Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Colorado River, Colorado
The methods and techniques used to fly fish the Colorado River strictly depends on
where you are fishing the river. The size of the stream and the type of water varies
considerably from its headwaters to the western state line.
The upper river is inside the Rocky Mountains National Park. It is a typical small
stream that starts in the Kawuneechee Valley. Shadow Mountain Lake impounds the
river about fifteen miles from its start. The stream is accessible inside and just
outside the park at several locations. The stream is mostly shallow riffles with some
deep undercut banks with plenty of brown, rainbow and brook trout. It is a good
place for beginners to fish.
The Fraser River joins the Colorado near Grandby and the stream becomes larger.
A little impoundment collects water from both the Fraser and the Colorado river
which is transported to the east slope through the Big Thompson Project. From
Windy Gap to the Troublesome Creek confluence the river is deemed Gold Metal
Water by the state.
Below Grandby it flows through ranch land except for the Byers Canyon area located
near Hot Sulphur Springs. In this area, called the Middle Park, the river parallels US
highway 40 to Kremmling. The Blue River joins in the flow near Kremmling and the
river gets larger and faster and flows through Gore Canyon. In this area the popular
Elktrout Lodge has five miles of private water on the Colorado and a couple of miles
on the Blue River. They offer package deals including lodging.
Except during the spring runoff, the water can be floated from the downstream end
of the Gore Canyon to Dotsero. Runoff usually ends around the first or second week
of July. The river flows though a lot of private land in this area. Below Dotsero the
river goes into the Glenwood Canyon. This area is basically just too rough to fish
although there are a couple of places the river can be accessed and fished.
By the time the river get to Glenwood Springs it is large and quite deep. The Roaring
Fork River adds to its flow. Below Glenwood Springs the river flows through a large
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