Weekend Angler: Denver

The Blue
By Chris Gentry
  |  Gorp.com
Page 3 of 4   |  

Species: Rainbows averaging 1418 inches, many up to and over 20 inches. Browns averaging 1216 inches, some to 20 inches, and a few lunkers that are hard to entice.

Equipment: 9-foot, 5-weight rod. Lots of 6X and 7X tippet for clear water and selective trout. Lightweight waders in summer, neoprene waders in spring, fall and winter. Felt-soled boots.

Flies: Brassies, Miracle Nymphs, Black Beauties, Baetis Nymphs, and RS-2s (#18#24). Orange & Olive Scuds (#10#16). Parachute Adams, Comparaduns and Griffiths Gnats (#18#24).

Fly shops: Flies and Lies, Deckers, (303) 647-2237.

Directions: From Denver take South Santa Fe (Highway 85) to the little town of Sedalia, then get on Highway 67 and follow it to the town of Deckers. There is lots of public access in this area; to reach Cheesman Canyon, drive about a mile upstream of Deckers. Once you pass the Wig Wam Club, start looking for two small pull-outs on the right side of the road. Park here and catch the Gill Trail on the other side of the road. It is a brief hike into the canyon. See map.

Lodging: Fairplay is the main hamlet in South Park but it isn't much closer than Denver. The Western Inn (719) 836-2026, is an adequate inn to rest your head if you choose to stay in Fairplay. Anglers can camp in the national forest and canyon. There are also a handful of rental cabins in Deckers. Many folks just drive the hour and a half back to Denver to catch a meal, toss a beer and stay in a nice hotel. Colorado Division of Wildlife (303) 291-7230; U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Regional Office (303) 275-5350; South Park Chamber of Commerce (719) 836-3410.

Suggested reading: Fly Fishing the South Platte, by Roger Hill, (Pruett Press); Fly Fishing Colorado's Front Range, by Todd Hosman, (Pruett Press); Fly Fisher'sGuide to Colorado, by Marty Bartholomew, (Wilderness Adventures Press); Guide to Fly Fishing in Colorado, by Jackson Streit, (Banks Communications).


Surprisingly enough, one of the best trophy tailwater rivers in Colorado can be reached in less than an hour and a half from Denver.

The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir in Summit County is fast becoming a hot spot for its enormous rainbows and browns fattened by scores of mysis shrimp escaping through the dam.

A far cry from the breathtaking scenery of the South Platte, angling on the Blue River is referred to as"factory fishing" because of the factory outlet stores that surround the river in the ski town of Silverthorne.

Don't let the urban setting fool you however, as there are good numbers of browns and rainbows in the 5- to 15-pound range. Again, you will be using a lot of nymphs in the size 20 and smaller range as well as mysis shrimp patterns in a variety of sizes.

The rivers that receive these unique shrimp from the reservoirs above contain some of the largest trout in the state. And the trout are often referred to as "football fish" due to their grotesque proportions which result from gorging on these bizarre creatures.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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