish, including monster 20+ inchers, are also possible. Fish here tend to be skilled at avoiding detection and prepared to put up a good fight, humbling even the most experienced anglers. This 3-mile section is strictly catch and release, artificial lures only.

Between the Elevenmile Reservoir and Lake George, the South Platte flows through a gorgeous canyon with riffles, runs and pocket water. Steep canyon walls protect from wind and offer shade during summer months. Largely a rainbow fishery, browns and cutthroats are also here. Most fish measure over a foot long but much bigger fish can be found. The top two, Gold Medal miles of the canyon have the highest concentration of trout; catch and release only here. Public access to the canyon is excellent, and this year-round fishery can be crowded. Miraculously, the fish seem oblivious, easier to catch here than on other parts of the river.
South Fork and North Fork
Convergence of North Fork and South Fork
North Platte River
439 miles
Seasonal Conditions
SpringBWO, Midges, Scuds, Minnows, Sculpin
SummerPMD, Trico, Little Blk. Caddis, Spotted Sedge, Green Sedge, Golden Stonefly, Yellow Sally, Terrestrials, Midges, Scuds, Minnows, Sculpin
FallTrico, Little Blk. Caddis, Spotted Sedges, Little Sis Caddis, Yellow Sally, Terrestrials, Midges, Scuds, Minnows, Sculpin
WinterMidges, Scuds, Minnows, Sculpin
Fishing Trips
The South Platte River is one of Colorado’s most famous and iconic rivers and for good reason, each stretch of this majestic tail water is full of brown and rainbow trout in prolific ... morenumbers. The river hosts an amazing assortment of bug life and impressive sized trout. Due to its close proximity to Denver, the South Platte receives a good deal of angling pressure, making it one of the most technical trout fisheries in the world. As the saying goes, “If you can catch trout in the South Platte’s Cheesman Canyon, you can catch trout anywhere in the world.” Originating approximately 20 miles west of the town of Lake George the main South Platte is formed from the junction of the South and Middle Forks. From here the river flows through central Denver, eventually joining the North Platte near the town of North Platte, Nebraska. The river itself is a major river of the American Midwest and the American Southwest/Mountain West.

But popularity can be a curse as the South Platte receives a lot of fishing pressure and rightly so due to trophy sized trout. The fish see lots of flies and that is why we hire guides that tie their own custom patterns to fool these wary trout. To be successful the fish must be sighted and fished too. Our guides have some of the best fish eyes in the business and can see trout in all light conditions.

We do the bulk of our guide training on the South Platte drainage. Our guides know this water better than anyone. The South Platte can be tough so make sure you take one of our professional guides to get you and your guests in to fish right away.
Addictive Angling Colorado Guide Trips take place on the South Platte River. The South Platte is one of the most well known trout rivers in the United States. The South Platte begins ... morewest of Denver as a small, meandering mountain meadow stream. As the South Platte flows east, it pours into a series of Reservoirs. Starting with Antero Reservoir and flowing into Spinney Reservoir, the Upper South Platte River located in South Park, Colorado, provides anglers with ample opportunities to catch Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Snake River Cutthroats. From Spinney Reservoir the South Platte flows for 5 1/2 miles before it meets Elevenmile Reservoir. This stretch is known as the Dream Stream due to the large trout that call this section of the river home. Below Elevenmile Reservoir the South Platte River flows through Elevenmile Canyon. This beautiful boulder filled canyon offers amazing fly fishing for anglers looking to wet a fly close to Colorado Springs. Eventually, the South Platte flows further downstream into Cheesman Reservoir. Below Cheesman Reservoir exists another beautiful Canyon. Cheesman Canyon Trout are some of the smartest and most beautifully colored fish in Colorado and will test the skill levels of even the most experienced fly fishermen. Downstream of Cheesman Canyon is one of the most popular stretches of the South Platte River. The Deckers area provides easy access and many miles of Public Water fly fishing full of trout eager to take a fly. Below Deckers, the river continues into Strontia Springs Reservoir before it once again flows through yet another beautiful canyon and finds itself flowing into Chatfield Reservoir on the South West Corner of the Denver Metro Area. After the South Platte leaves Chatfield it continues is journey North East until it eventually meets up with the North Platte River. Whatever stretch you decide to fish, the South Platte River offers some of the best fly fishing in the country.
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