Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the River: Cheeseman Canyon, South Platte River, Decker, CO

July 18, 2009

Well, it's always a good thing when you've been fishing too much to blog about it. I write this quite frantically too since I need to catch up on 4 epic adventures since I last blogged and I'm doing it all so I won't be so back-logged when I get back from 4 days of fishing Spring Creek near State College, PA. It's been a long time since I've got back to my roots of spring creek fishing in the east ... a love affair I've long had.

But back to the subject, because this story is about the Cheeseman Canyon, one of the closest resemblances to an east coast spring creek that you'll find out west (at least in the public water sector).

It had been far too long since I last visited (it's a solid 3.5 hour drive from Gunnison) and even longer since I'd fished it in good weather. Yes, my last bout with Cheeseman, that was under blue skies, was my bachelor party, August 25 2005.

I met my buddy Ben at 8 AM at the Donut Mill. [Yes, biscuits and gravy is an excellent way to start a fishing day.] When we rolled up to the river around 10 AM we were met with blue skies and clear water. I was pretty excited about the day. At minimum, you know you won't walk away from Cheeseman on a sunny day without at least seeing lots of fish.

I had my first 15" fish in the sights and tied on a #24 olive midge. Alas, after 8 good casts it was clear he wasn't moving for the midge so I tied on a gammarus scud and the first drift I put past him resulted in a gentle take and a solid fish.

It wasn't long before I was into my 4th or 5th fish. All day long they were divided pretty evenly, the browns either took a gammarus scud, midge, or dry (we picked up a few sporadic risers on caddis, and poly-wing baetis), and the rainbows almost exclusively took the AB hare's ear.

It was around lunch time that I spotted a nice looking fish at the head of a riffle, and since Ben was a little lower on the numbers I gave him first crack at the fish. First drift produced a pretty obvious take and Ben lifted up on this monster rainbow (see left). A couple of hours later, further up the stream, Ben hooked another rainbow of similar caliber (see left) ... I'm not going to give Ben the first crack at a fish anymore.

All in all the day was pretty awesome! We were never lacking for feeding fish and I even got my fair shot at a rainbow that I'm guessing was pushing the 10 lb. + mark. Yes, I came to Cheeseman and got exactly what I was looking for ... intelligent fish that you could sight cast to with small flies, light tippet and a micro indicator (or none at all).

That, my friends, is the definition of a good day.



  1. Sweeeeet! Gotta love the canyon - looks like you two had a great day. And those be some fine ol' fishies ya'll hooked. Gotta love the scud - that's one pattern that can be downright deadly at times - even in the winter.

    Hare's ear, too - great pattern for da' Canyon. See what happens when you start your day off right, with some solid fare of biscuits and gravy? Great things happen to those who indulge...

    I'm long overdue for some fishing - broke my new rod (correction - the kids broke my rod) - and I was subjected to...*gasp*...bait fishing.

    Anyway - great post, nice fish...enjoyed reading about your day on the river, as always.

  2. Broken rod ... no good. It's not that they won't replace it, but when I broke my Winston it took like 2 months to get the thing back. Luckily for me, I broke it late in the season.

    Yeah, I'm pretty psyched. I really want to make a plan for late season BWO's. I would love to be looking at a pool of sippers on that river!