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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a Michigan resident and avid fly fisher. A friend who lives in the Denver area and wants to get started in fly fishing has invited me out to visit him this year. The plan is to do either day trips to streams closer to Denver or a few multi-day trips to locations farther away. I thought I'd ask for some advice on where and when to spend our time. I can travel anytime from June through August for this trip.

I have a wide variety of rods and am comfortable with nymphs, drys and streamers. So I think we'd be all set for tackle.

Can you please suggest:

- a few locations to consider near (within a couple hours) Denver
- a few locations to consider for a 2-3 day trip from Denver
- in general, what month of the three I mentioned would be best?

If I could get a few ideas from you guys about where and when I could follow up with local fly shops for info on rods weights, fly patterns, etc.

Thanks for you help.
 

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Use pontoons or float tubes and hit Antero , Spinney, or 11-mile reservoirs. Large strong rainbows, cut bows, and pike if you wish. The tailwaters are to see and be seen, if you want to catch large aggressive fish go to these lakes. Any of those months are fine.
Im sure someone with the proper flailing knowledge will chime in-
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Slayer. My friend had suggested a day on Spinney, so that agrees with what you are saying. I'm more of a wade fisherman so want to include some river time as well.
 

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If you stay in the South Park area for a few days you could fish Spinney, Dream Stream, Tomahawk area and then even 11 Mile Canyon. All are within 15-35 minutes of each other and offer a different setting.
 

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Not a fly fisherman here, but the river between Spinney and 11 Mile is known as the "Dream stream". Gold medal water, fly & lure only, C&R only, and VERY busy... but... it holds some brutes. Not sure if wading is allowed or not.
 

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For tailwaters consider the Frying Pan near Basalt or the South Platte near Deckers. They are considerably different from Michigan streams, a Hexagenia sized fly will scare the poop out of a Colorado trout. Our bugs are generally small and black. 18-24 nymphs, RS2, Buckskins, Copper johns,ect. 4 weight is perfect. Frying Pan will be crowded regardless, the South Platte, do your homework, you can hang with the Man Bunned, Subaru driving, PBR drinking hipsters or burn some shoe leather and escape the crowds. Fishing is definitely challenging, but probably the experience you are looking for.

For a non-tail water consider the Tarryall River in South Park, attractor dry fly patterns will produce some near average sized trout, but it can be a fun day with nice scenery in your background.

Advice on Spinney is spot on, also consider Antero in South Park. The 4 weight will do, but a 6 weight can cut thru the wind.

Look at the The Blue Quill Angler for a good local fly shop.

https://bluequillangler.com/rivers/
 

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For a 2-3 day excursion from Denver I'd head to the Gunnison Valley. I'd hit the Taylor, Upper Gunnison, and the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River on my 3 days. Early July would likely be the best fishing, but either July or August would work great. The Gunnison Basin is easily the best fishery in the state and you'd likely become a fan for life.
 

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Welcome to the forum, fellow Michigander here! You have hit the jackpot of feedback. I'd say the Dream Stream is a must.

I really the like Rio Grande headwaters down by Creede. All kinds of great fishing, but that is probably a longer haul than what you are looking for


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the suggestions folks!. Looks like we have a deposit on a Spinney trip and will spend the balance of our time in the South Park area wade fishing the stretches mentioned above. Thanks for the fly size information. It will be a challenge making the switch from the larger mayfly patterns we use out in MI but I'm up for it. I think I'll bring a 4 and a 5 weight. Once we pin down the specific time frame I may come back for some more info. Thanks again.
 

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Sermak, August. Most of the runoff from snow melt is over making some rivers more fishable. And if you are in South Park fishing the dream stream, head a few miles east (maybe ten or so miles) on U.S. 24 to Elevenmile Canyon. The South Platte River runs through the canyon. The upper one third is special regulations while the lower section is for whatever works, short of breaking the law.

Another river close to Denver is the South Platte at Deckers. This one will run high but sometimes is low enough in August to wade comfortably. Upstream from Deckers, about four miles is the parking area for the Gil Trail. This trail takes you to the lowest point on the Platte in Cheesman Canyon. If you go, remember the trout in the canyon are very smart. When Einstein died, they freeze dried his brain, ground it in with some fish food then fed it to the rainbows in the canyon - they are very smart fish. Oh, if going to Cheesman, take a rock to stand on. All the others will be occupied.

Your toilet is an asset.
 

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If your buddy is a beginner, SKIP the Dream Stream, that will just be a waste of a day (unless you just want to brag that you fished there...)! Go to the lakes around there instead or drive over and fish on the Arkansas river. If you want multi-day trips, go to the Rio Grande, the Colorado, Roaring Fork, or the Gunnison. There are plenty of small creeks around as well if you just want to teach him some casting and catch fish. On a given day the Dream Stream is probably the most overrated piece of water in South Park...but it's nice to have because it draws the crowds and leaves the good stuff to people who know better.
 

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For a 2-3 day excursion from Denver I'd head to the Gunnison Valley. I'd hit the Taylor, Upper Gunnison, and the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River on my 3 days. Early July would likely be the best fishing, but either July or August would work great. The Gunnison Basin is easily the best fishery in the state and you'd likely become a fan for life.
Until the hipsters invade and its going to go to **** just like my beloved Colorado River.
 

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Luke The Dog,

You need help with expressing your feelings.

I could not have said it better about the Dream Stream. Your assessment of this section of the Platte is spot on. I agree with you one hundred percent.

It wasn't until Pat what's his name from the Blue Quill in Evergreen who began calling it the Dream Stream, that it has been known by that name. For me, since 1978, it has always been the Platte below Spinney. I began fishing it in 1978. I can probably count the number of times I have been there on both hands.
 

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Pretty much all rivers will be fishing well around the middle to end of July and that is when some of the best dry fly action can occur (Caddis, Green Drakes, PMDs). If you will be up in South Park, hit the middle fork of the South Platte above Hartsel. Plenty of access and plenty of water with lots of fish that aren't picky. It would also be worth your time to drive a little further west of South Park (Spinney, 11-mile, and Antero) to Buena Vista and hit the Arkansas River. Again, lots of public access and willing fish. The Rio Grande in southern CO by the town of South Fork is a great fishery with amazing hatches and a lot of fish, and a lot of public access. Within 100 miles of Denver there are so many rivers with good fishing, you just have to pick where you want to go and give it a shot. Closer to Denver, I'd recommend the upper reaches of the Big Thompson and Poudre Rivers, and even Clear Creek through clear creek canyon. I'd stay away from the Dream Stream (between Spinney and 11-mile) or any of the Tailwaters (Fryingpan, Blue, Taylor) if you want to just catch fish without being ******* to elbow with other anglers and picky fish that get fished to every day of the year. My two cents. Have fun!
 

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Until the hipsters invade and its going to go to **** just like my beloved Colorado River.
I'm hoping that the Gunnison area is going to be able to avoid, or at least delay, the hipster invasion. For one, no one wants to live here because it is rumored to be "way too cold." The demographics of the town of Gunnison haven't changed much in the two decades I've lived here. There were about 5,500 folks here in 1997, and there are about 5,500 folks here now. Secondly, there is nowhere for the average guy to live, even if he wants to move here. The cost of housing has risen incredibly in just the last couple of months. Lastly, most fly fishermen have no idea how good the Gunnison Valley is as a fishery, so no one seems in too much of a hurry to get over here anyway.
 

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I'm hoping that the Gunnison area is going to be able to avoid, or at least delay, the hipster invasion. For one, no one wants to live here because it is rumored to be "way too cold." The demographics of the town of Gunnison haven't changed much in the two decades I've lived here. There were about 5,500 folks here in 1997, and there are about 5,500 folks here now. Secondly, there is nowhere for the average guy to live, even if he wants to move here. The cost of housing has risen incredibly in just the last couple of months. Lastly, most fly fishermen have no idea how good the Gunnison Valley is as a fishery, so no one seems in too much of a hurry to get over here anyway.
Now they will-:D
 

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Just send him some money and he will tell you all about it! :biggrin1: >:D:biggrin1:


err, I mean sell you his book...
 

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I think you guys are talking about the yups when you say hipsters. Am I correct? If this is so, we can blame the movie, "A Yuppie Runs Through It". My wife dragged me kicking and screaming to see this boring waste of a money (the popcorn was good) movie. She did it under the pretense it is about fly fishing. She just wanted to see Brad Pitt and all I could see is some bonehead hotshot fly caster doing the double haul in a river where dapping would be effective. I know, they did it for effect.

Luke the dog, now you can tell me I need help expressing myself.

WC Fields once said, "It's morally wrong to let a sucker keep his money".

He also said, "If I could live my life over, I'd live over a saloon".

I don't know if these have anything to do with fishing but they are darn clever.
 
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