Fall is here on the South Platte which means a few things- smaller crowds, smaller bugs, and lower flows. This report is for this past weekend as well as the last few weeks, as we have seen a transition from typical summer flows and fishing to true fall fishing.
In addition to our guide trips, we have been spending a lot of time on the water in the last few weeks with our fishing schools, and catching plenty of fish!
A flow between 150 and 250cfs on the Platte is pretty typical this time of year, and expect that number to continue to drop. Flows typically settle in the 100-150 range throughout the fall and usually will creep below 100 come December. What this mean to you is that you need to change your tactics a bit. Rather than focusing on caddis, stoneflies, and hoppers, start to think more about your small bugs- Blue Wing Olives and Midges. Dry fly fishing is still possible in the morning and evenings as we have seen some decent BWO hatches. If you are going to try to throw dries, think small bugs- Parachute Adams in sizes #18-22 will get the job done along with Extended Body BWO patterns in the same small sizes.
Nymphing is still the most productive tactic on the South Platte this time of year and that trend will continue into the winter and through the spring. Patterns like Zebra Midges, Palamino Mides (Red and Black), Jujubaetis (all varieties), Black Beauty Emergers, Thread Midges, Pheasant Tails, and of course RS-2s have all been catching fish. Make sure these bugs are in sizes #18-24. As for lead/attractor flies, try small golden stoneflies such as Poxyback Goldens in #16, or small caddis like Graphic Caddis and Soft Hackle PTs both in size #18. Worms in natural colors like tan and red will also be good flies, especially if you choose to sight fish as these flies are easy to see underwater.
Along with the downsize in flies, make sure to downsize your tippet sizes. 7.5ft 5x leaders with 5x and 6x tippet have been the best choice as of late. Additionally, try smaller, more sensitive indicators like Pinch-on foam indicators or yarn. Yarn indicators are my favorite indicator in the fall and winter months- they land on the water lightly and are so sensitive. I also like small size Thingamabobbers as they are also very sensitive. Make sure that you have camo split shot- the Dinsmore shot that is colored green is my favorite. This is a MUST in the fall/winter. The water is so clear and fish are spooky at lower flows, and nothing will spook a fish faster than a shiny piece of lead.
If you can put all of the above tactics together, you will really enjoy your fall. The fishing is great, the leaves are changing, and the crowds are lighter. The water temps in Deckers have stabilized due to the overnight temperatures being lower, but still, handle fish with caution and try to land them quickly. Don’t overplay fish on light tippet. Expect to see thicker and thicker BWO hatches in the coming weeks, especially on overcast days. Have fun out there and enjoy the fall!
What you will need for Deckers:
7.5ft 5 and 6x leaders
5x and 6x Fluorocarbon Tippet
#1, 4 and 6 CAMO split shot
#14-16 Worms (natural colors)
#18 Graphic Caddis
#16 Golden Stoneflies
#18-22 Black Beauty Emerger
#18-22 Thread Midges
#18-22 Palamino Midges
#18-22 Pheasant Tails
#18-22 Zebra Midges (Red and Black)
#18-26 Parachute Adams