Friday, May 20, 2011

First Time at Deckers - Trip Report 5/15/11

I was finally able to get away from the vise this weekend, and got to go fishing for the day. I decided to call up a friend, and see if he might be able to show me some of the water down in his neck of the woods.  Turns out that he lives not too far from the world renowned Cheeseman Canyon/Deckers section of the South Platte. I was instantly intrigued; the only problem was finding a ride.  After harsh negotiations (including my allowance being given away towards gas money), I was finally able to convince my uncle to make the drive down there.  The plan was set, and I was jumping with joy.

 For those of you who haven't heard of this section of the South Platte, these fish have a masters degree in identifying artificial flies.  They could probably tell you what materials you used to tie the fly for that matter.  However, these guys can get big. Stories of 20 inch fish weighing in at nearly 5 pounds were what attracted me so much to this fishery. They feed primarily on midges from what I hear, which made me wonder if camping out up there for a week or so might be a possibility, seeing as I love to catch big fish on small patterns and tippet as thin as a strand of hair.  As I began to doze off to sleep the night before, I was dreaming of catching one of these beasts, and before I knew it, early the next morning we were on our way to pick up my friend, and then to the river.

After the painstakingly long drive, we finally got to our destination, and made a quick stop at "Flies and Lies" fly shop for some tips and tricks to catching these technical trout.  I needed as much advice as possible because this was an entirely new thing for me.  I could tell from the instant we saw the river that this was going to be much different then the Poudre.  The guys working were very kind, and after a couple of tips, they wished us luck and told us to stop back in at the end of the day to tell them how things went. We went to the car, suited up, and hit the river as my uncle went off to study.

After an hour or two with only a few hits, I was cursing at myself for letting my allowance slip out of my hands for this. Then, just like most fish stories go, my friend hollers from down river "try that seam right there!"  As you probably know, I love to sight fish, so as second nature, my eyes began to scan the water. Suddenly, a movement.  It was a brown that was feeding aggressively on mayfly nymphs (as later determined by stomach samples). He took on the first drift, but after one head-shake, my poor little top secret midge was bent to oblivion.  I replaced the fly, and resumed looking for fish in the seam. One of the easiest ways to find a feeding trout is by the white glint of its mouth, so I began searching the water, and as clear as day came a white flash right in front of me.  I knew that this was my one chance at success.  I put the fly in front of him with confidence a few times, and I watched with joy as he opened his giant jaw to inhale my nymph on the fourth drift.  After a long, crazy fight (including him going straight through my legs), the beautiful male rainbow came to net, and we quickly pumped his stomach, and released him with pride.
Not a bad fish...I love Sight Fishing

A piece of advice that I can offer is to go out and buy yourself a buff. A buff is breathable for summer days on the water, but insulative for cold days on the water. I love mine, and it most definitely helped on this day as you can tell by the picture. Get a darker color seeing as they absorb available light better, reducing glare on the surface of the water. This makes sight fishing even easier.
With the pressure off, it was now about seeing if I could trick another fish.  We fished for about another hour until I connected again, this time with a decent little brown that took a big juicy stonefly imitation.  After a quick set of pictures and a release, we checked the time.  We had agreed to be picked up at one o'clock to be taken to another spot, so we packed up, and moved on.
This Fish Slammed a Golden Stone Imitation
We later arrived at a spot that had clearly been hit hard already, as most of the fish were down.  The water was gin clear in this section (adding an entire new level of trickiness to the equation), whereas it was muddier in the first spot we had fished.  After several hours and no fish, we called it quits and walked over to the fly shop, and hung out there for a bit. I always like to examine other people's fly boxes as best I can to see what flies I should add to my own box.  When given the opportunity to look inside a trout fishing guide's fly box for this section of river, I do not say no.  So after swapping a few flies, and telling a few lies, it was time for us to go, and we began the long drive home again.

As you can see, this water was insanely clear
Overall, it was a great day on the water.  Even though I only landed two fish, I feel a sense of accomplishment seeing as I had never fished this rather technical section of the Platte, or even the Platte for that matter.  Flies for the day were a big golden stonefly (doesn't really matter which one you choose), a tungsten soft hackle, and a variety of midges. This is definitely a recommended section of river if you are O.K with crowds, and I also recommend stopping into "Flies and Lies" no matter what your skill level. I apologize for not posting this earlier, but we had some technical issues with getting the pictures to me. Enjoy, and look forward to a tying tutorial soon.


  1. Great blog and great fish!! You got a new follower

  2. Enticing and landing fish in Cheesman is quite the task from what I hear. I would say you had a stellar first time! Way to go.


  3. @Dustin-Thank you very much! I greatly appreciate that!

  4. @Stephanie-Yes, I had heard that it was common to blank down in cheeseman. It was great to feel the pull of those trout! I appreciate the comment!


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