The South Platte River has its origins in South Park, located between the Sawatch and Rampart Ranges, peaks which are some 14,000 feet high west of Denver. Three streams make up the South Platte River. They are referred to as the South Fork, Middle Fork and North Fork. These waters meander through the central part of the state, eventually emptying into downtown Denver.
The South Platte is the longest river to fish in Colorado, and offers a most diverse fishing environment. Seven bottom release dams provide stable year round water temperatures and fishing opportunities. There are challenges on these waters for both experienced and novice anglers. Appreciated by all is the knowledge that the South Platte offers world class fishing, with an abundance of browns, cutthroats and rainbows. In fact some areas are rated as containing 4,000 to 7,000 fish per mile. Some areas are also home to brooks, carp, bass as well as pike.
The river system provides anglers with over 100 miles of public access during its trip from headwaters to the city of Denver. Walk wading is popular, and maps showing public access points are readily available. The river has a reputation for many Caddis, Midge and Mayfly hatches, offering exciting fly fishing opportunities. Nymph and dry fly fishing these waters is an unexcelled experience.
The North Fork of the South Platte is only about an hour away from Denver. Both the Middle and South Forks are smaller streams which flow through lush meadows. Anglers can expect to catch pristine specimens throughout. Because the South Platte is so long, it is often broken down into different sections, each one offering different challenges and fly fishing opportunities. It certainly is worthwhile exploring the Clear Creek, Bear Creek, Tomahawk, Hartsel, Badger Basin, Deckers and the Dream Stream areas of the South Platte.
Before I head out to any of these waters, I check in with the fly fishing experts at Minturn Anglers in Denver, Vail or Minturn. I find this is the best way to find out which sections of the South Platte are most active at any given time. With Minturn Angler guidance, every fly fishing experience becomes a Gold Medal one.