Over the years I have fly fished many sections of the South Platte River. This river that flows right through metro Denver is well known for its easy access and abundant trout. Some estimates suggest a population of between 4,000 to 7,000 fish per mile. The beauty of the river is a bonus, with huge boulders lying in parts of the stream and canyon walls that been formed into unusual and almost mystic dome shapes.
For the past 10 years or so, I have been accessing the South Platte from Hwy 67 which follows the river. There are several parking areas and picnic areas only a short walk away from this Gold Medal water. Many locations are relatively clear of brush so fishing from the shore has been a pleasurable experience for me. The whole area can become quite crowded on weekends, but there is an abundance of water to fish. Often I have gone hours without meeting up with other anglers.
I often find myself heading out to Waterton Canyon, Cheesman Canyon and the Dream Stream. I used to frequent the South Platte River at Deckers as well, until the area was devastated by the largest fire in the history of Colorado in 2002. Debris from the fire seriously affected the fish habitat and destroyed the natural beauty of the area.
However, the last time I was in the Minturn Anglers fly shop in Denver, one of the guides who happened to be there suggested it was time for me to take another shot at the Deckers South Platte. The guide pointed out that fish counts in the Deckers area are reaching almost 800 fish per acre, an enticingly high number. Trophy size browns and rainbows in the 20 to 24 inch size hiding in the many riffles, deep pockets and slow runs are a challenge for anyone’s fly fishing skills. He described the crystal clear waters to be ideal for walk and wade fishing, and that the eagles, mule deer and other wildlife make this area of the South Platte a wilderness escape.
I’m taking this experienced guide at his word and am preparing to revisit old fishing spots around Deckers on the South Platte.