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River: South Platte - Downtown Denver

Struggling in Winter on the Denver South Platte

Post By: JackBarto      Posted: 1/12/2023 10:16:56 AM     Points: 5    
I've been trying my hand at fly fishing the urban s platte for anything that will bite really. I've been struggling since the weather got cold. In the past i've sight fished carp, but lately I haven't been able to find them so I've been fishing junk nymph rigs going for trout and suckers. I've been struggling, and I'm looking for any guidance on catching fish in the winter here in Denver on the S Platte.
 Reply by: Matt      Posted: 1/12/2023 2:26:32 PM     Points: 95619
Last time I was there flows were pretty low, and the main pod of carp we found was unbelievably spooky, as if they watch every single person that walks by. I have no idea how this group survives, I can't imagine them eating anything ever! But we did find success the further upstream we got with trout. nymphing standard bugs - mainly stoneflies (which are a good winter fly) and standard nymphs. Gettting them deep. They're fairly opportunistic. My only advice is to keep at it. Flows look better now. Gotta walk a lot sometimes to find the carp - I don't get to fish it much so when I do I end up walking more than fishing. If you find one carp you'll find more.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: 1/12/2023 6:27:09 PM     Points: 61
I have to tell myself all the time that carp can filter feed which is a unique characteristic. Only other plankton eaters that I can think of are kokes. But my guess is those fish just find the current of plankton coming down and expend as little energy as possible throughout the winter months. If you catch one in the river this time of year to me youíre a master angler. Or lucky. The south platte through the city has volatile flows. Havenít paid much attention this winter but throughout the summer months they vary the flow day by day. I mostly notice the fluctuation on the chatfield level which can be different from day to day. My guess is they let water out of the dam recently which is why the pressure ridge caved when I was at chatfield on Sunday. The varied flows make sure fish are always moving and make it really hard to stay on top of them. Itís an underutilized fishery but thatís because the needs of people downstream are constantly changing. You have to adapt with the fish. Easier said than done.
 Reply by: mx491      Posted: 1/13/2023 7:02:43 AM     Points: 136
Funny you say that, Trouts fly fishing just posted a cool video with Tom Rosenbauer about this exact thing. Check it out

[log in for link]
 Reply by: Troutbisquits      Posted: 1/13/2023 8:08:16 AM     Points: 2507
That trouts video is pretty cool! However that was filmed in October. If you're catching carp on a fly rod in January... I need to learn some of your secrets lol. I can't seem to catch them past November. Late March through October are my months that I'm targeting carp. I've only fished the DSP a few times and have only caught carp and bass, but that's a pretty nice rainbow you got there Matt!
 Reply by: xavierk31      Posted: 1/13/2023 8:43:36 AM     Points: 6086
My advice would be to try a different stretch of the Platte in the winter if you're going for trout. From everything I've read and been told, Carp are the most predominant species in that stretch, followed by smallies, and then followed by trout. Not to say that trout can't be caught, especially since there IS open water all winter long, but it's a tough stretch for trout. Here in Denver, Waterton Canyon is an option. Definitely need to walk a little more, but it's much cleaner water for the trout.
 Reply by: JackBarto      Posted: 1/13/2023 12:28:14 PM     Points: 5
I'll give a shot upstream, and thanks for the suggestion on the stone flies (I haven't been throwing those). That video from trouts was great, super rad to see Tom of all people fishing Denver proper
 Reply by: JackBarto      Posted: 1/16/2023 9:48:17 AM     Points: 5
Thanks everyone for the advice. It paid off yesterday, got a big rainbow to get the skunk of winter off. I appreciate it
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