Skip to content

Exploring the Best Public Places to Fly Fish in Colorado

Colorado: A Fisherman’s Paradise

For those who love to fly fish, Colorado is a dream destination. With over 200 rivers teeming with fish, the state offers endless opportunities to test your skills and reel in some impressive catches. Having spent nearly 15 years exploring the waters of Colorado, I have come to discover some hidden gems that I believe are among the top three best public places to fly fish in the state.

The South Platte River: A Haven for Fly Fishing Enthusiasts

One of my personal favorites is the South Platte River. Spanning numerous sections such as Dream Stream, Cheeseeman Canyon, Deckers, and Waterton Canyon, the South Platte River boasts an abundance of fishing spots. With over 15 public access points, this river is home to a diverse range of fish species, including rainbows, browns, cutthroats, cutbows, suckers, carp, bass, and even kokanee salmon. The South Platte River offers a variety of fishing experiences, from navigating the technical water of Cheeseeman Canyon to enjoying the meandering valley stream of Dream Stream, where you can catch some of the largest trout in the state.

Advice for Fishing the South Platte

When it comes to fishing the South Platte, I have a few tips. Firstly, opt for smaller flies in the tailwater sections. I have had great success using small midges and baetis patterns, even though they may be smaller than what I am used to. Additionally, it is crucial to be patient and focus on specific areas instead of trying to cover the entire canyon in a day. With up to 3,000 fish per mile in some stretches, taking your time and finding the right spot will likely yield better results.

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Pristine Beauty and Abundant Trout

If you are seeking a fly fishing adventure amidst pristine wilderness, then the Indian Peaks Wilderness is the place to be. This area is home to numerous lakes, interconnecting streams, and untouched beauty. It holds one of the largest concentrations of greenback cutthroat trout in the state, making it a fantastic trout fishery. The crystal-clear water of Indian Peaks requires careful presentations and sometimes smaller tippet, but the reward of catching these beautiful fish amidst breathtaking scenery is well worth it.

Tips for Fly Fishing in Indian Peaks Wilderness

When venturing into the Indian Peaks Wilderness, timing is everything. As many of the lakes sit above 9,000 feet, the best months for comfortable fishing weather are June through October. Additionally, while nymphs may be reliable, don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the thrill of catching native greenback cutthroat on dry flies. Finally, always dress appropriately for the ever-changing weather conditions, as Colorado’s mountains can be unpredictable. Layering your clothing ensures you’ll be prepared for rain, hail, lightning storms, snow, intense sun, and drastic temperature changes.

The Upper Colorado River: A Hidden Gem

A hidden gem that I, regrettably, overlooked for years is the Upper Colorado River. Stretching from Granby to the Pumphouse area near Avon, this section of the Colorado is dominated by brown and rainbow trout, and they are of exceptional quality. What makes this river special is the sheer beauty of its water and the difficulty in finding a bad drift. Every part of the river looks promising, making it a fly fisherman’s paradise.

Tips for Fly Fishing the Upper Colorado

When fishing the Upper Colorado, stoneflies are your best friend. These insects are a major food source for trout in the area, and imitating them with nymphs or dries can yield excellent results. Starting in March, try using patterns like Bitch Creeks or Pat’s Rubber Legs for the best chance of hooking brown trout in the 14-16 inch range. Additionally, fishing early in the morning or late in the evening, especially during spring or fall, tends to bring the most success.

Explore Colorado’s Rivers: A World of Opportunity

If you’re eager to discover even more fly fishing hotspots in Colorado, there’s good news. Alongside my personal favorites, there are 125 other rivers waiting to be explored across the state. Each river offers its own unique experience, and with comprehensive river guides available, you’ll have access to vital information such as hatch charts, top fly recommendations, tips on fishing the river, and even weather reports.

Colorado truly is a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts. With its abundance of beautiful rivers and diverse fish populations, the state offers endless opportunities for anglers to test their skills. Whether you choose the South Platte River, Indian Peaks Wilderness, the Upper Colorado River, or any other river in Colorado, be prepared for memorable fly fishing adventures and the chance to catch some remarkable fish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *