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Where to Go South Platte River – Dream Stream

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Photo by Phil Tereyla


Report Date: 4/19/2024


Current Conditions: 

Things are definitely transitioning out of the spawn for the rainbow and cuttbow trout. The spawn is done and the resident lake fish have returned to the safety of 11 mile reservoir. Now is the time where we can see some post spawn fish packing in the food. Post spawn fish will try and get back all the mass they have lost during this annual ritual. Streamers can be very effective this time of the year. The flows are at 128 cfs and have been at that rate for almost 6 weeks now. These are great flows for the river this time of year. These flows should stay at or near this rate through April (Barring any changes by Denver Water and Aurora Water)  This will ease up the immense pressure a bit. The crowds have still been pretty heavy and the parking lots are filling up...even on weekdays.  While fish are no longer on redds, its still important to avoid them.  Any empty redds you may encounter are likely holding eggs, so please do not walk through them. Please do your part in protecting this iconic fishery.

The fishing has slowed down a bit as expected. There are still some lake fish in the system, but its dwindling day by day as they return to the safety of 11 mile reservoir.  Fishing has still been on the technical side of things and anglers will want to focus on that.  Every hole/run is not holding fish. Walk around and find those spots. You will see typical early spring conditions on the river right now.  Fish have occupied deeper areas of the river and are not moving much to eat until the water warms a bit.  Drifts need to be perfect and dead on the fish. Paying attention to your depth and weight while nymphing is an absolute must right now.


We are seeing a lot of midge activity as expected. The big spring midge has also been prevalent and we are even seeing a few early BWO's now. The BWOs will increase as water warms. Dont be afraid to use larger profiled (slender) midge patterns, followed by pupa or emergers. The baetis are active late morning/early afternoon.


Nymphing is generally the best method here, but the dry fly fishing has been very good during the midge hatches. Midges are hatching pretty heavy every day. Smaller terminal tackle is the name of the game. 5x will be a staple.  Anglers can expect challenging fishing with the massive crowds on the river.


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.



 Fishing has returned to typical post spawn conditions. Focus back on the entomology youll find in the river. Smaller tippet and flies are back in play.

This is an area we offer guided walk/wade  trips, please give us a call if you are interested! 


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

Our Top 6 Nymphs for Today:

  • Mini leach, sizes 14-18
  • RS2's, grey, olive. Sizes 20-22
  • Slapshot scud, orange, green, size 16
  • Rojo midge, red, sizes, 16-22
  • Stalcups baetis, olive, size 20-22
  • Massacre midge, sizes 20-22 

Our Top Dry Flies for Today:

  • Mole Fly, brown. Size 22 
  • Neil's BWO, green. Sizes 22 & 24
  • Griffiths gnat, size 22-24
  • Matts midge, size 22

Our Top Streamer Patterns for Today:

  • Meat whistle, black. Size 4
  • Poacher, black or green, Sizes 8-12
  • Slumpbuster, black/brown. Size 4


Standard nymph rig set up for the South Platte:

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




The South Platte River below Spinney Reservoir is known to most local anglers as the "Dream Stream." This tailwater doesn't have many holds over fish and is subject to high wind speeds and inclement weather. The spring and fall have been the Dream Stream's saving grace because of the spawns. Large rainbows and cutthroat trout move into the river in the spring, and Large browns and kokanee salmon move in in the fall. There is no camping available next to the river; however, several great campgrounds are downstream along Elevenmile Reservoir. There is a $9 parks pass fee to park in the last lot below Spinney.

This is an area we specialize and are permitted to guide in, 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 South Platte River – Dream Stream.

Interested in Booking a Trip?

Distance - 47 miles - 1 Hour 2 Minutes