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The Best Public Places to Fly Fish in Colorado: A Fly Fishing Enthusiast’s Perspective

Explore Colorado’s Top Fly Fishing Spots and Expert Tips

Colorado is a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts, with over 200 rivers teeming with fish. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a beginner looking for an adventure, Colorado has something for everyone. After fishing in Colorado for almost 15 years, I have had the opportunity to explore numerous rivers and develop some personal favorites. In this article, I will share my top three public places to fly fish in Colorado, along with some valuable advice to enhance your fishing experience.

The South Platte River: A Diverse Fishing Haven

The South Platte River stands out as one of the best places to fly fish in Colorado due to its diverse sections and abundant fish population. From the dream stream to Deckers, the South Platte River offers over 15 public access points where you can cast your line. This river is home to various trout species, including rainbows, browns, cutthroats, and cutbows, as well as other fish like suckers, carp, bass, and kokanee salmon. One of the highlights of fly fishing on the South Platte River is the variety of water you can fish. Whether you prefer the technical waters of Cheeseman Canyon or the winding stream of the Dream Stream, you will have the opportunity to catch some of the state’s largest trout. Additionally, the South Platte River offers excellent chances to hook huge fish, as many anglers can attest. When fishing the South Platte River, it is advisable to use smaller flies, such as size #22 or #24 midges and baetis patterns. Being patient is another crucial tip, as the river is known for its high fish density. Instead of rushing through different sections, take your time to explore and find productive holes.

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Pristine Wilderness and Stunning Fish

For those seeking tranquil lakes, interconnected streams, and untouched wilderness, the Indian Peaks Wilderness is a hidden gem. This remarkable trout fishery boasts one of the largest concentrations of greenback cutthroat in the state. Fishing in Indian Peaks Wilderness promises memorable experiences, with hungry and catchable fish ready to take on various presentations. Navigating through the multitude of lakes and streams in Indian Peaks Wilderness allows anglers to discover a wide range of fish species, including cutthroat, brown, rainbow, grayling, lake trout, and even albino trout (although incredibly rare). Timing is crucial for fishing in this area, as the best months to enjoy comfortable weather are typically from June to October. When fishing in Indian Peaks Wilderness, dry flies can be highly effective. While nymphs can yield impressive results, the joy of landing a native greenback cutthroat on a dry fly you tied yourself is a uniquely special experience. Additionally, be prepared for any weather conditions by dressing in warm layers, as temperatures can fluctuate drastically throughout the day.

The Upper Colorado River: A Hidden Gem Revealed

Surprisingly overlooked by many anglers, the Upper Colorado River is a section that deserves more recognition. Stretching from Granby to Avon, this scenic river is mostly dominated by brown and rainbow trout, promising a thrilling fishing experience. With its high-quality water and picturesque surroundings, the Upper Colorado River is a dream come true for avid anglers. One of the key features of the Upper Colorado River is the excellent water conditions. The river’s beauty often makes it challenging to decide where to cast, as every spot seems perfect. You can expect success using a variety of large flies, from stonefly nymphs during the pre-runoff season to stonefly dries during the runoff period. As the season progresses, using stimulators and green drakes can also yield positive results. To make the most of fishing the Upper Colorado River, consider fly fishing during the early morning and late evening for optimal results. Additionally, the spring and fall seasons tend to offer the best fishing opportunities in terms of both quantity and quality.

Discover More Rivers and Fishing Adventures

If you find yourself longing for more fly fishing adventures in Colorado, there is good news. Our comprehensive river guides cover an additional 125 of the best fishing spots in Colorado. These guides provide all the information you need to succeed on the river, including hatch charts, recommended flies, tips on fishing techniques, weather reports, and more. By exploring these guides, you can embark on countless fishing expeditions and create unforgettable memories. Colorado offers a plethora of fantastic fly fishing opportunities, and these three public places are must-visit destinations for any angler. Whether you choose to explore the diverse stretches of the South Platte River, the untouched beauty of Indian Peaks Wilderness, or the hidden gem of the Upper Colorado River, you are in for a thrilling adventure. So pack your fishing gear, prepare for an unforgettable experience, and let the rivers of Colorado guide you to a world of excitement and serenity.

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