Sometimes you just need a day of solitude on the river to get your mind back in the right place, and yesterday was exactly what I needed to relax and unwind. I've been working some super long hours at work the last couple months with no end in sight, but that didn't stop me from starting my Memorial Day weekend early, hiking into upper Cheesman Canyon to catch some pretty fish. Arrived at the trail head early, and enjoyed the long walk up and finally down into the Canyon. One of the most breathtaking views in Colorado is when you finally round the ridge and see the Dam and Reservoir together. To see the effects of the Hayman Fire in the background, with nothing but barren Earth, makes you appreciate the destructive forces of nature. Luckily, the waters and surrounding canyon walls were spared for the most part, leaving us the Wild Trout Waters of Cheesman Canyon as an oasis in the middle of the fires path.
The flows on the South Platte below Cheesman have been a roller coaster over the last few weeks, going up and down like a yo-yo. Flows as high as 400 CFS have been seen in Deckers, but the flows were down around 120 CFS yesterday, allowing for some easier access to fish the pools in the Upper Canyon. The higher flows of the last few weeks have dislodged more worms and scuds into the water, and the Canyons trout have really taken notice. I fished multiple worm patterns for the majority of the day, with the classic chenille San Juan Worm taking the most and biggest fish. There was a midge hatch in the morning that got the fishes attention for about an hour, and a fairly strong baetis hatch in the early afternoon that switched the fish over to BWO nymphs for a while, but the worms were the ticket for explosive nymphing throughout the day. I have caught trout on many rivers throughout the West, and I have to say that the trout in Cheesman are the prettiest fish there are. Wild rainbows with dark red stripes down their sides, and Leopard spotted fish make the tough hike in worth all the effort.
After the 1-hour hike up Heart Attack Hill and back down to the trail head, I enjoyed a leisurely drive down the South Fork to the confluence with the North Fork. We have just made a much needed upgrade to the camera, but I was too scared to take into the Canyon without a water proof case, so I used the drive to test out how the camera took some pictures, and I am very happy with how they came out. Sure, the pictures are going to be great when the scenery you're taking pictures of is so beautiful.