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.
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Nymphs To Try: Natural and Flashback Pheasant Tails size 16-22 | Black Beauty size 18-24 | Medallion Midge size 20-24 | Tungsten RS2 grey or olive size 20-22 | Demon Midge size 20-22 | Poison Tung black/Green or grey/blue size 18-22 | JuJu Bee Mideg olive, or zebra size 18-24 | Pegged Eggs Gold Roe, Peach Pearl, Montana Roe, or Ruby Roe |
Dries To Try: CDC Baetis Dun size 18-22 | Matthew's Sparkle Dun BWO size 18-22 | Parachute Adams size 18-22 | Wilcox micro Midge black or red size 20-24 | Griffith’s Gnat size 20-22 | Morgan's Midge size 20-22 | Dandelion Midge black size 22
Streamers To Try: Big Gulp Sculpin black size 4 | Sculpzilla olive or black size 8 | Mercer’s Micro Crayfish rust size 8 | Kraft’s Clawdad | Flash-a-Bugger olive/black size 8 | Pine Squirrel Leech size 8-10 black, or olive | Hale Boop Leech wine size 8
Flows are about 150 CFS, with consistent tailwater water temps in the high 30's and low 40's. Given the crowded nature of this stream it might not be the best place for social distancing, also keep an eye out for state closures etc. Potential hatches of Baetis and midges at this time, eggs from spawning Rainbow Trout could also be in the system. Nymphs, dries, and small streamers could also produce takes here.
River flows have been holding near 140 CFS, with a slight drop to 130 CFS yesterday. Water temps have been in the 30's -40's, and the lower sections of the Charlie Meyer's SWA have been getting slushy on very cold nights and mornings. The upper half of this access will provide the most consisten fishing as the water is slightly warmer coming out of the dam. Small Baetis nymphs, midge larva, midge emergers, and caddsi larva are the main food sources currently. Rising fish can be targeted with size 18-24 midge dries or emergers, but most of the time a light weight nymph rig with small, natural imitaions of the insects at hand will be the best bet.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been fluctuating between 60 - 80 CFS over the last few days, with water temps in the high 30’s - low 40’s. A few sparse BWOs have been active, but in general midges will be the main hatch through out the winter. Dry flies can fish well during an actual hatch, but in between hatches a nymph rig is the go to technique. Small streamers imitating leaches, and crayfish, and baitfish can also hook trout here all winter long. The weather last week was brutally cold, but look to capitalize on a warm front moving through starting this weekend, during which we should seed consistent temps in the 40’s.
River Flows have been relatively steady here, holding near 60 CFS, with water temps in the low 40’s. Expect Cold, wintery conditions here for the rest of the year, but don’t let that discourage you from fishing this piece of water. Crowds are much less significant during the winter months, and the water stays ice free due to the reservoir release. A few Tricos, and lots of midges make up most of the active aquatic insects here at this time. Egg imitations, and small streamers could also produce some strikes as well. Our go to set up is a light weight nymph rig featuring small yarn indicators, split shot, small mayfly nymphs, micro caddis larva, and midge larva.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been fluctuating between 120 through 60 CFS, and are currently at 67 CFS with water temps in the low 40s. There are still some Kokanee Salmon in the system here, but numbers are starting to thin out significantly. It also seems like a lot of the lake run Brown Trout have been heading back to 11 Mile Reservoir as well, but there are still be some spawning in the river system. Beatis and midges have been the primary food sources recently, with eggs and smaller fish also offering sources of protein for trout as well. We have been hooking the most trout in softer water along the start zone of riffles, in deeper eddies, and tail outs of pools.
** Please keep an eye out for brown trout spawning beds and do not wade on, or fish over top of them.**
Flows on the Dream Stream have seen some fluctuation over the past week, and have seemed to level out at 50 CFS with water temps in the low 40s . There are LOTS of Kokanee in the system at the moment, and few left over lake run brown trout but it seems like the spawn is nearing its end. Midges are the main hatches at the moment with a few sparse BWOs and Tricos. A light weight nymph rig, dry flies, or streamers are the best angling methods at the moment.
Flows on the Dream Stream have been holding near 100 CFS for the past week, but are currently dropping and in the 80 CFS range for the moment. Midges, BWOs, and a few Tricos are the most prevalent aquatic insects currently. There are some lake run brown trout in the system, so eggs and smaller fish are also food sources for trout currently. Please avoid fishing/wading over top of spawning beds, or spawning fish. Nymph rigs, dry flies, and streamers are all viable angling methods here.
Flows on the Dream Stream have dropped from 120 CFS to 80 CFS this week. Conditions can be a bit spooky here with these lower flows, combined with heavy angling pressure from fishermen hoping to hook the large lake run brown trout which find there way into this stretch of water in the fall. Small Fall Baetis, midges, and a few Tricos are the main hatches at the moment. Dry fly fishing can be good during hatches, but a nymph rig will be the go to set up when there are not many bugs on the water. Small flies and light weight tippet will be needed to fool trout at the time being. However one exception at this point in time will be streamer fishing, as aggressive brown trout might territorially strike at larger food sources. Also, remember to stay away from spawning beds while fishing during the Fall and Spring. These beds are scoured areas of the river bottom consisting of pebbles/gravel/sand which are often lighter in color than surrounding areas. Trout will be grouped in these areas, often chasing one another, or sweeping the river bottom with a shaking motion of their tail.
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.