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It's a Colorado fisherman's paradise on the South Platte River right now, and the full Cheesman Reservoir is why

Fishing is great right now on South Platte River in Colorado
Fishing is great right now on South Platte River in Colorado 02:04

It's a fisherman's paradise on the South Platte River right now. 


"The high flows offer a lot of great fishing," said angling guide Josh Diller. "A lot of stuff getting washed downriver. Worms, leeches, scuds, we're seeing a lot of that stuff downriver and the fishing has been productive."

Diller is a guide for Blue Quill Angler out of Evergreen and says that this year is shaping up to be a good one.

"There's lots of fish per square mile," he explained. "No lack in fish, that's for sure."

With so much brown and rainbow trout on the river, naturally plenty of recreators want to hit the waters. But safety is paramount and at the top of every guide's mind at this point in the year.

"It's a bit of a floodplain out there so that's a bit of a safety issue, but fishing very productively," said Diller.


After some lean water years, Cheesman Reservoir is spilling over as the river hits peak flows in June. 

"We did have a dry spell from 2020, 2021, 2022," said Nathan Elder of Denver Water.

In most years, Cheesman fills up or spills over. In 2023, the reservoir was full thanks to a massive snowpack. Because of last year's success, Cheesman was able to fill and spill after a below-average snowpack this past winter. With flows at their highest, some recreation on some areas of the river has been closed.

"Wading staffs are greatly advised right now," Diller said. "Getting a little feel before you take that step so you know what you're walking into."


"First week of June through maybe the third week is when we see peak flows on rivers," said Elder. "This is the highest flows. Years like this is where it can be unsafe."

But as the flows start to taper off heading into July, recreators will be able to take advantage of a filled up Cheesman Reservoir heading into the summer months.

"As we get into Fourth of July weekend, flows drop off we start to see a safer flow for recreators on all of the rivers," Elder said.

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