Dream Stream flows have held steady for nearly one week and that has allowed trout to settle in, making them a bit easier to locate. Slush runoff was a challenge earlier in the week and may occur again today and over the weekend. If you’re looking to play it safe and avoid navigating slush, hit the river after 11 am when the water clears up. Water clarity has been hit or miss, but if you slow down and take time to observe the water, sight fishing is still possible. Trout are spending most of their time holding deep in their winter lies. Think deep pools, soft runs, seams along shelves and undercut banks. Nymphing with orange scuds, Pheasant Tails, red Copper Johns, Perdigons and small midge and baetis patterns has been the most productive tactic. If trout are turned off by larger patterns, you can’t go wrong with a double midge or midge/baetis setup. When these trout are picky, smaller is usually better. Aside from nymphing, streamers have been moderately productive this week. Slow strips and long pauses will encourage more takes as trout have less energy in colder water.
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The Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area, A.K.A “Dream Stream” is a tailwater section of the South Platte River situated between Spinney Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir. The Dream Stream is highly sought after due to its trophy worthy trout, serene views and easy walk-in access. While the cold winter months deter a number of anglers, this stretch receives heavy angling pressure year-round. Fishing during the week or hitting the river early is typically the best way to find serenity. The Dream Stream is known for its healthy population of rainbow and brown trout. During the fall, kokanee salmon run out of Eleven Mile Reservoir and spawn in the Dream Stream, which is unique to only a few rivers in Colorado. During the spring and fall, lake run rainbow and brown trout all make their way into the system and provide anglers the opportunity to land 20 – 30 inch trout.
The Dream Stream is a great river to land your personal best trout, but be prepared to work for it. Similar to other tailwaters in Colorado, these trout are incredibly smart and aren’t fooled easily. Clean drifts and presentations are critical and if you’re fishing when flows are low, stealthy fishing becomes much more important. During the warm months, nymph rigs, dry flies, hopper droppers and streamers are all fair game. Slapping hoppers against undercut grass banks is one of our favorite tactics during the summer and early fall. Streamers are a great way to attract large and aggressive trout. During the winter, micro nymph rigs and streamers are the best approach.
There are a number of ways to get to the Dream Stream. However, If you are coming from Denver, the most efficient route will be to take Highway 285 through Fairplay and continue onto CO-9 South. Once you have reached Hartsel go east (left) on US-24 E then right on San Juan St., left on CO-RD 59 and finally, right onto Thirty nine mile Road. If you continue on to CO-9 (foregoing US-24 E), there are several parking lots that are visible from the road to the left.