Signs of spring are beginning to show all along the South Platte River. The bug activity has increased dramatically over the past few weeks and the fish are enjoying the increase in multiple food sources. We are seeing a heavy emergent activity of mayflies, midges and even caddis.
The flows at the Dream Steam have seen a healthy (and much needed) bump in the last week and are now at 99 cfs. As we have previously mentioned, be prepared to share the river and please respect your fellow angler. With still relatively low flows and lots of pressure from anglers, fluorocarbon tippet in 5x/6x is absolutely necessary. Nymphing a double rig with tiny flies (size 22-24) is still the most productive set-up right now. Streamer fishing can also be rewarding, particularly on those overcast days. Not much has changed in terms of the fly selection, with midges and Baetis dries and emergers being the most effective. We are starting to see some caddis larva in the water as well. Target the deeper slots where you can see fish stacked up, cover lots of water, and use ample weight to quickly get the flies in the feeding zone.
The best fishing has been between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. As always is the case, look for trout to be holding in the slower, deeper runs and pools where they can obtain the largest quantity of food, while expending the least amount of energy.
The flows at Spinney have been consistent at 77 c.f.s. for the past month. The Rainbows are moving up the river from 11 Mile Reservoir and we are seeing some great early spring fishing. The spawn run continues to bring more and more crowds, so be prepared to see packed parking lots and lots of anglers no matter what the day of the week. Redds are along the river, so please be sensitive to them and avoid fishing those areas. If the flows are maintained or even slightly increased, we could continue to see spawners well into the end of April. Both browns and rainbows are taking egg patterns and San Juan worm imitations avidly. It would be smart to add these to some of the other patterns listed below that are working.
A double nymph setup is the preferred method, with the strike indicator (if used) positioned 2 times the deepest stretch you intend to drift. There are still plenty of food sources in the river with the most abundant being midges and baetis. The water is clear, cold, and highly oxygenated. As we have previously mentioned, be prepared to share the river and please respect your fellow angler. With still relatively low flows and lots of pressure from anglers, fluorocarbon tippet in 5x/6x is highly recommended if not absolutely necessary.
The Dream Stream flows have been bumped up slightly over the past few days, which should improve the fishing. At the time of this report, water levels were at 91c.f.s. Anglers will be most productive with double nymph rigs using florocarbon tippet in 5x and 6x. Effective patterns this time of year include BWO emergers, baetis, red, black, and olive midge larva, black pheasant tails, as well as mini leeches. Look for fish holding in the deeper water and fish the riffles, along the banks, and in pocket water. The sporadic BWO or midge hatch has been seen later in the afternoon hours.
Fishing on the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River has been sporadic. With the lower flows and strong sun during the day the temperatures are still a bit on the warm side. Most of the fish are holed up in the deeper water or have retreated back to the Reservoir. The few fish that are in the river are seeing heavy pressure from the surge in traffic from the annual brown trout spawn.
Some Kokanee Salmon have been moving up from the Reservoir over the past few weeks.
We are already seeing HEAVY crowds on the weekends and we expect that to continue to grow over the next few weeks.
Fall is in the air and with the change in seasons comes a change in hatches on the South Platte River. We are still seeing Tricos in good numbers and they should continue through October. We are also seeing good Blue Winged Olive (BWO's) Hatches, especially on overcast days with less wind.
Long time local guide and author Phil Tereyla has started a petition to protect a small section of the Dream Stream for spawning during the month of October. CPW is a slow moving bureaucracy but at least this could get the conversation started.
Please follow the link below to learn more.
The entire South Platte is fishing great. It's an excellent time to be on the water!
Despite the fluctuating flows over the past few weeks the fishing has still been consistently good. Most of the fishing has been subsurface with only the occasional rise to a fluttering adult Caddis.
Tricos are starting to show up throughout the South Platte. The hatches at the Dream have been fairly light and the fish haven't started keyed in on them yet but that will change soon. Now is the time to stock up on those Trico patterns.
Warmer temperatures mean an increase in terrestrial activity. We had some good luck with Hopper + Dropper combinations as well.
The Dream Stream continues to fish well. The flows have been pretty steady over the past month at the 80 cfs range. The consistent lower flows and clear water means the fishing will be more technical.
Look for fish feeding in the riffles and approach with caution. These fish are going to be spooky. If using indicators switch to wool/yarn or any of the lighter alternatives. Thing-a-ma-bobbers may be a bit much.
Were still seeing lots of midge activity in the morning and the occasional blue winged olive hatch in the afternoon. Expect to see lots of Suckers with the spawn in full swing.
With fairly steady flows and warming spring temperatures fishing at the Dream Stream has been very good. The spring spawn is coming to an end and the crowds have subsided.
The fish have become much more active and are moving into the runs and riffles to feed. The Baetis (Blue Winged Olive) hatch is well underway and Caddis are just around the corner. And of course, don't discount midges, a year round tailwater staple.
Surface activity is still pretty sporadic. Look for BWO's in the afternoon, especially on overcast days with less wind. Midge hatches are still pretty solid as well.
Dead drifting Baetis nymphs, Caddis larva, and Midges can be very effective. Look for fish in shallower runs and riffles (feeding fish).
Swinging soft hackle flies can also be a great technique this time of year. Just remember to up your tippet size (4x to start) as the takes can be aggressive. As Caddis activity increases swinging pupa imitations can be deadly.
Fishing at the Dream Stream has been sporadic lately due to the massive crowds and heavy pressure the fish are seeing on a daily basis. Each year this section of the South Platte sees a huge surge of anglers in the spring and fall looking for lake run trout. This year is no exception. If fishing in very crowded conditions is not your thing, I would suggest giving another section of the South Platte a try over the next couple of weeks.
Look for fish moving around the deeper runs or hanging well behind spawning areas. Fish hovering motionless near the bottom of deep pools are not feeding fish.
We are starting to see some Blue Winged Olives (BWO's) later in the afternoons, and midges are still going strong all throughout the day.
If you are heading to the Dream Stream, be prepared for heavy crowds. Please respect spawning fish and be extra careful not to disturb redds (light areas of clean gravel that act as spawning beds for trout). Don't fish to trout if they are on redds. They are spawning and should not be disturbed.
If you witness any bad behavior or suspicious/illegal activity please call Colorado Parks & Wildlife at (719) 748-3401.
A recent bump in the flows (a little bit goes a long way this time of year) combined with warmer temperatures has made for some great winter fishing conditions on the dream stream. The fish are still mostly podded up in the deeper pools but as the afternoon temps rise, the fish begin feeding more actively.
Days with less wind have produced good midge hatches and the occasional fish feeding on the surface. A cautious approach and delicate presentation will often be rewarded accordingly.
It's still winter fishing with lower flows and crystal clear water which means weary fish. If you spot feeding fish take the time to plan your approach. These fish will spook easily this time of year. Don't be afraid to drop down to 6x tippet if necessary.
Winter fly fishing on Colorado tailwaters can be outstanding and The Dream Stream is no exception. Despite the low winter flows and cool temps the fishing has been great.
With low flows (56 cfs) and frigid water (38 degrees above the barns), most of the fish will be holding in the slower, deeper pools. Approach with caution, these fish are on alert. Also, keep an eye out for fish feeding on adult midges along the bank.
When nymphing, precise presentations are required. These fish are not going to move much for such a small meal. If you find some rising fish, try a larger dry out front followed by a small midge dry or emerger. We have also had good luck throwing streamers. On sunny days start with something light. White and yellow are good choices.
Winter fishing has definitely arrived on the South Platte. Spinney has been challenging over the last few days. Spawning browns are back in the reservoir, and the resident trout are difficult (but not impossible) to catch.
The flows have dropped dramatically in the past 24 hours and the water is now down to 56 c.f.s. The fish will be found in the deeper pools close to the river bottom. BWOs and small midges are hatching on the overcast, non-windy days.
Wait for the water to heat up a bit as we have seen very little feeding activity until 11am or so. We suggest you use an attractor top fly trailed by a smaller midge pattern, size #22-24, and use fluorocarbon tippet. Streamers are also a favorite pattern of ours this time of year.
The flows on this section of the South Platte have been hovering around 140 for a few weeks now. Temperatures are very cool in the mornings leading to a delay in the withering Trico hatch. We are not seeing these bugs come off the water until around 10-11 am. On certain sections of the river you still can find fish holding in slow back eddy's slurping the spinners.
Tie on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis trailed by a size 24 Trico Spinner and present it upstream trying your best to make the fly land within a couple feet ahead of the rising fish.
If you're nymphing during the first half of the day lead with a red San Juan worm trailed by a black RS2 or Pheasant Tail.
Fishing on the Dream Stream has been very good this week. We have plenty of water with flows at 207 cfs., which is much higher than the historical average of 120 cfs.
Early morning hours have been producing large swarms of Trico's with a mix of caddis, Midges, PMD, and even an occasional BWO - you name it and it's in the air! In the very early hours before the Trico hatch try nymphing with a brown San Juan worm trailed by a black Rs2. Surface activity has been plentiful on non-windy days. A Caddis or hopper with a Trico spinner off the back has been very productive.
Watch the take, to determine your fly selection. If the trout sips showing a full nose, put on a Trico or midge. If you see a splash tight to the bank, try a hopper or caddis. If a bump in the flow occurs, expect some weeds coming down river and clarity to diminish. If it's a sunny day don't hesitate to use 6x when dry fly fishing.
Spinney has slowed down during the bright sunny mid days. Morning and evening dry fly fishing is still excellent with Tricos and Caddis hatching pretty prolifically. Flows are currently at 223 cfs and the fish are loving it. The water is clear, so sight fishing is possible. The fish are mainly holding in the riffles and the seams of fast and slow water throughout the mornings.
When nymphing, use an attractor pattern such as a San Juan Worm or Flash Back PT up top and trail a Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail or a Purple Juju Baetis. For top water action in the morning use a double dry rig. An elk hair caddis followed by trico spinner should get the job done.
If you find yourself on the water in the evening, bang the banks and slow water behind structure with a large grass hopper.
Dream Stream is at 149 cfs with some great dry fly action in the morning and late in the evening. Late afternoon into the evening, the fish are rising to Caddis dries and Trico Spinners. When it gets windy try nymphing PMDs, Caddis, Trico emergers and stonefly patterns. 5x fluorocarbon tippet is highly recommended. Stock up on those Trico Spinners. Fish them as a dry or subsurface behind a Graphic Caddis.
Don't be discouraged if you get no action at all through the afternoon. The fish are gorging on Tricos during the morning and then sulking in the deeps until evening. If you are fishing in the afternoon focus on the fast water. If they are holding in fast water, they are eating.
WE HAVE WATER!! The flows are hovering around 150 cfs. If you're headed to the Dream there are 2 patterns you should make sure to have a heavy stock of. The Graphic Caddis and a Trico spinner have been producing most of our fish. The Trico's have been coming off around 7:30 am followed by the Caddis.
The Trico spinner is generally fished on the surface behind a larger dry however, when the spinner fall begins use that same Trico dry as a drowned Trico by using it as your tail fly on a tandem or triple nymph rig. We recommend leading with a brown san juan worm followed by a black 2 Bit Hooker, drowned Trico spinner or Graphic Caddis. From the riffles to the back eddies rising fish can be found throughout the Dream. Try a hopper dropper rig leading with an Amy's Ant and a zebra Copper John as your dropper.
Flows have been holding steady around 80 cfs for the last couple of weeks. Nymphing is still the most productive technique, however fish are rising in the hours before sunset in slow back eddies and pools.
Use 4x or 5x leaders with 5x fluorocarbon tippet. An attractor pattern such as a red San Juan Worm or Flash Back Pheasant Tail up top, trailed by a small midge pattern such as a Black Beauty, Bling Midge, or red Copper John would be a good rig to use. Caddis have been spotted on the stream and the trout are starting to key in on the dries.
Don't be afraid to put on a streamer or leech pattern and see what happens!
The flows on the Dream Stream were bumped up to 70 cfs on Thursday 4/21/16 and have remained there as of this report. The fish have been actively feeding on midges for most of the day. Early mornings before 8am have been a little slow, but once the sun warms things up the fish have been feeding like it’s their last chance to eat.
On cloudy, cooler days be ready for great dry fly fishing with your favorite adult Blue Winged Olive pattern. Most of the big lake fish have moved out of the river and back to the reservoir.
However, if you’re stealthy enough, you may still spot some trout holding in a deep pool. Try fishing a Mayer’s Mini Leech trailed by a tube midge or Radiation Baetis. If you want something a little flashier than a tube midge, try a Juju Bee in chartreuse or red. During the times when the fish are obviously feeding on the emerging insects, fish the emerging Baetis and midge together on a tandem rig.
The flows on the Dream Stream have been consistently at 65 cfs. The Rainbows are beginning to move up river from 11 mile reservoir, and we are seeing some excellent early spring fishing. Fish have been sighted paired on redds so please look before you walk in the river.
We've been seeing a lot of anglers already on the river so 5x and 6x fluorocarbon tippet and long leaders are recommended. Nymphing a double nymph rig is productive throughout the day with rising trout in slow water during the warmest parts of the afternoon.
Flow is at 62 CFS. Fishing has been consistent on the Dream with water temps in the high 30's you will see midge hatches in the afternoon. Slow and small is the name of the game in this cold weather.
Look for pods of fish rising in the slow water and fish small dries or emergers with 6x fluorocarbon and long leaders. Nymph fishing has also been great! Fish 5/6x fluorocarbon with a tandem nymph rig and remember to add weight before changing flies as most fish will be laying at the bottom of the deep pools.