October 22, 2022
Trip Captain: Larry L and Mike O.
Phone Number: 303-594-4641
We are planning on meeting at the Highway 40 parking area near Parshall Co.
The Colorado River extends from the state of Colorado all the way to Northern Mexico, spanning over 1400 miles.
The headwaters of this mighty river begin high up Rocky Mountain National Park, where it flows south and west towards the Colorado Plateau before making its way through the Grand Canyon, eventually emptying into the Gulf of California between the Baja Peninsula and the Sonoran Desert.
Entire books have been written about fishing this mighty river. This guide will concern itself solely to the stretch of river that lies within the borders of the state of Colorado.
The Upper Colorado forms near La Poudre Pass Lake, high up in the mountains before drifting past some of the most breathtaking vistas in the entire state. From here, it flows southwest to Dotsero, where it joins its waters with the Eagle River, and marking the beginning of the Middle Colorado River region.
The middle section of the river passes through Grand Valley, where much of the river is diverted to support irrigation of nearly 40,000 acres of farmland. Flowing more slowly now, the Middle Colorado runs all the way to the Gunnison River just past the San Juan Mountains, where it begins to flow west towards the Utah Border and the tailwaters of the Lower Colorado.
No matter where on the Colorado River you choose to fish, you are going to land trout. Browns, brook trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and even rainbow/cutthroat hybrids can be found along the waters of the Colorado from La Poudre Pass Lake all the way to Ruby Canyon and Fruita.
The waters of the Colorado River have become legend all across the Lower 48 States in terms of potential big catches for rainbow and cutthroat trout, and thousands of anglers from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the Colorado every year. Not to worry, though—there’s plenty of river for everybody.
Best Places to Fish the Colorado River
With such an expansive distance to cover, it can be somewhat intimidating to try and narrow down your options to just one or two locations along the Colorado River that yield the best fishing, but there are several places that offer the potential for trophy fishing.
First among these is near the headwaters in the Upper Colorado, and can be found between the Fraser River all the way west to Troublesome creek.This particular section of the Colorado is officially designated as Gold Medal waters where there are plenty of trophy-sized fish. The town of Kremmling is west of this stretch of water, and you can easily access the entire length of the Gold Medal section by following Highway 40.
Best Time to Fish the Colorado River
The Colorado is open for fishing all year long, but you want to pay close attention to the seasonal hatches for each section. Midges in the winter, Caddis in the spring, BWOs and Stoneflies in the summer, is a good guiding principle, but checking local conditions at a reputable fly shop for the section you want to fish is best upon arrival. There’s always a section that’s fishing well all year long, and many stretches of the Colorado offer excellent fishing conditions from sunup to sunset.
Best Flies for Colorado River
Depending on the season, midges, caddis, stoneflies, and BWOs are going to be thick along the banks and over the water, so you will want to pack your flies accordingly, or just pick up the recommended patterns when you arrive.
Here are the most popular and successful patterns along the Colorado:
- Prince Nymph (prince #16-18)
- Blue Winged Olive (olive #18-22)
- Bead Head Prince (prince #16-20)
- Adams Parachute Dry Fly (adams gray #18-22)
- Bead Head Brassie™ (yellow #18-22)
- Pheasant Tail Nymph (natural #18-22)
- PMX (yellow, royal #10-16)
- Elk Hair Caddis (tan#14-16)
- Crystal Stimi (yellow#10-14)
- Royal Wulff (#12-16)
Colorado River Fishing Tips
A 9-foot 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on the Colorado River. For larger nymphs and streamers a 9-foot 6-wt with a sink tip fly line makes life easier. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 6X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.