Photos: A Young Man’s First Trip to an Iconic Spot on the South Platte

Written by: Austin Manthey

Austin Manthey-Deckers

The Deckers section of the South Platte turned out to be everything it was supposed to be.

photo courtesy Austin Manthey

Editor’s note: Austin Manthey is a young angler from Colorado whose videos have been featured in the F5 a couple of times. (See here and here.) So I asked him to start contributing to the Fly Fishing blog, as a way to get a young voice on fly fishing. Check out his blog, Manthey Fly Fishing.

I have been fly fishing in Colorado for eight years, yet I still had not fished Deckers, one of the most famed places in the state—a stretch that produces stories of monster fish and epic hatches that draw people from all over the world to fish. When I was given the option of being able to fish anywhere I wanted last weekend, I decided it was time to head up to the South Platte below Cheeseman Dam for my first time. It was one of those days where everything just went right.

Austin Manthey-Deckers

Drifting a nymph rig through the riffles was effective before the Baetis started coming off.

photo courtesy Austin Manthey

We pulled up the old dirt road at about 8 a.m., parked the car, and began rigging up. I had read a few fishing reports ahead of time, so we had an idea of what to tie on. My first rig consisted of a size 14 Red San Juan Worm, a size 18 UV RS2, and a size 24 Olive Midge Pupa. I walked upriver to a shallow riffle and made my first few drifts. On about the fifth drift, I hooked up with a colorful buck that ate the olive midge. I snapped a few pics and sent him on his way. That riffle gave up a few more fish before I decided it was time to move.

Austin Manthey-Deckers

Sight-fishing to this 22-inch hen was the highlight of the day.

photo courtesy Austin Manthey

The next spot was a shallow riffle feeding into a shallow flat that was absolutely loaded with fish: sight-fishing paradise! I landed a few smaller fish and then spotted a ridiculous hen holding a few yards away from me. One cast into her feeding lane and I was yelling, “Fish ON!” A few minutes passed, and before long I had a gorgeous 22-inch fish in the net with a Red San Juan Worm set in the corner of her mouth.

Austin Manthey-Deckers

Returning a fish to the water to be caught again.

photo courtesy Austin Manthey

At about 11 a.m., the fish started to key on Baetis, and we landed fish on Higa’s SOS, Camden’s Baetis, a top secret Baetis pattern that a buddy of mine tied up for me, and I even got a few fish to take a size 22 Parachute Adams. It was one of the best days of fishing I’ve had in a very long time, despite the crowds and a few scattered rain showers. This was spring fishing at its finest.

Share this with your friends:






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *