Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Crystal River, Colorado
As mentioned in the introduction, fly fishing the Crystal River is greatly controlled by the
amount of melting snow and particularly the rainfall. It can discolor and even muddy the
stream to the point your wouldn't want to fish it. Getting the streamflow readings and
weather forecast is important.
If it is just numbers of fish you are interested in or if you have a beginning angler that
want some action without too much difficulty, the public water between Marble and
Redstone is regularly stocked by the state of Colorado and one be a good place to fish.
You may also want to consider the brook trout which are plentiful in the area between
Crystal and Lead King Basin. A hike is required to access this area.
One of the best areas to fish is near the confluence of the Crystal River and the Roaring
Fork River. It is a great place to catch rainbows when they start their spawning ritual
during the Spring and for the brown trout when they begin to move to their spawning
areas in the Fall.
Only the last six miles of the river isn't within the boundaries of the White River National
Forest. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of private property within the forest. Don't
make the assumption it is public water because of that. Some of the river in the upper
areas can be accessed from the campgrounds along the river and the road turnouts.
Keep in mind the water is not the best water to be found in Colorado for aquatic insects.
The area has a lot of mining history and the water has a relatively low pH and a water
chemistry that is not suitable for a lot of aquatic insects. The closer you fish to a tributary
stream, the more likely it is trout are present. Also, the closer you fish to its confluence
with the Roaring Fork River, the more likely you will find higher concentrations of trout.
Also, keep in mind that this is a swift flowing river and the fish will be holding in the
current seams and places the trout can feed yet hold out of the fast water. Short
accurate cast generally work far better than long cast. Also, nymphs and streamers
generally work better than dry flies.
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Crystal River Colorado