FLY FISHING THE COLORADO RIVER
The Colorado River humbly begins in Rocky Mountain National Park. During its trek west, the Colorado forms one of the major waterways west of the Continental Divide until it reaches the Gulf of California and is a great place to take fly fishing lessons. At Cutthroat Anglers, we focus our attention on Colorado River fly fishing from below Hot Sulphur Springs west to Glenwood Springs.
The Upper Colorado
Locally referred to as the Upper C., the stretch between Byers Canyon and Kremmling offers exceptional walk-and-wade access great for fly fishing lessons. The Upper C. flows through exceptional ranchland and is lined with cottonwoods and willows. Many popular public access points for Colorado River fly fishing include Paul Gilbert, Breeze Unit, and Sunset Ranch. The Williams Fork River joins the Colorado at the town of Parshall. This adds cold, clear water to the Colorado, which attracts large populations of trout and large crowds.
Fly Fishing the Gore Canyon
As you follow downstream, the river flows through Gore Canyon west of Kremmling. Gore Canyon boasts extreme rapids and attracts many world-class kayakers each season. This section is for professional use only and should be avoided for fly fishing lessons. The Blue River dumps into the Colorado towards the middle of the canyon, which filters additional cold, clear water into the mix. Colorado River fly fishing access is available at the end of the canyon at the Pumphouse Recreation access. The Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad parallels the river through the middle stretch. Riparian vegetation includes cottonwoods and willows, and is interspersed with sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, and a variety of other mountain brush depending on the elevation. Archaeologists recently uncovered evidence that the Colorado River, near State Bridge, was home to humans over 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. The Ute Indians occupied the area until the late 1800’s until the railroad began to extend west past the Front Range. Colorado River fly fishing is only for the professionals but is a beautifully scenic and historic area.
Colorado River fly fishing anglers can hike into the canyon to avoid the crowds. Pumphouse is a very popular boat launch for float trips and rafting trips inlcuding fly fishing lessons. The turbid canyon waters surrounding Pumphouse offer the perfect habit for Pteronarcys californica, commonly known as the Salmonfly. These giant bugs hatch towards the end of May and can offer unparalleled action as long as run-off doesn’t wreak havoc on the river first. Drop into our tackle shop to get more detailed info about what gear is needed here.
Floating the Colorado
Floating the Colorado is the most effective option for anglers looking for great Colorado river fly fishing between Pumphouse and Dotsero. There is over 60 miles of river to float below Pumphouse making for a great spot to experience fly fishing lessons. Combine that with almost a dozen boat ramps, and you have an unbelievable river to float. This is perfect dry-dropper water throughout the summer, and boasts banner streamer fishing in the fall. This float is an exercise in contrast. Anglers pass through ranchlands and slow moving water to canyons and white water. Bring your camera.
Walk-and-wade anglers will find numerous access points for Colorado river fly fishing near Radium, Rancho del Rio, and State Bridge. This entire stretch’s fishing conditions are related to stable flows and clear water perfect for fly fishing lessons.
Fly Fishing the Lower Colorado
Below Dotsero, the Eagle River joins the Colorado boosting the flow. The river is relatively non-descript for a lengthy stretch until Glenwood Canyon. The entire west side of the canyon is public; however, parking access is limited and hiking the canyon can be difficult. We refer to this section of the Colorado near the Glenwood Springs area as the Lower C. For Colorado river fly fishing we primarily drift this stretch starting at Two Rivers Park and continue past Silt. The Lower C. is big fish water! The Roaring Fork River joins the Colorado at Glenwood Springs, which increases the flow and helps create prime habitat for monster trout. The deep runs and pools are home to trout that can exceed 20-inches in length. When its on, the Lower C., while lesser known, will rival any river in the West as a prime trout fishery.Colorado river fly fishing is focused on drifting through this section and can be a great area fly fishing lessons to take place.