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A Guide to Fly Fishing in Colorado Springs

The South Platte: The Dream Stream Stretch

The area around Colorado Springs may be densely populated, but it still offers incredible opportunities for fly fishing enthusiasts. One of the best spots to chase trophy trout is the Dream Stream stretch on the South Platte River. This tailwater fishery provides consistent water temperatures, flows, and food sources that are ideal for monster trout. The 4-mile stretch between Spinney Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir has been designated as a gold medal stretch of water, where you can catch brown trout, rainbow trout, and cutbow trout that can reach over 22 inches. During the fall spawn, you may even encounter kokanee salmon.

Where to Fly Fish on the Dream Stream

The entire stretch of the Dream Stream is public water, making it accessible to all anglers. While there are several parking areas along the stretch, it’s recommended to park in the middle and fish either upstream or downstream depending on where others are fishing. Charlie Meyers State Rec Parking is a great place to park, with clear trails leading down to the river.

Recommended Fly Fishing Gear for the Dream Stream

When fly fishing on the Dream Stream, it’s important to consider the elevation and weather conditions. At nearly 9000ft, wind is almost always a factor. Bring a fast action 9ft 6wt rod that can handle streamers or tandem nymph rigs in stiff breezes. Use a floating line and a 9ft leader, as these fish receive a lot of pressure and can be leader-shy. A 5x or 6x leader or tippet is recommended, with the option of using 0x for throwing streamers.

Best Flies for the Dream Stream

Since the Dream Stream is a tailwater fishery, the fish are smart and selective. A good drift and proper weight placement are crucial. For midges and little bugs, try using juju baetis, black beauty, RS2, and parachute adams. For green caddis, use sizes 12-18. When targeting larger fish, consider using chubby chernobyl, thin mint, and sex dungeon streamers. A pro tip is to explore areas away from other anglers, as the stretch receives a lot of pressure.

The Arkansas River: Epic Fly Fishing

The Arkansas River, often overlooked when discussing great trout streams in Colorado, offers a more dynamic fishing experience. As a freestone river, it provides diverse habitats for trout. The hatches of blue-winged olives and caddisflies on the Arkansas River are a dream for dry fly fishing enthusiasts. With 102 miles of gold medal water, it is the longest stretch of its kind in the West. While rainbow and brown trout can be found in the river, it is predominantly a brown trout fishery.

Where to Fish the Arkansas River

The Arkansas River offers a range of fishing experiences, from high country meadows to fast-water canyons. One great spot is just upstream of Parkdale, which provides fantastic pocket water fishing during the spring and fall. During the warmer summer months, it’s recommended to head further upstream.

Recommended Gear for the Arkansas River

Layered clothing and a good pair of waders are essential for fishing the Arkansas River, especially during the winter, spring, and fall seasons. A 9ft 5wt rod with a weight forward floating line is ideal for most situations. For leaders, a 7ft to 9ft 3x or 4x leader works well during high water, while a 9ft 5x or 6x leader is suitable for the rest of the year.

Recommended Flies for the Arkansas River

To successfully fish the Arkansas River, use a variety of fly patterns. For BWOs, try sizes 16-20. Griffiths gnat, parachute adams, and caddisflies are also effective in sizes 12-18. Stimulators and hoppers in orange or yellow, as well as slump busters and sculpzillas in black or olive, are great additions to your fly box.

The South Platte: Deckers

Deckers, a small town located just outside of Colorado Springs, is home to the Deckers stretch of the South Platte River. This tailwater section offers great access to numerous miles of gold medal water. With a mix of pocket water, pools, and riffles, you can expect to catch brown trout and rainbow trout between 12 and 18 inches, with the possibility of larger fish in the 20 to 24 inch range.

Where to Fish near Deckers

While the area outside of Deckers can receive significant angler pressure, there are ample access points in the vicinity. From Colorado Springs, head north on US-24 and then take CO-67 N towards Deckers. The road follows alongside the river, providing various parking areas for anglers. Fishing upstream from these points offers a diverse range of water.

Recommended Gear for Deckers

Gear considerations for Deckers should revolve around variable weather and wind conditions. A 9ft 6wt rod is recommended for casting in windy conditions and high sticking deeper runs. A weight forward floating line is ideal, and 9ft leaders ranging from 4x to 6x should cover most fishing situations. Bringing plenty of tippet in the 5x-6x range is advised, as these fish can be selective.

Recommended Flies for Deckers

Effective fly patterns for Deckers include pheasant tails, San Juan worms, brassies, top-secret midges, RS2s, Cheesman emergers, Griffiths gnat, and BWO patterns. Amy’s ant, caddis, and hoppers also work well in this area.

Lake Pueblo for Fly Fishing

Lake Pueblo, located south of Colorado Springs, offers fly anglers the opportunity to catch a wide variety of species, including wipers, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, walleye, and carp. With 60 miles of shoreline, it’s a great stillwater option for those without a boat. The lake remains ice-free all year, making it accessible for fishing in all seasons. Targeting monster carp, wipers, and bass with a 7wt rod, sinking and floating lines, and baitfish and carp flies is highly recommended.

Rampart Reservoir: Fly Fish Close to Colorado Springs

Just a short drive from Colorado Springs, Rampart Reservoir offers incredible views and excellent fishing opportunities, especially in the spring and fall. Lake trout, also known as mackinaw, push up into the shallows during these seasons, providing fly fishermen with a unique opportunity to target them from the bank. A 7wt rod, both floating and sinking lines, and a selection of streamers are essential when fishing for lake trout in this reservoir.

Cheesman Canyon: Fly Fishing Beautiful Waters

Upstream from Deckers, Cheesman Canyon is a picturesque location with beautiful trout waters. This boulder-strewn tailwater, fed by Cheesman Lake, provides consistent water temperatures and abundant food sources, creating the perfect conditions for large trout. The canyon is known for its monster rainbow trout and prolific midge and caddis hatches.

What Kind of Fish Can You Catch Around Colorado Springs?

The waters around Colorado Springs offer a variety of fish species. Predominantly, rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout can be found. Additionally, warm water species such as large and smallmouth bass, wipers, pike, carp, and bluegill can be targeted.

In conclusion, Colorado Springs provides fly fishing enthusiasts with incredible opportunities to chase trophy trout. Whether it’s the Dream Stream stretch on the South Platte River, the Arkansas River, the Deckers stretch, or nearby lakes and reservoirs, each location offers unique characteristics and fishing experiences. With the right gear, flies, and knowledge of each area, anglers can enjoy successful and memorable outings in the beautiful waters around Colorado Springs.

Note: This article does not express any personal opinions or experiences and is solely based on the information provided in the original text.

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