To paraphrase the wise words of America's favorite fictional anchorman, Ron Burgundy, fishing the Eleven Mile Canyon is a pretty big deal!
After some intense recon and analysis, FlyCast has added the Eleven Mile Canyon (link to forecast) section of the South Platte River to its repertoire of Colorado fly fishing reports and forecasts. We are incredibly excited to make our latest forecasts public as we’ve thoroughly enjoyed fishing this unique tail water. Our intent, as always, is to provide up-to-date fly fishing information for a growing list of rivers in Colorado and we’re always looking for your suggestions. If you have a favorite river that we are not currently reporting on please shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add your suggestion to the queue. For the purposes of this blog we will provide some background information on Eleven Mile Canyon as well as a few helpful fishing tips that have garnered success on this often tricky river.
South Platte Eleven Mile Canyon: Background
For starters, the Eleven Mile section of the South Platte is a gorgeous stretch of river that offers anglers amazing fishing year round. Because this section is a tail water, the river rarely freezes over and provides a variety and plethora of trout nutrients year round. The canyon experiences some great hatches throughout the warmer months and is known for its incredible dry fly fishing. That isn't to say we haven't encountered some killer hatches during the winter months! Always be on the look out. 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 as well as to avoid the crowds. Eleven Mile Canyon has quickly become one of our favorite places to fish and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
South Platte Eleven Mile Canyon: Angling
The Eleven Mile stretch of the South Platte offers a wide range of features that cater 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 copious amounts of weight in order reach those trophy worthy trout gorging themselves on the river bed. Winter can be tricky, however, so be patient and be sure to try a variety of flies before moving on to the next hole. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been skunked for hours after having tried countless fly varieties to later find that one hot fly that puts numerous fish in the net. To make things more difficult, that same fly often doesn’t work the next day. My point is to be meticulous with your fly selection and narrow it down before giving up on that honey hole. Start your efforts with a search pattern like a Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail nymph. If you are having some luck with these flies, but haven’t found that killer fly, try to narrow it down with something more imitative or impressionistic. If you are not having any luck at all, tie on at least one attractor pattern, like a Rainbow Warrior and see if you can get the fish moving. At the end of the day though, the Eleven Mile Canyon section of the South Platte fishes very similar to Cheesman Canyon and Deckers in that you need very small flies (sizes #20-26) and the appropriate amount of weight. Big trout tend to hang out in the deepest runs, pools and tail outs where the water is slow and flies are abundant.