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Where to Go Middle Fork of the South Platte

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Updated 4/19/2024


Current Conditions:

The middle fork is starting to come to life, and pretty much every section is open and fishable. You may encounter some dirtier and stained water, but everything is fishable!! This is a great time to target some of these sections before runoff happens. While resident trout populations are not super high, they can still provide a good amount of fun for the angler looking for solitude.

The flow gauges are still reading a little wonky, but I saw with my own eyes that these sections are open and flowing nicely.

Spinney Mountain SWA-

This area has been fishing pretty well. You also have the chance to come across some lake fish from Spinney here. REMEMBER>> The state park is still closed and you cannot go past the boundary! This will result in a ticket with a hefty fine. Focus on mixing larger patterns like leeches, eggs, etc. with the typical smaller midge imitations.

Badger Basin SWA-

Every section open and fishable. This is one of our favorite early spring options. Not a ton of fish, but you will have a ton of solitude. Try fishing right in Hartsel as well.

Tomahawk SWA-

T-hawk is open and flowing. The water clarity is great and this can be a fun time to target some holdover fish. Work the deeper areas and undercut banks. Large (but not too large) attractor dries can already be deadly here. Plus, there are no mosquitos yet!

Alma SWA-

The middle fork is good to go clear up into Alma. The areas around Alma can be really fun this time of year. The river above Alma is open and fishable, but access may be a little tougher with the large amount of snow thats still on the ground. If youre looking for a fun challenge with nobody around, this may be a perfect option for you.

This time of year its a mixed bag for fly patterns. Some of the higher elevation areas may still have some spawning fish. Egg patterns, leeches, etc. will all be good options. Also integrate smaller midge and BWO's into your offerings.


Short Term-  Today and Saturday we will see some variable weather in the area. This is one of those occasions where higher elevations will be warmer than we are on the front range. While precipitation chances are not all that high, there is a chance for some brief rain storms or snow squalls. A good amount of snow could fall in the high country though. Any precipitation in this immediate area will be short lived, and high temps will still be in the mid 50's. We could also see a fair amount of wind, so be prepared for that. Things will calm down a bit on Sunday, and we will see some slightly above average temps through all of next week.

Long Term-  After this weekend and into next week, it looks like we will largely remain in a typical spring pattern. Some very warm days followed by some precipitation chances. Spring is one of the most difficult times of the year to predict weather, and we will have to take the forecast in shorter periods for the most accuracy. Temps will be in the 50's and 60's with lows still getting at or below freezing. Long range forecasts do indicate some more moisture entering the state around 4/26, and right now looks to favor higher elevations east of the continental divide. As always, we will have to wait and see how that pans out. The south platte basin is currently sitting at 99% of average with less than a week to go until we peak in snowpack. While there is still some time to add to our snowpack, that time is getting thin.

*Seasonal snowpack update*

Denver Water has informed us that snowpack levels look very good for this season. With most reservoirs already full, they do anticipate filling all of their reservoirs this spring. One thing to add is that soil moisture is also very high. This goes hand in hand with our snowpack and can also help predict how good our water season will be. We should see a bit higher and more consistent flows along the south platte river this season. Of course, the flows are all strictly based on water demand so we will have to see how this pans out. Overall, great news for our season ahead.



About Alma SWA

Middle Fork of the South Platte River finds its headwaters above Hoosier Pass. Water is diverted from the Breckenridge area and passed through a tunnel under Hoosier Pass into Montgomery Reservoir. This augments the flow particularly in the early summer.

About Tomahawk

Tomahawk is the Middle Fork of the South Platte River. This stretch of the river is a great place to find solitude from the crowds. Summer and fall are a great time of the year to throw big hoppers to eager brown trout. In the summer, bring insect repellent because the mosquitos can get bad. In the fall, bring heavy leaders because large browns come out of their typical hiding spaces and move up river from Spinney to spawn.

This is an area we specialize and are permitted to guide, so give us a shout if you have any questions or if you are interested in allowing one of our Orvis-Endorsed guides show you how best to conquer Middle Fork of the South Platte.

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Directions to Alma - 88.9 miles - 1 Hour 42 Minutes

  1. From Angler's Covey head west on US 24 W/Cimarron St, go 63.2 miles
  2. Turn right at CO-9 N towards Fairplay, go 16.1 miles
  3. Turn right at US-285 N, go 1.0 mile
  4. Turn left at CO-9 N/ Main Street, Fairplay and through Alma, 8.1 miles
  5. Watch your speed, this area is famous for speed tickets.
  6. Turn left at Co Rd 4, Park along stream in desinated areas.

Directions to Tomahawk - 70.5 miles - 1 Hour 19 Minutes

  1. Head West on US-24, go 63.2 miles
  2. Turn right on Co-9, go 7.2 miles