Eleven Miles of Canyon and Lots of Caddis Flies

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Eleven Mile Canyon located near Lake George in South Park Colorado does not disappoint the eager angler.

Panoramic of the South Platte River Eleven Mile Canyon Colorado

Eleven Mile Canyon is a place that I frequent for day trips into the mountains seeking Brown and Rainbow Trout. On this particular day, however, my plan was to stay overnight so I could get up early and hit the river the following day. I arrived very late on a Thursday summer night in June and planned to hammock camp at a site. Typically weekends are reserved well in advance during the peak summer months, but I had plenty of choices. The site that I ended up getting was reserved for the following Friday night. Considering I was going to head home the next day that didn’t matter.

Driving through the canyon in the dark going through the tunnels was a new experience for me. Even though I had been in the canyon many times before, this was the first time I would seek camping in Eleven Mile Canyon. The campsite I found felt like a huge score and was way oversized for what I really needed (right image above). Since there were many to choose from that were all very similar, and the fact that it was close to midnight, I went for it. It was perfect! I strung up my hammock, pitched my tarp, and crashed out.

Waking up early the next morning, I made myself some coffee and prepared for the day. Mostly, just waking up, dreaming of the coming dry fly eats.

Getting down to the river, it was obvious I was in luck. The fish were already actively feeding, spread throughout the river. I tied on an Elk Hair Caddis with a lightweight Holy Grail Caddis Emerger dropper fly below and started getting tugged immediately.

The day started with the majority of the fish coming on the dropper fly. As the day warmed up this transitioned to the dry. Mid-day, there was no sense in casting two flies with rising fish all around me. Keyed on my Elk Hair Caddis, it quickly became target practice as I worked my way up the river, picking fish off one by one as I advanced. Every fish I caught was a Brown Trout ranging from 6 to 16 inches. Usually, I hook into some Rainbows when fishing Elven Mile Canyon, but for some reason, they were nowhere to be found on this day.

Brown after brown throughout the entire day until I finally had to pull myself away and head home to my loving wife who was kind enough to let me sneak away for this day of dry fly fishing madness. On this productive summer overnighter, I was able to jam a load of experiences in what was really only a matter of hours. I love these little moments in time that help me escape to a place where there is nothing else to worry about, but what the fish are slurping.

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