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Colorado River

The Colorado River in "Middle Park" flows through ranch land and is abundant with insect life and trout. Anglers can also expect to see an array of wildlife including Moose, Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Black Bear and a variety of birds including Bald Eagles, Blue Herron, Osprey, Hawks and other critters.Brown trout dominate this section of river, however, the rainbow trout population is in the increase. Dry fly fishing on the Upper Colorado River can be spectacular as trout are eager to rise and not as picky as fish in other major tail water rivers. 

In early spring, the first hatches of blue winged olives occur and the trout come alive after a long winter.
During this time, anglers will want to concentrate their efforts on nymphing as the trout get the majority of their food subsurface. Fish will rise to the adult bugs in the softer water but the riffles and runs hold the heavier feeding fish.

In mid to late April, the Colorado River begins to swell. Stoneflies begin to migrate and become the trout’s main source of food. Often times, during runoff, the Colorado River produces one of the best Salmon Fly hatches in the state. Sometimes the fish are so full from eating the migrating nymphs that they do not eat the adults. It can also be hard for the fish to see the adult stoneflies because the hatch usually occurs during runoff. On a lower water year when runoff isn’t as big, the water is clearer and the fish will rise and eat the adults. Timing the salmon fly hatch is hard to do.
If you’re lucky enough to experience this incredible act, you’ll understand what all the hype is about…you can fish dry flies the size of small birds! 

By late June and throughout the summer, more bugs begin to hatch, fish rise and the Colorado River is one of the best places to spend your day. Caddis, Yellow Sallies, Pale Moring Duns and Blue Winged Olives are the main insects you will find on this section of river. Fly fishing the Colorado River in the summer is a memorable experience and the weather is usually spectacular. Unfortunately, another bug that is more than abundant is the mosquito. The mosquitoes along the Colorado River can be overwhelming and are sometimes so thick that the fishing can be uncomfortable. Make sure you are well prepared with long sleeved shirts, a buff face mask and plenty of bug spray. The hardy angler this time of year can usually find solitude here because others do not wish to deal with the mosquitoes. 

As we move into late summer and early fall, we start to see lower flows and the introduction of the Trico mayfly. These tiny little aquatic insects hatch in prolific swarms and trout feed heavily on the emerging adult and the spinners. Trout rise in slow current areas, in big numbers, and gorge themselves on these easy and defenseless targets. Dry fly fishing enthusiasts can work the river methodically searching for rising trout. The trick is figuring out which Trico the fish are eating, the male or female. The males have a black body and the females are green. Having a good supply of both is important this time of year.

Once fall sets in on the upper Colorado River, anglers can expect fewer mosquitoes and more anglers. The weather is as good as it gets offering the quintessential Guided Fly Fishing Trip in Colorado. Cool mornings and warm afternoons provide for some of the best fishing of the year. The brown trout are preparing to spawn and typically feed heavily. The streamer fishing picks up this time of year and anglers with casting skills can cover a lot of water moving some of the river’s largest fish. Fishing heavier line with big flies can oftentimes produce some explosive bites. 

As winter approaches the fishing continues to be good. There are fewer anglers and the fish feed heavily preparing for the cold season. Mornings can start out in the low-to-mid teens with afternoons reaching the 50’s and 60’s. Dressing in layers and allowing for changes in weather is a must. Once the morning starts to warm up, fish can be found in the slow water and “tail outs” rising to midges. This is one of the best times to catch fish on dries. After the morning midge hatch, fish continue to feed throughout the day subsurface. 

Fly Fishing the Colorado River is an adventure every angler should experience. It’s unique and robust characteristics make it one of the best fisheries in the world. As a gold metal Colorado trout fishing destination, regulations are artificial fly and lure only and catch and release. All trout caught must be immediately returned to the river. Hiring an experienced Colorado Fly Fishing Guide will ensure that your trip is safe, educational and enjoyable. To book a trip with one of our professional Denver fly fishing guides give us a call at (303) 324-1854 or CLICK HERE.
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