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Bucksnort 09-29-2017 08:43 PM

Cheesman Canyon
 
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Here is some information about Cheesman Canyon (South Platte River above Deckers) if any of you are interested in going there. It's a Colorado location I would not pass up if you are in the area.

There is a dam at the upper end of the canyon, Cheesman dam, which creates Cheesman Reservoir. The canyon is approximately three miles long and can be accessed only on foot. It is strictly catch and release and probably has the smartest rainbows and browns known to man. I contend that when Einstein died, the Colorado Division of Wildlife stole it, dried, it then fed it to the fish in Cheesman.

There are two access points. One is at the very upper end directly below the dam and the other is at the lowest end at the end of the Gil Trail. The Wigwam fishing club property begins at the lower end of the canyon. The Gil trail is about .5 miles or shorter and is an easy walk. The trailhead is at a parking lot just off CO Highway 135. I've walked it many times in non-breathable waders.

I attached a photo taken downstream a short distance from the gauging station and dam.

To access the upper end, where there are more fish (about 1,000 pounds per surface acre), you drive a good dirt road from near the Gil Trail parking lot for a couple of miles until you see a designated parking lot for anglers. Before the fire, you could walk past the Denver Water Board caretaker's house then down the steep road to the gauging station below the dam. Now you must walk about one mile, maybe less, to the steep road.

The canyon is steep at the upper half toward the dam but not so much at the lower half. There have been two occasions in years when I fished the canyon where I walked the entire length. I don't recommend this.

It is a tail water fishery and loaded with pockets.

kad1979 09-29-2017 10:46 PM

Cheese will bring a grown fly fisherman to their knees. Love that water.

I have been humbled there more than I care to admit. Thanks for sharing.

JS92 09-30-2017 02:49 AM

Don't forget to bring red San Juan worms and mercury RS2s.

Bucksnort 09-30-2017 07:51 AM

kad,

I agree. I've been humbled more times that I want to admit. It is truly a world class fishery. I don't think it has been stocked since the 1960s. The lower end of the canyon has fewer fish than the upper end but when you are talking about 600 pounds of trout per acre in the lower end vs. 1,000 at the upper end, I don't think most anglers would notice the difference with activity.

There are times when you have trouble finding a parking place at the Gil trail head, which will indicate there are a lot of anglers in the canyon but it's so large and some places are hard to access for many anglers, you probably won't have to take your own rock to stand on. Most anglers opt for the lower end.

If you go to the gauging station, stand on the foot bridge and look down into the water below the bridge. The walk out at the station is somewhat steep. We used to call it the, "agony of de feet".

When I began fishing the canyon, I noticed the rainbows have a much more brilliant pink stripe down the side than any rainbow I've caught elsewhere.

JS92, you are correct about San Juans and Mercury RS2s. Generally, it's a small nymph river in the canyon.


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