Fly Fishing Big Thompson River
ons hold plenty of brook trout and cutthroat trout.
The creek offers about everything any avid small
stream angler could ask for. Casting is easy in most
places, yet most of the time, a twelve foot cast is all
you need. It offers pocket water fishing at its best.
The stream offers just about all the challenges a
small stream should offer. It has areas of tight cover
and thick streamside vegetation. You have to make
very good presentations in most cases. You have to
pay attention to what is hatching, and that isn't
exactly easy because multiple hatches are common.
Fly fishing St. Vrain Creek can be a little challenging
The St. Vrain Creek has three main forks that form
the main stream. Colorado state highway #7 follows
along about ten miles of the South Fork of St. Vrain
Creek. There are many places you can park and fish
along the road. There is a trailhead for the South
Fork located on County Road 96 off highway #72.
The trail will take you back into the high country.
The Middle Fork can be accessed from a trailhead in
Peaceful Valley. The trail goes all the way to the
headwaters of the Middle Fork. Some of the lower
part of the Middle Fork flows along highway #72.
The North Fork is found on Colorado #7. There is a
trailhead at Wild Basin that goes into the high country
of the Rocky Mountain National Park at this location.
You can also access the North Fork below Button
St. Vrain Creek is a small stream fishing paradise.
That probably only makes sense to a die hard small
stream angler but when compared to other streams
called "small" streams, it ranks right up at the top of
the list. The trout aren't all that big, but when you
catch a good one, you know you have done a good
job or got lucky one or the other. It is rare to blank.
The trout are far less than selective. Unless the
waters almost frozen, you can expect to hook into a
few little monsters. You won't have to fight the
competition, and if you use a little caution you won't
have to worry about fishing behind someone. Most of
the anglers are fishing the other more popular
streams in the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Most of the headwaters of this creek is in
very high country. It is a very cold stream.
The fishing generally starts in mid-April.
June is the time of the runoff.
Fly Fishing Guide to St. Vrain Creek
The three branches of the St. Vrain Creek
are quite small and run through canyons.
Fly fishing the St. Vrain backcountry is an
completely different from the fly fishing
along the road. You are almost unlimited to
just how far you want to go up the
headwater streams, however, generally
speaking, the farther you go the smaller the
streams and the smaller the fish get. Big
trout just don't live in small streams at
higher elevations. A big plus is that the
small cutthroat and brook trout that do
survive there are very aggressive and fairly
easy to catch.
These streams start at elevations as high as
12,000 feet. Just how far you venture
upstream will greatly depend on the physical
shape you are in. Most anglers heading into
the backcountry take only a minimum
amount of fly fishing gear. Most of the time
the basic gear consist of one shorter, light
fly rod and a small fly box with a few select
flies. The big advantage of the backcountry
trip is being able to get away from
everything and everybody where you can
just enjoy the natural beauty of the Rocky
Theres a lot of water readily accessible
from highways #7 and #72. When you are
fishing only a few yards from your vehicle,
you can take just about anything you want
along with you. You have a lot of options
fishing the mid to lower elevations that are
easily accessed. You will usually have a lot
more company consisting not only of other
anglers, but tourist as well. This Front
Range area gets a lot of visitors during the
Most all of the water, except for some
meadow type sections, consist of pocket
water. The three branches of St. Vrain
Creek decent from high elevations at a
steep decline. The best procedure, with
some exceptions, is to fish in an upstream
directions. The riffles and runs usually
produce the most fish. You can catch trout
from the pools but for the most part, we
suggest concentrating on the faster water.
One good tip we can give you is to place
your fly where you see the lines of
bubbles. That is where the food is most
likely to be drifting and where the trout are
most likely feeding.
St. Vrain Creek Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in St.
Vrain Creek and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Remember the elevation of the St. Vrain
Creek changes drastically from the
headwaters of its three branches to the
foothills. Hatch times vary considerably with
changes in elevation due to varying water
temperatures. Keep in mind our time tables
cover the entire spectrum so the hatch at
any one area may not be near as long as
the period of time stated.
The BWOs, or Blue-winged Olives,
consisting mostly of baetis species hatch
during April and May. These are bi-brooded
insects and hatch again about the middle of
September through October. They are as
important as any mayfly on this stream. The
next most important mayflies are the PMDs
or Pale Morning Duns which hatch from
about the last week of June through August.
Western March Browns hatch during the
month of April. These mayflies are very
plentiful on the St. Vrian Creek. Green
Drakes hatch during the months of July and
August. This hatch varies depending on the
location on the creek and the type of water.
Red Quills also hatch during July and
August. These mayflies are very plentiful in
Golden Stoneflies hatch from about the
middle of June into the month of August
depending on the location and elevation.
Little Yellow Stoneflies, or Yellow Sallies,
hatch from late May into August.
Brachycentrus Americanus or Little Black
Caddis, referred to as the Mother's Day
Hatch in many Western streams, start
hatching in late April. The hatch generally
last about three weeks but progresses
upstream each day.
Helicopsyche borealis, or the Speckled
Peter Caddisflies, hatch during June. They
can be very plentiful in certain
areas.Several species of Green Sedges, or
Green Caddisflies whichever you prefer, are
present. It includes the Rhyacophila
acropedes. The larvae of these caddisfiles
are called "Rock Worms" and imitations of
them are very effective just about anytime of
the year. These caddisflies hatch from
about the middle of May until through
Terrestrial insects become very important
from about the first of July through the
month of September. Imitations of
grasshopper, ants, and beetles will all catch
Streamers can be important flies to use
during low light conditions, or when the
water is stained from rain or melting snow.
The stream has a large population of
Sculpin, so imitations of them are always
As always, we recommend our "Perfect Fly"
trout flies. They are the most realistic and
most effective trout flies you can purchase.
If you haven't already done so, please give
them an opportunity to prove their
effectiveness to you. We are confident that
you will be glad you did.
Arctopsyche grandis, or the Great Gray
Spotted Sedges, hatch during the month of
July. These are very large caddisflies.
Hydropsyche species hatch throughout the
summer. They are the most plentiful of all
the caddisflies on the stream. Imitations of
their larvae, pupae and of the adults will
catch trout throughout the summer months.
They hatch from June through August.
The summer months are usually the best
months to fish.
Fly fishing St. Vrain Creekis great but low
flows can make it tougher to hide from and
fool the trout.
St. Vrain Creek Fishing Report:
01/10/14 You can fish the St. Vrain Creek
year-round but you must check to see the
roads are clear enough to reach it and
select the best, warmest days during the
winter. We don't have any reports of anyone
fishing it lately.
Big Thompson River Fly Fishing
Report Updated 12/31/18
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $100 are shipped via
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
Click the links for fly
including a description
of the streams, access
locations, species of
fish, a fly fishing guide,
a fly fishing report,
flies, fly fishing gear
and equipment, USGS
stream data, local
weather and much,