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Where to Go South Platte River – Deckers

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Report Date: 7/4/2024

Current Conditions: 

  Just like other places on the South Platte, we are seeing the flows start to decrease in the Deckers area. Albeit they are coming down a little slower than some other locations. Current flows are at 706 and dropping. While these flows are still on the high side, the fishing has been decent. The big news here is that all of the water coming from Cheesman is from the bottom valve. This is putting some very cold water into the river. Water temps are in the 40's and have slowed down a lot of bug activity. Things have gotten a lot more technical. With all downstream water demand coming from Cheesman for the time being, we do expect the flows out of Cheesman to fluctuate pretty good through summer.

 Hatch specific bugs should always be a focus here. Dont be afraid to start throwing those 20-24 sized patterns again. It has been extremely busy in the canyon recently. Keep in mind that the farther up the canyon you hike, the less people you will see.

Cheesman reservoir is currently 100% full


  As usual for this time of year, Midges, BWO's, caddis, and even some PMD's are the staples. With the higher flows, pretty much all of the activity has been subsurface. Dry fly fishing just isnt the best method right now, but you may still see some opportunity in the slack parts of the river.


For Nymphing- Depth and weight will be very important right now. This will be harder to dial in with the larger flows. Stay persistent and adjust your rig. Focus right on the rivers edge and fish places you normally would not. This will be more important than what flies you are fishing. Focus on the edges of the river as most fish will get out of the main channels at these flows. This can also be a great time of year to throw some streamers.


 Be cautious if you are wet wading. The water is COLD. Be mobile and move around for the most success. Its pretty much impossible to cross the river at these flows, so be prepared to be relegated to the trail side of the river. Fish are spread out more and occupying all parts of the river. Look for fish to occupy the edges of the river and in the softer seams. Nymphing will be the most productive method at this time, but your fly location (depth) will be the biggest factor in success.


Short Term-  We are entering an extremely hot period of weather over the next several days. We could see record high temperatures in this area. Mid 90's will be common over the next 4 days. A rogue storm could pop up, but for the most part rain chances are also slim during this time. The wind conditions do look great though.

Long Term-  Looking past this coming weekend, we will cool down a bit and return to more seasonal average temps. Rain chances also increase after the weekend and we will need some precipitation after this upcoming hot weather. Temps will return to the 80's next week. Any storms should happen in the afternoons and some of them could be severe. Its always a good idea to watch both the weather forecasts this time of the year. In the longer term, some forecasts are pointing to sustained hot and drier weather. This could be the start of wildfire season here in Colorado. Please be responsible!

Run Off update-

After about 5 weeks of extremely high flows all over the state, we are finally starting to see things on most rivers return to normal. This runoff season was one for the books.

  • Something to note here- With the delicate nature of the soils in the canyon, heavy rain can cause sudden flash floods. This can be a scary situation if you are in the canyon when this is happening. Pay attention to the forecast and get out of the canyon if there is heavy rain.

This is an area we offer guided fly fishing trips. We are one of two outfitters permitted to operate in Cheesman. There is not better way to learn an area like Cheesman Canyon than hiring one of our Orvis endorsed professional guides!


For a custom fly assortment for this location, click here! 

Our Top 6 Nymphs for Today:

  • Buckskin, sizes 18-20
  • Radiation baetis, size 18
  • Stalcup baeitis, olive, size 22
  • Graphic Caddis, tan, sizes 16-18
  • Slapshot scud, orange, size 16
  • Caddis Candy, sizes 14-16

Our Top Dry Flies for Today: Not all that good right now

  • Mole Fly, brown. Size 22 
  • Neil's BWO, green. Sizes 22 & 24
  • Matt's Midge, black. Size 22
  • Sparkle dun PMD, sizes 16-18
  • Elk Hair caddis, sizes 14-18



Standard South Platte nymph rig set up:

Screenshot the diagram above to reference while you're out on the water!


The South Platte River at Deckers was devastated by debris in 2002 from Colorado's largest fire in its recorded history followed by two huge floods. Since then, Deckers has been making great progress toward recovery and the debris left over from the fire and floods is being used by caddis for making their cases. The caddis have taken over the river the last few springs. Caddis hatches that rival the famed Arkansas River's "Mother's Day hatch" have happened in Deckers the last four years. It's showing no sign of slowing down.

When the fish aren't coming up to caddis, a tandem nymph rig with typical fare can still be deadly. The summer months can be a lot of fun for anglers that are into throwing streamers and big dry flies. Elk hair caddis, Amy's Ants, stimulators, and foam hoppers such as the streambank hopper are great dry flies to have. Good nymph patterns to carry are: Mercury Pheasant Tails, South Platte Brassies, San Juan Worms, Pat's Rubber Leg Stonefly, RS-2's, Murphy's Bubbleback Midge, Blindside Midges, Buckskins, Top Secret Midges, Medallion Midges, and Black Beauties.

I'm so pleased to see this fishery come back strong after the Hayman fire. Deckers has been producing some of the area's strongest, most beautiful trout in the last couple of years. While the area may get crowded, there is a ton of water along the corridor and it's always fun to go seek out new water. As with anywhere on the South Platte, be sure to check the flows before you go. Sudden bumps or drops in the flow will negatively affect the fishing on this river.

Jon Easdon, Guide and Director of Services

Deckers is also a great winter fishing destination because it is a tailwater. A tailwater fishery is where a river comes out below a dam; consequently, during the winter months the water temps are just warm enough to stay relatively ice-free all year. Sections where the sun hits the water is where you can find feeding fish. This time of year can be the most productive for solitude-seeking anglers who aren't afraid of using light tippets and very small flies.

This is an area we specialize and are permitted in, so give us a shout if you have any questions or if you're interested in allowing one of our Orvis-Endorsed guides show you how best to fish the Deckers area.

South Platte River – Deckers.

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Directions - 40 miles - 49 Minutes

  1. From Angler's Covey head west on US 24 W/Cimarron St, go 16.7 miles
  2. Turn right at CO-67 towards Deckers, go 23.1 miles