River Reports- Cheesman Canyon, Deckers, Clear Creek, Boulder Creek, Blue River

River Reports- Cheesman Canyon, Deckers, Clear Creek, Boulder Creek, Blue River

Deckers and Cheesman Canyon (403cfs) Wednesday, May 15, 2024

CFS (Canyon Fly Shop) River Report for the front range tailwaters March 15, 2024 specifically Cheesman Canyon and Deckers.

Flows have been fluctuating for a few days now and currently sitting at 403, we have been sending a bunch of customers out and they have been crushing it leading with a leech or an egg and following with two tiny midge patterns in that size 22-26 range. Our two most productive patterns are always a pale ale and a blue poison tung but we always have a lot of success with a red zebra, top secret and wd40 as well. Remember these technical fisheries its usually way more important to get a good presentation and match the size of bugs in the water than anything else. Smaller the bug and tippet is usually the general rule to catch more fish here.

You will still see lots of rainbows out and about in shallow sections spawning so please skip over these fish so they can do their thing and help continue to provide for a thriving world class fishery.

Fly recs:

Red or Cream bling midge 22-24
Disco midge size 22-24
Demon midge size 22-24
Gray and Olive RS2’s 22-24
Pale Ale size 20-22
Olive wd40 size 22-24
Blue poison Tung size 22-24
Squirmy’s, Eggs, Leeches as a lead fly

Stop by @thecanyonflyshop and we can get you all set up to have a great day on the water from fly selection to tippet size and even dial in your weight and depth. Your most beginner friendly shop in the front range!

Tailwater fishing can be intimidating for a lot of people and for good reason but Deckers section of the South Platte can be a great place to get a few fish to the net especially on some of our more mild front range days. You should even see some trico rises on the warm mornings with some very good bwo hatches following in the afternoon. You can either use a glo bug on a hook or our personal favorite, the peg egg. Squirmy worms, leeches and floss worms are some more go to leads. Remember, your lead fly can pick up fish for sure but you're mainly using that fly to get your tiny flies down to the bottom, put appropriate split shot above your leady fly 8-10 inches. For your middle and bottom fly be thinking in the 20-26 range. We love to use a purple juju, rainbow warrior or hot head sow bug as our mid fly followed by a size 22-26 midge. Black zebras, gray and black RS2s, chocolate thunders, top secrets and WD-40s all in that size range will produce plenty of fish most days on this section.

Deckers is said to hold 3,000 fish per mile so don't be afraid to cover some ground and try to find an open run. If you love peace and solitude, you may want to avoid this section but it can be very rewarding when you catch it on a great day. It's not uncommon to be catching a couple dozen trout in the 12-22" range on a good day when your flies and drifts are dialed in. Presentation is everything here, good presentation and the right depth on the right tippet is always the key.

Boulder Creek (above town below the falls)

CFS: 54       May 15, 2024

Hopper dropper fishing is always crazy productive throughout the canyon and before the runoff it’s no different. Target the pockets and slack water and you should end up with some good wild browns all day. There are miles of the canyon to fish so if you’re struggling just drive a few more miles up and see if the water and fishing turns around for ya.

Flies: Purple or Red hippy stompers or brown triple foams down to a Duracell, Purple waltz sexy, purple blow torch, perdigon, Spanish bullet


Clear Creek (clear creek canyon above golden)

CFS: 202

White and Olive flash buggers fish really well this time of year with the water up and off color. Hopper dropper fishing is still productive higher in the canyon or above Fall River on I70.

Once again if you’re not having success move spots a couple of miles. Also, warmer afternoons are the best times to fish and move upstream miles if necessary to find clarity. The good thing about clear creek is there are miles and miles of public access from highway 6 all the way up I70 to the Eisenhower tunnel. 

Call or stop in the shop and we will get you all set up for a great day on the creek! 


Blue River:  Silverthorne below Dillon reservoir 

CFS: 297         May 15, 2024

Good leads right now are mysis shrimp, mayers mini leech, eggs, squirmy womrs and large flashback pheasant tails. Fish have been sitting in the deeper pockets and runs but you can pick off a few fish mid afternoon in the faster water when fish move up to feed. Your smaller flies should be in the 20-26 ranges, I typically prefer size 24-26 flies and 6-7x tippet on this section all year round but definitely in the winter time you need to be thinking super small both in flies and tippet. I love a cream bling midge for this stretch. You should also be able to pick up plenty of fish on a black zebra, demon midge, wd40, chocolate thunder, purple juju, top secret, darth baetis.

Start at the outlets and work your way downstream or upstream towards the dam, this entire section is considered Gold Medal water and has plenty of fish. Pretty cool place where sometimes you can have a crowd watching you catch a fish and if you need a new pair of columbia pants after, its all right there for ya. There are plenty of really large trout in this section but most fish are going to be in that 10-18" range and is going to be almost strictly rainbows. Don't be surprised if you fish this enough to eventually find yourself hooked into a 20" or a 4 or 5 pound fat boy. The red stripe on these rainbows is always stunning due to the food sources they have in this beautiful stretch of water. With this area being so close to Denver, the fish see a ton of pressure so make sure your drifts and presentation are on point. 

Cheesman Canyon (360cfs) 

May 15, 2024 River update

Fish are hitting eggs and leeches heavy but as usual most of your action is going to come from getting deep on tiny flies using 6x tippet. And when I say tiny, I mean i wouldn't bother fishing anything under a size 22 and I always like to lean more towards that 24-26 range. Blue poison tungs, black zebras, miracle nymphs, bling midges, wd40, purple juju baeties are going to be your go to flies for this section. Getting a good drift with a good presentation is always the key through this technical section of tailwater. 

Cheesman Canyon is one of the most iconic fly fishing destinations in the world. With the pressure it receives, it's no reason the phrase "if you can catch a fish in Chessman Canyon, you can catch a fish anywhere" was coined. If you want to get away from the crowds and don't mind a long hike, go to the upper canyon. The hike is long but the peace and quality of fishing is worth it. 


*If you need any advice, tips or flies for your fishing adventures on these waters stop by the shop!!! Call us at (304)-692-6450

The Canyon Fly Shop.      6814 W 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, CO













How do you find a good fishing spot that isn’t going to eat up your entire day with driving time? Or maybe you have a fun weekend trip planned to the mountains and want to know just how can you find some good fishing spots while you’re there. It really is an easy process through experience and a little research. Your best resources are friends or guides who really love to fly fish and are willing to point you in the right direction. As a guide and a fly fishing enthusiast for years I'll give you some of my secrets in figuring out the game.


First off, if you're already in the mountains, you can never go wrong with a small stream especially once you hike away from main points of entry or anywhere people have easy access. It doesn't have to be far but always try to hike a half mile or so before you start fishing. Now this isn't to say you can't just pop in certain places and the fishing won't be super good but your best chances to really find out how the stream fishes is if you try it out some where a little ways from the easiest access point.

Maps. Blue lines. Tributaries and feeder creeks. If you already know a good place to fish especially a popular main river. Start looking at maps for all the streams and creeks that dump into that river a long its path. Even better, start looking for those spots higher up in the system towards the headwaters. Guaranteed the more places like this you explore, the more hidden gems you will find whether they are a pristine, high alpine lake full of cutthroat trout. Or a fun creek with tons of aggressive fish and multiple species. Usually the more ground you cover in a system, the more likely you are to hit a slam out here in the West. What's a slam? A brown, brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout all in one day. There are countless streams I've found where you can cover this slam all within a mile or so. 


What's the best tactic for exploring these places once you are there? I've always found you absolutely can't go wrong with a stimulator, tan bodied foam hopper or purple hippie stomper as your top fly and to drop a heavy tungsten nymph such as a walt's sexy 12-24 inches below depending on water levels and depth of the stream. That dropper should always be at the level where most of the fish are based on stream conditions. If there are a lot of deeper holes and the fish seem to be sitting low, well then get that dropper as long as possible. If it seems to be a lot of pocket water, riffles and shallow undercut banks then you may only want that dropper to be 8-12 inches below your dry fly. 

Experience will always own the day. You will learn as the years pass and the fishing trips increase just how to find these places and what methods and flies to use once you do. Of course not every place is the same and you can make some minor adjustments to really increase your success in some of these spots but for the most part the blue print is the same. Tight lines fishy folks! Come see us at the shop if you want to pick up some good flies and we may even give you a spot or two to try on your next trip!

Matt Sandor

The Canyon Fly Shop

6814 W 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033

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