I consider the South Platte River my main homewater. Its where I learn and practice many of the skills I use on other adventures whether I’m fishing another tailwater in state or even some of the larger bodies of water I fish out of state such as The Madison in Montana. Though there are many great access points on this river, I would have to say that the stretch in between Spinney and Elevenmile Reservoirs known as “The Dream Stream” is high on the list of the greatest trophy fisheries in the entire world.Yes this is a good fishery year-round with a healthy population of resident rainbows, browns, and a few cutthroats as well, but when the leaves begin to change and the mercury in the thermometers begin to drop, monsters rise from the deepest darkest depths of Elevenmile Reservoir and begin to ready themselves for the spawn. These large up to over 30 inches in length are lake run German Brown Trout.

The brown trout spawn begins in early October and lasts into early September. These fish that will make the journey to spawn come and go in a few separate waves.  Prime time to catch some of the biggest trout of your entire life can be October 6th to about October 20th when the first sets of fish start to move into the system and stage for the spawn.

These fish are actually quite stupid these first few days and many anglers are surprised by how stupid they are…They will try to eat just about anything that gets in their way and will even rise to indicators at times. When this happens, throw on a brightly colored hopper pattern. I mean come on….who wouldn’t like to catch a 10 pound trout that lazily slurped a Chartreuse Charlie Boy Hopper? Nymph rigs with a large attractor pattern on lead followed by a smaller attractor or a “match the hatch” pattern such as a drowned trico will produce fish. Weight on the rig is very important. Start off with a generous amount of weight and make a few drifts…if nothing happens, keep repeating this process and add weight until you feel that the fish are actually seeing the flies on the most natural presentation you can manage.

Sight fishing to these big browns can be challenging but rewarding Scan the water with Polarized Sun Glasses for the opening and closing white of the mouth, large dark shadows, and the shape and movements of fish. It is very hard to see some of these fish and they are more often easier to catch if they move to cover and fished to blindly. Fish tend to favor the rocks and undercuts of Dream Stream. You will notice large shadows dart to this cover when you walk up on a pool and then not leave that spot. These fish are actually easier to catch. Target that rock and work drifts around it. Usually you can get a fish to come out and take a pattern in this manner.

When hooked up with a very large fish, keeping the right amount of pressure and leverage is key. Stay on top of the fish and keep it from making large runs up or downstream where it will use the current to its advantage. Move with the fish and get that nose turned towards the bank…This is the easiest way to land the fish quickly and safely so that you can get a picture and send it on it’s way without harm to the fish or angler.

Charlie Valuck of The Colorado Youth Fly Fishing Team hoists 24 inches of South Platte Joy