Saturday, July 24, 2010

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

May 9, 2010

Well sir, I'm back in the saddle again ... After a ton of packing, uprooting our lives, and then replanting in Colorado Springs (not to mention squeezing in a fair amount of fishing in the mix), Michelle and I (and Allen Brothers) are officially residing in Colorado Springs, CO.

Oddly, this post is from when we were still living in Gunnison, and made a trip out to Cheeseman Canyon in the spring to escape the "frequent snow storms" in Gunnison (yeah ... we had weekly snow storms until the end of May, it pretty much stunk!).

It was a beautiful day on the river. The wind was pretty brutal, but what else can you expect in the spring? Really, it was the only draw-back to the day, because it forced us to fish a heavier weighted system than I wanted to (yeah ... it was windy enough that you couldn't mend without sending your whole rig flying into the air!)

Fishing was the usual Cheeseman Canyon fare of Blacktail Baetis, Gammarus Scud, and Grey midges. Nothing really happening on the surface of the water. The flows were about the lowest I've ever seen them on that river, so it was quite fun from the perspective of sighting fish (when the water wasn't broken from the wind). I hooked into a few nice fish early on that weaved me through a few boulders, and one fish even took the "bat cave" and left me snagged deep in the bowels of the earth DIRECTLY UNDER a bus sized boulder!

The first "traditional run" we started fishing had a few tanks lined up and it wasn't too long before the right drift turned them. In all fairness (and I'm sure Colorado Angler can confirm), I think they were fish that had been recently stocked in the Wigwam section and had migrated up. They looked like a special strain of rainbow that only rich people normally get to fish to (plus, the silver coloration indicates they hadn't been eating the nutrient rich food source from Cheeseman Canyon for very long).

Regardless, Michelle and I were both happy to land one of them. In fact, as you can see in the picture below, Michelle was quite ecstatic! They had some serious power, and it's probably the biggest fish she's ever landed on that light of tippet (7x). Never underestimate the power of a 2 weight! (yes, for all you naysayers, she landed it in under 4 minutes)

A few other nice fish were hooked, some other large "tanks" were turned, but all in all we didn't land too many fish that day.

I'm really looking forward to making Cheeseman some of my home waters ... once we get all unpacked and I hit the river some more, that is.

Tight Lines,



  1. Nice to see a post again Jeff. Scott & I are starting to plan a Sept run out west. I'll call to chat about it. Regards to Michelle. /g

  2. Welcome back, Jeff! Get settled in and let's hit the Canyon!

  3. you mean to tell us, that the big rainbows you and Coloradoangler are after, with tiny midges, one fly 7x and all that... those are stockers huh? oh.. what a facility they must have at the hatchery.

  4. Greg: Do call! We can hit some sweet front range waters. Or maybe even black canyon, Michelle and I want to get out that way for a long weekend.

    Co Angler: Thanks! Soon, very soon, sadly moving takes like a whole season of life. I'm gonna try and hit 11 mile this weekend, but I sort have to fish it hard and fast to figure out some good spots to take freinds of the family that are novice.

    Biggerfish: Short answer: No. There is a private stretch of water that butts up to the bottom of the Cheeseman Canyon. It's called the Wigwam Club and you've got to be like a Senator or something to fish it. It's heavily stocked (I'm assuming), so some of the fish move up into the Cheeseman stretch. In fact it's really easy to tell if it's a Wigwam fish because they are pretty ugly (like the fish above). There are a TON of fish that have been in Cheeseman for many years. They are easily identified by the fact that they have awesome coloration. Really though, all this is speculation since I've never called Wigwam to ask questions. I just know from experience what a stocker looks like!