What do you get when you combine the waters of a famous Colorado fishing river with a tailwater and 3.8 miles of water above another reservoir? You get a great place for fish to live and breed. This river also turns out to be a Gold Medal water with the nickname of the "Dream Stream". Where are we describing? It's the section of the South Platte River between Spinney and Elevenmile Reservoirs in South Park, also known as Spinney Mountain State Wildlife Area. In 2010, the State Wildlife Area (SWA) was renamed Charlie Meyers SWA, in honor of the well-known deceased Denver Post Outdoor writer.
This portion of the South Platte starts below Spinney Reservoir and meanders through grasslands for about 3.8 miles before entering Elevenmile Reservoir. The bad news - it can be crowded, cold and windy. The good news - there are some large trout in this 'dream stream' and hence the Gold Medal label. Here you can try your best to catch a large Rainbow or Brown, and even Kokanee in the fall.
What makes this section of the South Platte so appealing is that you have the tailwaters from Spinney keeping the water at a reasonably constant temperature offering year-round fishing. The entire stretch is public water. Fish come upstream from Elevenmile Reservoir to spawn. The riverbanks are grassy with no trees to eat your fly. What else do you want - no wind and warm weather? Well, once in awhile.
Since this is a portion of the South Platte, these trout have learned to be fussy and finicky like the rest of the trout in this river - how do they convey these teachings up and down the river, through reservoirs and over dams? Good question. But you will need to bring your patience and a selection of flies - dries, nymphs, scuds, attractors, terrestrials, big/fluffy buggers and in a variety of sizes. The fish are notorious for hugging the banks and bottom, but will rise during certain hatches and when the mood strikes them. Most of all, do not give up. Change flies, have lunch, and keep trying!
Be prepared for wind and sudden storms. Also, bring any food or refreshment you want as the closest store is several miles away.
The Dream Stream has become very popular in the past few years. There are four parking areas. Three are reached off the road from County Road 59. One parking area is right next to the stream on this road. The other two are reached by turning north after crossing the river. You can also access the tailwater section by entering Spinney State Park and driving below the dam (The park is closed during the winter). This will cost you the entrance fee of $4. HINT: Drive to the least crowded parking area and walk up or downstream, away from as many people as you can. Typical of most rivers, the anglers seem to walk to the river and not go much further than that.
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Posted by Tammy Copeland on