There are some places that are so beautiful, that it is hard to do them justice with words. The South Platte River through Cheesman Canyon is one of those places. A place that Colorado anglers hold dear in their hearts, where truly wild and beautiful trout roam free and thrive. There are very few places where we fish where the river is not enhanced by the helping hand of man, that it is so great that there are still rivers out there that are still healthy enough to be self sustaining.
Walking the narrow trail above the edge of Cheesman Canyon with the boulder spewed river below glistening in the morning light is my favorite sight in fly fishing. The 30 minute walk into the canyon to hike Gill Trail all day long is worth it enough, even if the fish are not willing to eat our flies. I understand that we all enjoy bringing fish to the net, but if you plan on fishing Cheesman regularly, you must start to appreciate this amazing river for what it truly is.
This river is not easy. It is a graduate course in fly fishing, where anglers can come to test their skills. One day you can have an amazing day on the river, catching some very nice trout in the various deep pools, while the next day, you can find it nearly impossible to even see a fish, let alone fool any. Fly selection has to be perfect, matching the size and color the naturals that are in the river. But the most important skill a fisherman has to have to be successful in Cheesman is the ability to control your drifts. With the myriad of different currents and depths, anglers must come prepared to adjust weight and indicator depth, while working to have a perfect drift on every cast. It's the difficulty in achieving this that makes the canyon so tough to fish, but the skills it teaches you help an angler to be successful on any river that they fish.