Spring is a great time for fly fishing on the South Platte River in Colorado. However, in order to make the most of this season, it's important to use the right flies. Choosing the top flies for spring fly fishing on the South Platte River can help you increase your chances of a successful catch. So, if you're planning a fly fishing trip during this season, it's essential to discover the best flies to use.

Overview of the South Platte River in Colorado


The South Platte River is a renowned destination for fly fishing in Colorado, particularly during the spring season. It is located in the central part of the state and offers breathtaking scenery and abundant fishing opportunities.

The river flows through a diverse landscape, ranging from high alpine meadows to rocky canyons. It is known for its crystal-clear water and healthy fish populations, making it an ideal destination for both novice and experienced anglers.

The South Platte River is divided into several sections, each with its own unique characteristics and fishing opportunities. Some popular sections include the Eleven Mile Canyon, Cheesman Canyon, and Deckers. These sections offer different types of trout and varying fishing conditions.

Overall, the South Platte River in Colorado provides an exceptional fly fishing experience, attracting anglers from all over the world. Its scenic beauty and diverse trout populations make it a must-visit destination for fly fishing enthusiasts.

Top Flies for Fly Fishing on the South Platte in Spring


1) Blue Winged Olive (BWO):

The Blue Winged Olive (BWO) is a highly effective pattern for the South Platte River due to its resemblance to the natural insects found in the area. During the spring season, Blue Winged Olives are a prevalent hatch on the river, making them a primary food source for trout. Consequently, using BWO patterns can yield excellent results when fishing on the South Platte River in spring.

Blue Wing Olive

2) Caddis

Caddis flies are abundant in the South Platte River, and trout eagerly feed on them. Patterns like the Elk Hair Caddis or X-Caddis work well to imitate the natural insects.

Elk Hair Caddis

3) Zebra Midge

 Midges are a staple food source for trout in the South Platte River. Flies like the Griffith's Gnat or Zebra Midge, in various sizes and colors, can be effective when fishing for trout that are keying in on midge hatches.

Zebra Midge Black

4) San Juan Worm

The South Platte River has a healthy population of aquatic worms, and trout are often enticed by worm imitations. The San Juan Worm, in red or pink, is a reliable choice to attract trout.

Sn Juan Worm

5) Chubby Chernobyl 

Keeping an eye on the bugs buzzing around the river and picking the right fly to match the hatch is key. Having a diverse selection of fly sizes and patterns can definitely up your chances of reeling in a big one.

South Platte Match the Hatch Image 1-1

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Types of Trout Found in the South Platte River

The South Platte River is home to various species of trout, providing anglers with diverse fishing opportunities. Among the most common trout species found in the river are the vibrant and aggressive Rainbow Trout, known for their striking colors and voracious feeding habits. Additionally, the elusive Brown Trout can be found in deeper pools and slower-moving waters, offering anglers a challenging catch. For those seeking a prized accomplishment, the native Cutthroat Trout, with their distinct markings including red or orange slashes on their throats, can be found in select sections of the South Platte River. These trout species not only provide exciting angling opportunities but also showcase their strength and fighting abilities, making each catch a memorable experience for anglers seeking adventure on the South Platte River. It is important to adhere to catch-and-release regulations to ensure the continued preservation of the diverse fish populations in the river.

rainbow trout

Rainbow Trout: Rainbow trout are highly abundant in the South Platte River. They are known for their vibrant colors and aggressive feeding behavior. Rainbow trout can be found throughout the river, from the headwaters to the lower sections.






brown trout

Brown Trout: Brown trout are another popular species that inhabit the South Platte River. They are known for their elusive nature and can be challenging to catch. Brown trout are often found in deeper pools and prefer slower-moving water.






green back cutthrout trout

Cutthroat Trout: Cutthroat trout are native to Colorado and can be found in certain sections of the South Platte River. They have distinct markings, including red or orange slashes on their throats. Catching a native cutthroat trout is a prized accomplishment for many anglers.






Tips for Successful Fly Fishing on the South Platte River

To make the most of your fly fishing experience on the South Platte River, consider the following tips:

  •  Research the river: Familiarize yourself with the different sections of the South Platte River and their specific fishing regulations. This will help you plan your fishing trip accordingly.
  •  Observe the hatch: Pay attention to the insect activity on the river. Matching the hatch using flies that imitate the natural insects will significantly increase your chances of success.
  •  Practice stealth: Trout in the South Platte River can be easily spooked, so it is vital to approach the river quietly and avoid making sudden movements. Use light tippet and make accurate casts to prevent scaring the fish. This stream is heavily fished so sight fishing is your best bet. 
  •  Explore different techniques: The South Platte River offers various fishing techniques, including dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for the conditions and fish behavior.
  •  Follow fishing regulations: Respect the catch-and-release regulations and any specific rules for the section of the river you are fishing. This ensures the sustainability of the fish populations and the preservation of the river's ecosystem.

Additional Resources for Fly Fishing Enthusiasts

If you're interested in learning more about fly fishing on the South Platte River in Colorado, here are some additional resources to explore:

 Local fly shops: Visit local fly shops in the area for up-to-date information on fishing conditions, recommended flies, and guided trips.

 Guidebooks and websites: Several guidebooks and websites are dedicated to fly fishing in Colorado. These resources provide valuable information on fishing techniques, access points, and recommended flies.

 Fly fishing clubs and organizations: Joining a local fly fishing club or organization can provide opportunities to connect with fellow anglers, participate in events, and learn about the South Platte River and other fishing destinations in Colorado.


Tymothe Meskel
Post by Tymothe Meskel
February 23, 2024
Tymothe Meskel is an avid fly fisherman who spends every week out on the water, rain, shine, or snow. He is an outdoor enthusiast who shares their experiences, tips, and insights on this fly fishing blog. With a wealth of knowledge about various techniques, equipment, and fly patterns, he helps anglers of all skill levels improve their fishing game. Join Tymothe on this journey as he uncover the joys of fly fishing and inspire others to appreciate the wilderness and preserve our natural resources.