Posts Tagged ‘South Platte river’

Wildcat Canyon

Wild Cat Canyon is the rugged section of river upstream from Cheesman Reservoir. Located in the center of the Hayman fire area, this section of river was closed to access for several years after the fire. There is now a trail, actually an old 4 wheel drive road down Corral Creek that is open for hikers to access the middle of the canyon. On October 31, Mike, Alex, and I decided to hike down the trail into the Canyon and check out the fishing that has basically been untouched since the Hayman fire. Alex had been in a couple of times this past summer and knew how to get to the trailhead that takes you down into the Canyon. Much of the 3 mile trail passes right through the Hayman burn area and is a spectacle of burned trees that has a stark beauty of  it’s own. The hike down takes about an hour or so to get to the stream where you can go up or down depending o

Haman Burn Area from Corral Creek Trail

n how you are feeling.  Going upstream is recommended as the lower section of the river is a nasty canyon where if you fell and hurt yourself, you will more than likely be there a while. Hiking back out of the canyon after a long day of fishing is a different story.  Brutal from the start and  uphill almost the entire 3 miles out.

The river is very similar to Cheesman Canyon. It has a variety of canyons, huge boulders, rifles, pocket water and pools. There are also log  jams and areas where severe erosion has, and is still taking place. Shifting red granite gravel has washed in since the fire  and covers much of the bottom.  

Log jams and severe erosion are effects of the Haman Fire


We found the fishing to be average. It appeared that the Browns had already spawned and retreated to the deeper holes and pocket water areas.  A few redds were visible at the tailouts of longer runs. Most of the fish we caught were Browns and several 8-10″ Rainbows. Several larger fish were spotted among log jams and deeper boulder areas.

Impressive rock and the raw power of nature are evident at every turn


Although the fishing was a little dissapointing, I am sure there are times when it is exceptional. The area is stunningly rugged, remote and filled with an anticipation to see what is around the next bend. I haven’t fished many places in Colorado where there was not even a footprint but this is definitely one of them. I hope to return, but will plan to camp over night. Hiking in and out the same day is a little much, with more hiking than fishing!


I have fished Cheesman Canyon many times and left with a sense of frustration as I could not figure out why those fish are so picky. At the recommendation of Jim Cannon, I hired Pat Dorsey to take me into the Canyon and show me the intricacies of fishing this technical tailwater.

This was one of the best days of fishing I have ever had. We hooked up at least 25 fish and landed “several beauties”. I am amazed at the knowledge Pat posseses about the Canyon and his ability to instruct a novice angler through the small details required to be successful in Chessman.

Thanks again for a wonderful day!!!

Boxwood Gulch on the north fork of the South Platte River is fishing great!  The flows are at about 250 CFS and we landed a BEAUTIFUL 8-9 pound rainbow the other day.  Pink worms, rs2, and prince nymphs.  Try fishing a beetle or adams on the surface for some fun dry fly fishing in the afternoon.

Blue Quill Guide Adam Ronscavage