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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone fished the Platte between Lake George and Cheesman Lake?

I drove 112 (just past Lake George) last year thinking I could find some river access. While I did find some access, I was surprised to run into private property and couldn't drive any further before long.

There appears to be some other back roads to access the Platte near Crystal Creek and up (i.e. 205, Turkey Creek Rd...) -- is it worth my time exploring?

I heard somewhere the fishing isn't as good in that stretch, but I'm apprehensive to believe *everything* I hear.

Thanks
 

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b.reelz,

If you drive west on U.S. 24 out of Lake George for about one mile you come to a paved county highway that only turns right. This right turn is after you drive over the S. Platte. When you hit the private property, you were in Happy Meadows.

Turn right on this road, the Tarryall Reservoir Road, then drive about one more mile to another right turn only (you can't miss it) into Happy Meadows. The Platte meanders through Happy Meadows for about .5 mile. Happy Meadows is heavily stocked but suffers from high water during runoff and there is camping. At the end of the public access in Happy Canyon is a gate. Beyond this gate is a private fishing/camping type club that looks very expensive. I don't recall the name of this area. The private area does not go back very far down the Platte. I don't think this private area has a fish hatchery like the Wigwam club so I believe they pay for stocked fish.

Last summer, someone told me to park near the gate and walk up over the hill to the left of the gate staying just outside private property then head down to the Platte. I've not done this so I can't tell you about the fishing or how far it is. You can determine private/public land by searching the CPW interactive map site.

Until the Hayman fire, there were two main ways to access the river farther downstream from the private club but both have been closed because of the fire. One access is on the east side of the river off Teller County road 67 at a point between Deckers and Woodland Park where the West Creek community is located. More on this in a minute.

The other access point is from Pike National Forest Service road 211. If you drive to the parking area for access to the Gil Trail into lower Cheesman Canyon and instead of stopping there, turn right, a short distance beyond the parking area onto FS road 211. Road 211 is access to the upper parking area for upper Cheesman Canyon. Just before the parking area, road 211 heads west. Go west, young man. After about 20 miles, this road intersects with the Tarryall Road but you don't go this far for the other closed access point. You can drive this road in a Volkswagon.

Drive about 7 miles on 211, past Goose Creek Campground until you see a dirt road that turns to the east, maybe southeast. You can drive this road for about 50 or so yards until you come to a gate. This is as far as you can go. Before the fire, you could drive to the river and across it. Wildcat Canyon is the steep canyon you see. Because the canyon is steep and the river is a long distance, you cannot see the river from road 211 but sometimes you can hear it. If you want to fish the river, I suggest walking the closed road from 211. I think we figured it is about three miles to the river. The walk down would be ok but the walk out would be a bear but the road looks good.

I wouldn't try walking to the river from the West Creek side because you must drive a zillion miles to find the closed gate. There are so many roads on this side, it's easy to not find where you want to go.

Before the fire, I did not drive to the river off 211. To be honest with you, I didn't know, until last summer, this is an access point. About 35 years ago, a friend and I did find the access point to the river from West Creek but we could only drive to about .5 miles from the river. We hiked to the river and caught a few 8 or 9 inch rainbows.

Many years ago, one of the outdoor writers, probably Charlie Myers, with one of the local newspapers, did an article about Wildcat Canyon. Because of the information in the article, I decided not to fish Wildcat again. This is because the trout biomass, according to the Division of Wildlife, was very low in the 35-ish pounds of fish per surface acre. In those days, upper Cheesman had around 500 pounds and the Deckers area had about 350 pounds, just to put things into perspective. Whirling disease and the Hayman fire changed the biomass at Deckers and below to double digits. It just ain't the same, I'm sorry to say.

If the bio mass for Wildcat is similar to what it was and for my money, I wouldn't waste my time walking the three miles to the river off 211. I guess if you have a horse, that would get you easy access to Wildcat.

I'm sure you are familiar with some of these directions I've given.

Good luck.
 

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Wildcat biomass isn't that great, though in the summer you can catch a decent amount of small browns.

Sometimes it's about the journey and not the destination though.
 

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A few years ago I was part of a TU group that did some conservation work at Happy Meadows. As a reward, we were allowed to drive through the private property to the upper end of Wildcat Canyon. I think it was late summer, so the water was low. I fished the many little pockets to small browns. The area was quiet and very peaceful. We did encounter some hikers that hiked the trail that goes around the private property. They said it was a short, easy hike. Just my account of a nice day there. I hope it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Pogybait -- I really appreciate you taking the time to post that detailed response; thanks much. I must've ended up at private club you mentioned.

@jshin + @pistoldog -- Thanks guys; helpful info.

Overall it sounds like smaller fish (generally speaking) in that stretch. Perhaps fun to explore, but maybe not something for when I'm seeking decent sized fish (pretty much always :) )

Thanks again guys!
 

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b.reelz,

The West Creek entrance is in Douglas county, not Teller.

Last summer, my flyfishing/shooting/hunting/single malt drinking pal and I searched for the road to the river off the 211 road. We found it and drove the 50 or so yards to the gate, which was open, which was a surprise. We did not drive through the gate. During our research, we used the CPW hunting interactive map, which I believe is a modified Google Earth but I'm not sure, to locate the road off of 211. We zoomed in to where this road crosses the Platte. We saw a vehicle or two at the river, which is the reason we thought we could drive down the canyon. We determined those vehicles were there after the road closure. Don't ask me how but we did.

The vehicles must have driven around the gate or the gate was open and they decided to disobey the FS rule of not driving on that road. Those vehicles could have been government vehicles but I don't think so.

If you use the CPW map site, you want to look for game units 501 and 51.

If you go, post your results.
 

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The private area above Happy Meadows is called Sportsman's Paradise. There is a trail above the west fence way up the hill to go around Sportsman's. I used to live close to the base of Crystal Peak when I was in high school and would hike from the house to the river above Sportsman's from the east side. Back then (about 33 years ago) I would take the back pack with a sleeping bag, some corn meal and oil, a cast iron frying pan , a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. The peanut butter and bread was insurance against the possibility of the fish not biting. Never once ate a peanut butter sandwich on these outings. I would catch and release until I was hungry, keep two fish (10 to 13 inch browns) and eat 'em. Breakfast, lunch, and supper every day I was there. I never saw any one else back there, but always was able to pack a full load of other people's garbage back out. I made the mistake one time(I was 17) of thinking it wouldn't hurt any one if I just walked back out down the middle of the road in Sportsman's to go back home. Made it about 20 feet before some old fart came screeching up in his Scout to demand that I climb up that steep assed hill on the west side and go around their private road. I never quite made it to Cheesman on these outings, but I covered a lot of that area. Big boulders and some pretty nice holes up there. I would occasionally spot fish in there upwards of 20 inches, but could never get them to bite on the lures I chucked at them in my pre-fly fishing days.
 

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b.reelz, now you have a better fishing report from Yearnin.

From Sportsman's Paradise, there is a road that follows the river on the west side all the way to the road that connects with FS 211.
 

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The Platte below Sportsman isn't worth the hike IMO.. You can get to where the Tarryall meets the Platte from up top on fs road and hike down. Had good fishin in the Tarryall and the confluence of the Platte.

Really Happy Meadows is a fun time. Some of the bigger fish stocked in Sportsman enter HM and that 1/4 mile above the fence has some good bows and browns. DOW stocks this section heavy. As it warms good BWO and trico hatches..
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@Pogybait -- Thanks for the additional info. I'll def post a report if I fish this area. I'm heading up for the day tomorrow, but I'll probably stay in the canyon.

@Yearnin-fer Naknek -- Thank you. Man, those "good ole days" sound amazing. They remind me of some of my memories growing up in MI :)

@vinnie -- Thanks for chiming in.. I'm thinking the stocked section sounds like a good "family trip". My 6 yr old has about a 10m attention span when fishing, so if he can get a follow-up or hit from some of those smaller stocked fish he'll remain attentive... for a few min :)
 
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