South Platte: Eleven Mile Canyon

Weekly Overview:

January 14, 2021:

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Just before last weekend, flows in Eleven Mile Canyon increased from 70 cfs to 150 cfs. Currently holding at 150 cfs, flows are well above the norm for this time of year and now that trout have had a few days to adjust, fishing has improved. While this could change at any moment, trout are now able to spread out and hold in soft sections of the river that were previously too shallow. Pronounced pools and runs will still hold the most trout, but make sure to approach the water slowly and observe the banks, tailouts, shallow runs and slack water before wading in. Trout holding in the shallower sections can be skittish, so if you find that your nymph rig spooks them, either drop some weight and switch to a yarn indicator or switch to a dry dropper setup. Midge larva/pupa and baetis patterns are king right now but with elevated flows, larger meals such as scuds, worms, leeches and stonefly larva are churning in the river. Leading with one of those larger patterns and trailing small (#22 – 26) midge/baetis patterns is a good tactic at the moment. If trout don’t respond, ditch your large lead pattern and stick with a double midge or baetis/midge setup. Midge larva patterns (Miracle Midge, Bling Midge, Mercury Midge) will receive the most attention during the morning and in the afternoon, trout will key in on pupa and emerger patterns (WD-40, Top Secret, Mercury Black Beauty, RS2).

    • Ideal Days to Fish: 1/18, 1/22 & 1/24

  • Suggested Flies: 

    • Sub-surface: RS2 (#20-22), Barr's Emerger (#20-22), Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Mercury Pheasant Tail (#20-22), WD 40 (#20-22), Mercury Midge (#22-24), Black Beauty (#22-24), Miracle Midge (#22-24), Bling Midge (#22-24), Zebra Midge (#20-24), Blood Midge (#20-22), Disco Midge (#20-22), Top Secret Midge (#22-24),  Jujubee Midge (#22-24), Guides Choice Hares Ear (#16-18), Buckskin Caddis (#18), Rainbow Warrior (#18-20), red Copper John (#18-20), Mini Leech and San Juan Worm.

    • Surface: Parachute Adams (#24), Griffiths Gnat (#22 - 24).
      • Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All ​to package a dozen flies that are hot in Eleven Mile Canyon right now - Click here for hand selected flies

Detailed River Info:

Background: 

The Eleven Mile section of the South Platte is a gorgeous stretch of river that offers anglers amazing fishing year round. The canyon experiences some great hatches throughout the warmer months and because it's a tail water, it can be fished in the winter. As you explore this river you'll notice that it has blended characteristics of the Cheesman Canyon and Deckers sections of the South Platte. While the best fishing usually occurs within two miles of the dam, the road that parallels the river makes it easy to jump in and out of the car to explore different sections. Eleven Mile has quickly become one of our favorite places to fish.

Angling: 

The Eleven Mile stretch of the South Platte offers a wide range of features that caters to any style of fly fisherman. The canyon sections of the river provide deep pools for the streamer junkie and the nymph fisherman who likes to sling around a lot of weight and drift flies down deep to try and catch a picture worthy fish. Other sections of the river remind us more of Deckers with medium depth riffles, runs and tail outs. Considering this section is a tail water, the standard South Platte flies are the way to go. Classic examples are size 18 - 24 RS2's, Top Secrets and Zebra Midges. Other than the beauty, our favorite part about this river is it's ease of access and the ability to fish 2-4 sections in a day. Our favorite thing to do is drive up close to the damn, fish a quarter mile section, jump back in the car and move down river until we find another quality section to fish. No need to haul around a big back pack either! With the road so close to the river, you can access your lunch and river beers with ease! 

  

River Access:

The Eleven Mile  section of the South Platte river is easy accessed from County Road 96. County Road 96 is a dirt road that starts in Lake George and runs along the river up to the dam. The road consists of pull-offs and designated parking lots making it easy to jump in and out of the car to fish different sections of the river. One thing to be aware of is the $7 entrance fee that needs to be paid to enter the canyon. Plan on bringing a check or cash to pay this fee.  

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