Alma/Fairplay Colorado

mudduck

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Will be in that area in late June and Ive carved out a day to hit the Dream stream. I will also have a few days to myself to venture out and fish. Looks like there are loads of creeks in the immediate area of Fairplay and was wondering if they are worth checking out vs just fishing the South Platte around the Fairplay area. Also, how is access to the various waters in that area?
 

okaloosa

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hopper dropper fishing for browns
and dont forget the bug spray....all of south park area including Tomahawk and Dream Stream is absolutely inundated with mosquitoes that time of year. I use Simm's bugstopper hoodie and gloves and a buff...they swarm in clouds... be prepared. ...
also, be careful of afternoon thunderstorms,,,,dont go too far from car if clouds start to form....
BTW, Alma, I believe, is the highest (altitude) incorporated town in the USA.....
 
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omas

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Just to add a few things:
You also have Badger Basin SWA (South Fork & Middle Fork) and Spinney Mountain SWA near Harstel.
Some access is free, some is self pay, so carry correct change. Do a google search.

Dream Stream can get crowded. To avoid the crowds get there very early, and/or fish late in the afternoon.
It can also be windy, very windy at times.
Sometimes you can wet wade by the end of June.
Bring your small flies #20-#26 midges, tricos, bwo, and caddis. My favorite dropper is a graphic caddis.

The Chaparral General Store on #59 near the dam access to Spinney Res. usually has a good supply of flies and Rob, usually has good intel on what is working.

I am jealous. Until the covid slows down, I am staying in Texas.
Good luck and post a report.
 

hatidua

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The Dream Stream can be a bit of a lottery fishery: yeah, there are big fish caught there on a somewhat regular basis but don't be too let down if you leave and your big fish for the day was 8", -it happens.
 

okaloosa

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The Dream Stream can be a bit of a lottery fishery: yeah, there are big fish caught there on a somewhat regular basis but don't be too let down if you leave and your big fish for the day was 8", -it happens.
There is a decent sized learning curve to the Dream Stream..,,and every day or so they have been bumping up the water....two and a half weeks ago it was about 60 cfs...It is now 300 cfs....by the end of june it could be 600 cfs....
 

mudduck

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Thanks for the replies, after looking around that area and a bit of research I think Id rather hit Antero reservoir or 11 mile reservoir with my float tube tube and maybe hit the Alma and Tomahawk SWAs with my 3wt (unless thats suicide for my ClassicTrout!)). Looks like there are loads of creeks and streams in the immediate area of Fairplay, so any info on those would be ace.

Ill likely give the Dream Stream a pass but might hit 11 mile canyon if there are hiking trails adjacent to the water. My wife would enjoy a hike through there and Id just like to fish there to soak in some beautiful scenery.
 

okaloosa

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Thanks for the replies, after looking around that area and a bit of research I think Id rather hit Antero reservoir or 11 mile reservoir with my float tube tube and maybe hit the Alma and Tomahawk SWAs with my 3wt (unless thats suicide for my ClassicTrout!)). Looks like there are loads of creeks and streams in the immediate area of Fairplay, so any info on those would be ace.

Ill likely give the Dream Stream a pass but might hit 11 mile canyon if there are hiking trails adjacent to the water. My wife would enjoy a hike through there and Id just like to fish there to soak in some beautiful scenery.
Those in the know say Antero is more consistent than Spinney, and Spinney more consistent than 11 mile for stillwater. There is a dirt road all along 11 mile and it is an absolutely a gorgeous canyon...and there are some hiking trails...rocky terrain but so beautiful...you will not regret going there even if you catch few fish, although, everyone says it is the easiest stretch of the main south platte to catch trout, especially on dries.
 

justahack

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Thanks for the replies, after looking around that area and a bit of research I think Id rather hit Antero reservoir or 11 mile reservoir with my float tube tube and maybe hit the Alma and Tomahawk SWAs with my 3wt (unless thats suicide for my ClassicTrout!)). Looks like there are loads of creeks and streams in the immediate area of Fairplay, so any info on those would be ace.

Ill likely give the Dream Stream a pass but might hit 11 mile canyon if there are hiking trails adjacent to the water. My wife would enjoy a hike through there and Id just like to fish there to soak in some beautiful scenery.
Good plan. Antero is fishing really well right now. Kick out from south shore between boat ramp and the first island. Think chironomids and hope for calibaetis. Mop flies are lifesavers if the usuals aren’t hooking up. Don’t fish anything smaller than 3x tippet, and if you don’t want to get bit off by a Tiger Muskie, don’t drop below 1x or 2x. Alma SWA has beautiful cutts and any floaty dry should work. Tomahawk is willowy-er And mostly brown trout. It gets much more pressure, but I’ve always done well with caddis type dries, stimmies, x-caddis, whatever. Rough and tumbling creek is a blast, but might still be rough and tumbling when you’re here. Skip 11-mile reservoir and the dream stream. Those are each fun, but only for narrow windows in time, and June is not in that window. Both the SWA will be fun with a 3wt. Bring a bigger stick (and net) for Antero. I fish a 6wt there. 11-mile canyon is beautiful and the dry fly fishing is unbelievable, but the hiking for your wife is limited. I took my wife there years ago and she ended up reading a book on a sunny rock. Your 3wt will be fine in the canyon as well.
 

djfan

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11 Mile canyon is amazing. 11 Mile reservoir, not so much. We call it the "Dead Sea" due to poor fishing. The beavers are great there, though.
 

mudduck

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I really appreciate the feedback, cheers.

Im not very well versed in tying tiny flies, especially dries. Im gonna stop in the local shops for those. Not much use for a #24 trico here in the Land of Oz. I do tie chironomids and balanced buggers in tiny sizes 18-22 which kill our pond stocked trout but Im usually tying #6-#2 bunny streamers or crayfish patterns for chasing our warm water species. What are some good streamers to bring along? I reckon downsizing to #8-12 would be a good idea for smaller water (if even a good idea at all?). I figure Antero would be more appropriate to bring larger patterns to.
 

justahack

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I
I really appreciate the feedback, cheers.

Im not very well versed in tying tiny flies, especially dries. Im gonna stop in the local shops for those. Not much use for a #24 trico here in the Land of Oz. I do tie chironomids and balanced buggers in tiny sizes 18-22 which kill our pond stocked trout but Im usually tying #6-#2 bunny streamers or crayfish patterns for chasing our warm water species. What are some good streamers to bring along? I reckon downsizing to #8-12 would be a good idea for smaller water (if even a good idea at all?). I figure Antero would be more appropriate to bring larger patterns to.
I tie chironomids for Antero in sizes 10-14 and calibaetis in 12-14. Mops in size 10, leeches in size 10-14, buggers size 6-10. For the creeks I like floaty dries in 12-14. In the canyon I’ll fish Baetis in 18-20, PMDs and caddis in 14-16. That meme about tiny flies in Colorado is just a meme. There are plenty of folks here who say we need sub 20’s on 8x, but I’m not one of them. I catch plenty on flies I can see. The tricos are a thing only in the early mornings for a short time on the Platte between Spinney and 11-mile and occasionally in the canyon. You can fish bigger stuff and keep the net filled all day, but if you really want to give a go with teeny bugs, that’s the place and time for it. Those big bunny flies you have would work for the pike in the south bays of Spinney should you decide to work in time for that.
 

mudduck

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I just thought of something I completely overlooked.

How cold is the water at Antero?

Im over here sweating my butt off in my tube in just shorts but I imagine its a different story that high up. Would neoprene waders be overkill or do I need a base layer under my waders? I see the forecast is in the mid 70s for next week but Im not too hip as to how warm that is in the mountains but I know that water is cold!
 

Matt4.0

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I just thought of something I completely overlooked.

How cold is the water at Antero?

Im over here sweating my butt off in my tube in just shorts but I imagine its a different story that high up. Would neoprene waders be overkill or do I need a base layer under my waders? I see the forecast is in the mid 70s for next week but Im not too hip as to how warm that is in the mountains but I know that water is cold!
Shouldn’t be too cold. Neoprene would def be overkill, just bring your breathables and a base layer in case it’s a cool day. I’ve fished in shorts, wet wading socks and flippers from my pontoon during the summer there comfortably. If it is a 70+ degree, sunny day at that altitude it’s going to feel like 90. With that said, as with anywhere in Colorado bring layers and some rain gear, you never know. And pay attention to where the wind direction will come from in afternoon, DO NOT get caught far from shore downwind from your launch area. It can go from glass-like conditions to white caps in 20-30 min.
 

Cleep1700

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Agree with omas...do check in to the Chaparral General Store across from Spinney. Rob is a good fella with great information and inexpensive lodging if needed. He makes a wicked pot of coffee, too.
 

mudduck

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Well I forgot my waders at home so I never made it to the reservoirs. I did however hit Alma SWA, Tomahawk SWA, and Fairplay beach.

Struck out at Alma, nailed 2 rainbows in the 10 minutes we spent at Tomahawk before the weather got nasty and ate em up at Fairplay beach. Had a blast with dries at the beach. They gobbled up just about everything I threw at them from copper johns to hares ears to yellow sallies. Sight fishing them from the steep hill directly across from the parking lot was a blast.

Wish we had more time for Tomahawk as it was simply beautiful.
 
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