This trip was special for me on many different levels, starting with finally meeting Daniel Galhardo and share some water with him, observing his techniques and strategies and exchange thoughts. But also by fishing the entire stretch of Cheesman Canyon. Having two cars, we were able to drop one car at the bottom of the canyon and park at the top, allowing us to hike and fish the full 3 miles of water.
We got to the Deckers area around 8am and it was surprisingly cold - only 22F! However, the hike to the river warmed us up very quickly and the sun, once it crested, made it a very pleasant day to fish. The hike in was long and steep, the main reason why I don't hike to the river from the top - the return trip after a full day's fishing is just brutal (I did it once, pre-tenkara, during Summer when it was in the high 80ies, with my waders on and a fully loaded fishing vest).
|Just below the dam of Cheesman Reservoir|
|Daniel in action|
|That's the hole I hooked with my first fish, after Daniel fished through it|
What seemed to be a good start proved soon to be pretty tough fishing, with the water level being very low (around 80cfs) and the river having lots of green, whitish and black algae. We were concerned that this would be Didymo, but a biologist of Denver Water to who I reached out after the trip, confirmed, to our relief, that it's NOT Didymo. Over the course of the day, Daniel hooked two and landed one and I hooked two and lost both of them. I fished almost exclusively tenkara flies and both hook-ups were on a Sakasa Copperbari of Tenkarabum.
We had a great day on the water besides the "not catching many fish" part, the weather was great and the company was even better. Cheesman confirmed it's reputation to be a difficult river, but we were able to fool a few fish with flies that were not quite the "standard" fare for this technical tailwater, which really encouraged me to fish more with traditional tenkara flies.