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: pegged eggs, Natural Pheasant Tails size 16-22, olive, black, and grey RS2 size 18-22, Big Bear Baetis 18-22, Natural Hare's Ear size 16-20, Black Beauty size 20-22, grey Bling Midge size 20-22, Smith's Tid Bit size 20-22, Chocolate Foam Wing Emereger grey size 20-22, Red Rojo Midge 18-22, Pure Midge fire red 20-24, Top Secret Midge brown size 20-22
Dries To Try: olive Matthew's Sparkle Dun size 18-22, Parachute Adams size 18-22, grey or black Brook Sprouts Midge size 20-22, Griffin's Gnat size 20-22, Morgan's Midge size 20-22
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.
The river flow on this stretch of the South Platte is currently around 100 CFS which can be great for fishing. Warmer days are producing decent Midge and Blue Wing Olive hatches. Some rising fish are being taken on small dry midge pattern, but a light nypmh rig has been the most productive set up currently. Pegged eggs, Baetis nymphs, and mid larva/emergers have all been productive flies. There have still been a few larger lake run browns sighted, but not in high numbers, expect to catch more of the standard resident fish (which can also be very large). Get to the river early and pick your favorite spot, but expect the fishing action to be best from mid morning to early afternoon. Concentrate on the sunnier pieces of water, and avoid colder shaded areas.
Fall is a great time of year to catch lake run brown trout coming out of 11 Mile Reservoir, but expect to see A LOT of other anglers as well. Also please respect spawning beds by not fishing over them. The river flow is quit nice for fishing at about 100 CFS, expect to see a few small black caddis, a few PMDs, and heavier hatches of Blue Wing Olives, Tricos, and Midges.
The Dream Stream is a good option this time of year, flows are between 100-200 CFS which is high enough to get the trout out of their hiding spots under cut banks, but leaves the angler with plenty of fishable water. Current hatches include smaller Cadddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies, Tricos, and Midges (also don’t forget terrestrial insects that reside in the surrounding meadows). Think about fishing dries, or a light, shallow, dry dropper set up if fish are eating near the surface. If there is not strong surface activity then nymphs under a small yarn indicator will probably be your best choice. Small leach, or crayfish paterns can also be effective when bounced along cut banks.
The Dream Stream is currently flowing a bit under its historic average at about 62 CFS. Fishing can get a little spooky at these flows in the Spinney Mountain Ranch area, but don't count it out as this stretch of river can suddenly come to life if aquatic insects start to hatch. Be patient and keep your eyes on the water, trout will normally come out of hiding and feed near the surface if there are bugs on the water. Small Leeches and scuds can also be productive in between hatches. Midges are currently the main hatch, with a few caddis and blue wings olives mixed in here and there.
Spinney Mountain Ranch ( "aka" The Dream Stream) is a great option as most of the freestone rivers in the area are in transition to their high, off color, run off flows. Expect higher flows to be released into the Dream Stream in the near future, but don't worry the visibility will remain good due to the lack of feeder creeks in this stretch. Currently Midges and a few Baetis have been hatching sporadically throughout the day. Scuds, crayfish, baitfish, and leeches are always present in the Spinney Mountain Ranch stretch of the Platte as well.