Discover the latest fishing conditions and catch trends on the South Platte River in Waterton Canyon with our comprehensive fishing report for June 25th, 2024.

Current River Conditions

The current river conditions at Waterton Canyon on the South Platte River are nothing short of remarkable. With an average flow of over 900 CFS, the river is putting on an awe-inspiring display of nature's power. Denver Water is diligently managing the water temperatures to ensure the well-being of our beloved fish in the area. The flow rate at the top of Waterton Canyon hasn't been this high in decades, creating a truly exceptional sight for visitors.

The tailwaters are bustling with scuds, worms, craneflies, and stoneflies, serving up a grand buffet for the fish calling the South Platte home. The increased flows have also brought out larger bugs, offering anglers a thrilling chance to use bigger hooks and reel in some impressive catches.

The current situation involves spills and regular releases, as the basin's reservoirs are brimming with water, and runoff is in full force further up the system. Despite these extreme flows, the conditions remain quite manageable for fishing. It's advisable for anglers to concentrate on fishing along the river banks and to stay on the trail side, as the high flows have made crossing the river unsafe.

USE EXTREME CAUTION! Due to high flows and poor foot placement, the team has already seen members float down the river twice this season. Safety should be your first focus when heading out. Runoff in Colorado is no joke. Runoff conditions have killed or seriously too many guests to our rivers over the decades. Practice good awareness, maintain foot position when wading, and ALWAY tell someone where you are going before if you are going alone. 

waterton canyon Stronia Springs Reservoir

RIVER FLOW RATE

Source: Colorado Division of Water and Natural Resources Stream Flow Station Report

WEATHER

Source: Weather.com

Notable Hatches & Fly Patterns for Mid-Summer

In the midst of summer on the South Platte River in Wateron Canyon, anglers should look for several exciting hatches and fly patterns. These include a variety of insect species, such as mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies.

MAYFLIES

Mayflies are abundant during this season and can be mimicked with patterns such as the Blue Wing Olive or Pale Morning Dun. Anglers have successfully used these patterns in both nymph and dry fly variations.

Available from us Here

Parachute Adams

CADDIS

Caddisflies are also on the scene, and patterns like the Elk Hair Caddis or the X-Caddis do a fantastic job of imitating them. These patterns can be fished on the surface or subsurface depending on how the fish feed.

Available from us Here

Parachute Caddis Detail

STONEFLIES

Stoneflies are another key player in mid-summer. Patterns like Pat's Rubber Legs or the Kaufmann Stone are popular for imitating stoneflies. These patterns are best fished near the riverbed, where stonefly nymphs are commonly found.

Available from us Here

Pat Rubber Legs

 

Current Fly Fishing Tactics

Regarding fly fishing tactics on the South Platte River in Waterton Canyon, anglers have many effective strategies. Nymphing is a popular tactic involving fishing with subsurface flies that mimic aquatic insects in their nymph stage. Anglers have shared their success stories using various nymph patterns, including timeless classics like the Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, and Prince Nymph. These patterns can be fished with or without an indicator depending on factors like water depth and current speed.

Dry fly fishing is another effective tactic, especially during hatches. Anglers can present dry flies that imitate the emerging insects on the water's surface, leading to exhilarating visual encounters as fish rise to take the fly. This method can be thrilling and rewarding for anglers seeking a more interactive fishing experience.

Streamer fishing is a popular choice on the South Platte River for those aiming to target larger fish or cover more water. Streamers, being larger and more imitative flies, can be retrieved in various ways to mimic baitfish or other prey items. Patterns like the Woolly Bugger or the Sculpzilla have proven successful for anglers targeting predatory fish in the river.

Snow Pack Update: Colorado 2024 Front Range UPDATED 6.24.24

Streamflow exceedance volume forecasts produced May 1st.

Cheesman reservoir is currently 100% full and spilling. Run-off at higher elevations is also just now starting.

In Western Colorado, lower elevation snowpack was abundant, leading to significant early-season runoff in some basins. This resulted in observed flooding in the Yampa and Dolores basins, with more snowmelt expected. While Western Colorado saw above-normal April streamflow volumes, other parts of the state had different outcomes. NRCS Hydrologist Karl Wetlaufer noted the varying snowpack and streamflow forecasts for this year's April-July runoff period, with some basins expecting below-normal seasonal runoff volumes.

Reservoir storage is improving in basins with deficits, like the Gunnison and the San Miguel-Dolores-Animas-San Juan River basins. It's crucial to monitor forecasts and changing conditions closely in your local area throughout the spring and summer due to the variability in streamflow forecasts across the state. Snowpack statewide peaked on April 8th at SNOTEL sites, marking the start of the primary snowmelt runoff season. Wetlaufer emphasized the importance of closely monitoring water resources during this time of year, as conditions can change rapidly. While abundant streamflow is positive for water supply in the Colorado River Basin, all in Colorado must be aware of flood potential and associated hazards. 

Current conditions in Colorado River basins, May 1st 2023.

 

Source: USDA Natural Resources Conversation Service

Tymothe Meskel
Post by Tymothe Meskel
June 24, 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.

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