The Joys of Fishing and Exploring Beaver Creek Near Skaguay
Most people who fly fish for trout in our fair area only venture into the well-known waters of the South Platte River, or the reservoirs of South Park. These waters are well known and can be very crowded, particularly on weekends.
Fortunately for the fisherman who would rather spend a day in solitary pursuit of trout far from the maddening crowds, there are a myriad of small streams waiting to be explored.
One such small stream is Beaver Creek below Skaguay Reservoir.
Beaver Creek is one of the most beautiful streams to fish! It is a sizable stream year-round. Its headwaters reach to the top of Pikes Peak. The section below Skaguay Reservoir is a long, gentle meadow that runs almost 3 miles before it drops into an untamed, un-trailed, harsh canyon that few venture into. The meadow section does receive a fair share of adventurers because of its beauty, easy access, and fishing opportunities, but it is not nearly as crowded as the more popular sections of the South Platte.
This is a great place to take kids and rookie fly fisher folks with runs, pools, and an ample supply of Brookies, Rainbows, and Brown Trout. You can start fishing right below the dam where a good size pool forms the starting point of the main section of creek. Just below this pool a culvert dumps into a deepish pool that also holds fish, but to really experience the beauty of the area you should take the hike down stream for at least an hour and fish, working your way back up stream.
The fish here are not very big compared to what you find in the larger waterways, but they are wild and give a great fight on a light weight rod setup. When fishing for fish in the 6 – 12” size range, you want to use a lighter weight rig. The ideal rig for these streams is a 6 – 7’ long, 2 or 3 weight rods. Occasionally, a fish in the 14 – 20” range will be hiding in an undercut bank and decide to take your offering. If you are lucky enough to get into one of these fish, you are in for a real ride on a light weight fly rod rig.
Another nice thing about this area below Skaguay is the weather. While the reservoirs are now socked in solid with ice, (fine if you like ice fishing) Beaver Creek stays ice free in most places. Even on winter days when the sun is out the ambient temperatures are quite bearable. Be forewarned though. Never let your guard down anywhere in the Colorado outback. The weather can and does change in a heartbeat. Always bring extra layers of clothing, and the usual items you would take on a winter hike.
Another thing for the hardcore to do in this area is backpack to the abandoned Skaguay power plant and ghost town. This is a 10-mile out-and-back trip, but is not really for the faint of heart.
Construction of the Skaguay Plant began in 1899 and was complete in 1901. In 1965, 15-days of rain brought floods washing out a lot of the pipeline and other infrastructure. Fixing the power plant didn’t make sense and funds weren’t in place. The land was reverted to the government.
The hike begins at the Skaguay Reservoir parking lot. Walk towards the dam and follow the West Beaver Creek along a dirt road for about a mile. When you reach a gate in the road the trail veers off to the right and continues along the creek. The second mile will take you through fields and easy terrain along the creek. As you make your way down the creek, the trail (blazed with pink and orange markers) begins taking several creek crossings. The first couple can be done while keeping dry but prepare to jump in because the final couple require you to get a little wet. This trail is known for its tough terrain but it’s nothing too crazy, be prepared. The last couple miles will take you through boulder fields and several tight timber areas along the creek. Be sure to stay in a group as you blaze the trail looking for the markers and take your time at intersections along the trail. There’s only one attraction (that being the power plant), so there are multiple trails along the creek to follow.
Directions to Beaver Creek:
Take Highway 24 west to Divide and go south on Hwy. 67. When you reach Gillette Flats take a left onto CR 81. When your get to Victor follow the signs for Phantom Canyon Rd. and follow it to the reservoir. It is about an hour and a half drive.
When you arrive at Skaguay Reservoir, stay on the upper road to park, as the trail is accessed from there, above the dam. The hike down from the trailhead to the stream is somewhat steep initially, then pretty flat with gentle ups/downs the rest of the way. The longer the hike, the better the fishing as fewer people will have hiked in. The trail is wide and the hike is easy. At one point you’ll hit a Y in the trail stay lower, near the stream, or you’ll end up on private property and backtrack.
Camping is allowed in the area and considering the beauty of the hike, an overnight trip would be a great way to take in this trip.