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Trouts Journal

South Platte River Report: 12/15

Ivan Orsic / Dec 15, 2015

I spent this past Saturday and Sunday on the S. Platte near Deckers. The weather was drastically different both days, yet the fishing remained pretty good all things considered. Saturday was cloudy, stayed below 32 degrees, and snowed from start to finish. Sunday was bluebird with temps in the teens that gradually warmed to around 40 by late afternoon.

Flows were right aound 140cfs, which is just slightly above normal for this time of year. As one would expect, the fish are in winter mode right now with the majority of them being concentrated in the slower/deeper water. While spending time dredging these areas will certainly produce fish, there are still plenty of fish to be found in the shallower areas near these deep zones. These shallow fish are offering up some fantastic sight fishing opportunities and are always going to be the easiest ones to catch. Many of the sight-fished fish this weekend ate on the very first cast we made at them. The biggest key to making this game plan work is A) Covering ground -it would be interesting to know how many miles I walked this weekend looking for shallow fish. B) Keeping the boots as dry as possible -Walking through the water looking for fish will always be an uphill battle. At all costs, do your prospecting with your wading boots on dry ground. You'll be amazed at how close you can get to the fish. C) Proper rigging- Keep your nymph rigs tight. 10-12" should be your spacing between split shot/first fly/second fly/third fly D) Presentation- Once you spot a fish shallow that you're going to cast to, land your indicator only a couple feet above it's head. It'll seem weird at first if you're used to casting 15 feet upstream (of a spotted fish) and waiting for your flies to drift down, but I can assure you that if the fish is content enough to let you stand withing a few feet of it, most of the time it's not going to care if you cast right on top of it's head. Always try to get your flies to land directly upstream of your indicator. It doesn't matter if your indicator is floating directly over the top of the fish if your flies landed 6 feet outside of it. Getting everything to land in-line will allow you to best know exactly where your flies are in the water.

Fly Recommendations: Per usual at Deckers, the fish really didn't seem to care about fly patterns this weekend. A proper drift is always going to trump the exact 'right' fly. We caught fish on Pat's Rubberlegs, Jujubaetis, Pure Midges, Grey Scuds, Mayer's Mini-Leeches, Slumpbusters, Pheasant Tails, San Juan Worms, Foam Back Emergers (chocolate thunders) and Black Beauties.

Leader: 7.5ft 4x Rio and Orvis Nylon

Tippet: 5x Rio and Trouthunter Flourocarbon

Where We Fished: Literally everywhere from the first bridge down from Deckers to Nighthawk Hill. Remember, there are good fish numbers throughout the entire Deckers stretch, clear down to the confluence with the North Fork. The crowds weren't bad this weekend but even if they were, being willing to walk 5 or 10 minutes from a parking lot is usually all it takes to find some water to call your own. Focusing on the shallower 1-4 foot shelves/drop offs/ledges where the water is moving at 'walking speed' is always the name of the game this time of year. Shallow riffles moving at a slow to medium pace (again with deep water relatively near by) also produced some fish during the warmer parts of the day. Anything with sunlight on it is also something I'm looking for this time of year, plus it sure makes the fish easier to spot!

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