The infamous stretch of the Middle Fork of the South Platte between Spinney and Eleven Mile Reservoirs is known as "The Dream Stream". This is due to the hefty trout that venture out of Eleven Mile Reservoir and run upstream into the "Dream Stream" section of river. This section is a typical "tail Water" featuring lots of smaller bug life, clear/cold water, and high fishing pressure. While you always have the shot at catching the trout of your dreams, fishing here can be somewhat of a nightmare for the newcomer. Expect heavy fishing pressure, spooky trout, and high winds along with your chance at a trophy trout. That being said, the Dream Stream is still one of the best trout fisheries in the state. Glorious views, abundant aquatic food sources, and Gold Medal numbers of trout still grace these waters.
Fishing can be sporadic at the Dream Stream, don't expect to consistently catch fish all day. Instead, focus on brief hatches that come and go throughout the day. These hatches cause normally spooky trout to leave undercut banks, and feed on emerging insects while they have the chance. It can be a good idea to bring two set ups, one for a nymph rig, and one for dries. Fish dries, a light nymph rig, or a dry-dropper set up during the hatch. Try nymph or streamer fishing in the deeper pools and back eddies while you are waiting on the hatch.
Nymphs To Try: TDJ Golden Stone size 10-12, Tungsten Jigged Pheasant Tail size 10-14, Sizzlin’ Squirrel size 14-16, Charlie’s Chronic Caddis chartreuse size 14-16, Ju-Ju Baetis red size 16-20, Tungsten Psycho Baetis olive or black size 18-20, BTS Baetis Black size 18-20, Sparkle Wing RS2 grey or black size 18-20
Dries To Try: Chubby Chernobyl gold or olive size 6-12, Purple Haze size 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis yellow size 12-18, Crystal Stimulator yellow size 10-16, Para-BWO size 18-20, Matthew’s Sparkle Dun BWO size 18-20, CDC Morgan’s Midge size 18-22
Streamers To Try: black, olive, or wine leech patterns, Slump Busters of various colors, Meat Whistle in rust or black, Baby Gonga in Brown or Rainbow Trout themes.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been holding near 100 CFS for the past week, however there was a flash flooding event on the 4th that washed out access roads to the river and Spinney Mtn. Reservoir. Access to the Dream Stream is back open, but Spinney Mtn. State Park will remain closed until further notice. Conditions are back to normal for the most part on the dream stream as flows have been back down to 100 CFS for about a week. Expect To see strong hatches of Tricos in the AM, and get to the river early as this will likely be the most productive fishing of the day. Hatch of Baetis often follow the Trico hatch, and the afternoon brings a chance of seeing some PMDs and caddis. Grasshopper activity should also increase as the day warms up, and there are still tons of them in the surrounding meadows. A dry-dropper rig is our go to technique at the moment, but a nymph rig may be required to catch fish in deeper runs during mid-day.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been holding near 130 CFS for the past few weeks, which is a really nice level to fish this piece of water. Hatches have included small caddis , PMDs, Baetis, Tricos, and midges. Hopper season is still in full effect in these meadows, and should continue for another couple of weeks until we see consistent freezes at night. Look to fish dries, or dry-dropper rigs during hatches, and go a little deeper with a nymph rig when not much is hatching. A single grass hopper can sometime be effective on gusty days when drifted along cuttbanks, and through riffles as well. It is starting to be the season for lake run brown trout to come out of 11 Mile Reservoir, so if you are hunting for trophy trout it is a good time to try the Dream Stream. Just remember it gets very crowded here because of these large fish, so plan on getting on the water early and sharing it with other anglers.
Flows on the Dream Stream are currently holding near 150 CFS, which is a really nice level to fish this piece of water. Hatches have included small caddis , PMDs, Baetis, Tricos, and midges. There has also been a plentiful number of grass hoppers in the surrounding fields, and they do end up in the water on windy days. Look to fish dries, or dry-dropper rigs during hatches, and go a little deeper with a nymph rig when not much is hatching. A single grass hopper can sometime be effective on gusty days when drifted along cuttbanks, and through riffles as well.
Flows on the Dream Stream have come down a bit over the last week, and are near 200 CFS which is just slightly above the historical average for this stretch of river. This is a great flow for the to fish the Dream Stream as there is enough water for trout to feel secure, yet flows are not high enough to limit good holding water. Small caddis, PMDS, and Tricos are the strongest hatches recently. Sporadic Baetis hatches, and midges have been catching the trouts attention when aforementioned bugs are not hatching as heavily. Terrestrial insects from the surrounding meadows, have also been on the menu as they end up in the water frequently on windier days.
During heavy hatches dry fly fishing can be good here, especially when trailing an unweighted emerger behind. A hopper-dropper set up featuring a medium to small sized hopper with small, weighted and unweighted nymphs dropped about 2 or 3 feet below has been effective when fished in the shallower riffles. A deeper nymph rig may be needed to target larger fish hiding in deeper holes. Fishing small streamers during the evening hours has also been an effective technique recently.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been holding near 300 CFS all week. Although 300 CFS is slightly “high” for the size of the river here, it is a good flow for angling as it tends to make trout less spooky than they normally are during lower flows. Midges, Baetis, a few small PMDs, and a few small caddis have been hatching here. Midges, and Baetis have been the more important hatches recently.
A hopper-dropper set up featuring a medium to small sized hopper with small, weighted and unweighted nymphs dropped about 2 or 3 feet below has been effective when fished in the shallower riffles. A deeper nymph rig may be needed to target larger fish hiding in deeper holes. Fishing small streamers during the evening hours has also been an effective technique.
Flows have been holding steady close to 300 CFS here for about a week, but have just dropped down into the 200s today. Between 100-200 CFS can be prime flows to fish this piece of water, as there is enough water to ease the spooky nature of trout here, but not so much as to decrease fishable holding water. Look for hatches to become stronger, with a wider variety of species hatching as flows drop. It is also a great time of year to fish a dry-dropper set up on the Dream Stream due to terrestrial insects becoming more active, in combination with the stronger hatches of aquatic insects.
The Dream stream has seen a significant decrease in flow over the past two days, dropping by almost a hundred CFS from the 400’s down to the 300’s. Fishing could start to get good here as lower flows, combined with higher water temperatures should create heavier, and more frequent hatches. The best success on the Dream Stream is normally found during a hatch as trout abandone their hiding spots to feed. Consider fishing a light dry dropper rig during these times, as a heavy rig won’t drift naturally in the current, even if fished at a short depth. Windy days here are also a great time to find trout eating terrestrial bugs that are blown into the water.
River flows on the Dream Stream have been holding steady near 400 CFS for about a week, but don’t expect them to stay put for too long. We should see some fluctuation both up and down, with a general downward trend as the amount of snowmelt in the high alpine slowly decreases. The current 400 CFS we are seeing in this stretch of river is still a bit high for its size, but is very fishable. Current food sources for trout include midges, small mayfly nymphs, small to medium caddis larva, scuds, leaches, crayfish, and baitfish.
Nymph fishing is the most consistent method of take with the current conditions, but a dry-dropper, or dry fly set up could hook fish as well. Capitalize on sporadic hatches, as trout in the dream stream feed more recklessly during these times. Windy days can also be productive, as terrestrial insects such as grasshoppers are blown into the river more frequently. Stripping small streamers is also a viable technique at the moment, especially on overcast days.
It looks like flows on the Dream Stream could have peaked last week at about 700 CFS, and for the time being they are on the downswing, and are currently about 500 CFS. Not too much has changed since our last report except for the decrease in flows, be ready to capitalize on sporadic hatches of midges and Blue Wing Olives. Trout on the Dream Stream feed much more recklessly during a hatch, even if it only lasts a few minutes. So don’t beat yourself up too much when the bug activity is at a lull, and prepare for the next hatch. Also, warmer summer temps have terrestrial bugs starting to move around more, and the blustery meadow winds here often blow these bugs into the water, which trout in turn, love to feed on. So don’t curse the wind here, instead say thanks, tie on a hopper pattern and go searching for a gulper.
“The Dream Stream” is currently holding at about 700CFS, which is a lot of water for the average width of this meadow stream. The good news is that water clarity is good due to the majority of the CFS coming from a dam release. This stretch of river contains a lot of structure including “Ox Bows”, large boulders and logs, and cuttbanks which can provide some soft water even at these high flows. A nymph rig is the most consistent set up to fish here, but dry flies can also be productive during hatches of aquatic insects, or during windy days when terrestrial insects are blown into the stream.
Major food sources for trout at the moment are emerging Blue Wing Olive Mayflies, small caddis larva, and emerging midges. Scuds, leaches, crayfish, baitfish, and bigger larvas are also available to trout at this time.
The CFS being released from Spinney Mountain Reservoir has started to rise. So far there has been about a 50 CFS increase per day, and things still seem to be on the rise at about 300 CFS. Fish may be a bit unsettled with fluctuating water levels, but the good news is higher flows make the entire piece of water less spooky. Small baitfish, crawfish, leaches, scuds, caddis larva, small mayfly nymphs, midges, and annelids can all be important food sources at this time.
Spring is the season to chase large lake run rainbows in the Charlie Meyers Sate Wildlife Area. It is also the season to encounter large crowds of other anglers doing the exact same thing, so don’t expect to have the river to yourself. Embracing nasty weather, and high winds can be a good way to get some fishing in with less crowds in this area, as there will be less people on the water and trout will be a bit less spooky. A stealthy approach to any piece of water you plan on fishing is key here, tread lightly and keep a low profile when casting. Midges are still the main food source at the moment, but a few Blue Wing Olives have been starting to hatch as well. Scuds, leaches, crayfish, and caddis larva are always present throughout this stretch as well. Taking advantage of the time periods when bugs are actually hatching is your best bet here, fish become less spooky and feed heavily on emerging insects in faster riffles during these times. Between hatches try nymphing deep runs and back eddies with a long leader and small strike indicator.