Between Frisco and Copper Mountain, on the south side of the interstate, you will find Ten Mile Creek and some of the best fly fishing in the Breckenridge area. Undeservedly, this stream is often overlooked by anglers for the better-known rivers.
Access is very easy out of Frisco because the public bike path parallels the stream. Park at the trailhead of the bike path on the west side of Frisco and pack in your gear. The entire stretch of water between Frisco and Copper Mountain is public, so enter the river anywhere. To cut down on the hike, you can enter the river towards the middle section by exiting I-70 at the Officer’s Gulch exit and parking on the south side of the interstate. Ask any locals about great fly fishing in Breckenridge and Frisco and they will probably point you towards Ten Mile Creek.
Ten Mile Creek is relatively small in size and flow, primarily featuring pocket water. During runoff’s high flows the creek can be almost unfishable due to its steep gradient. Eight to twelve inch trout are the typical size you will encounter. But, an occasional 18-inch refugee from Lake Dillon can be found in the deeper runs, which can put up a tremendous fight in the fast moving current of Ten Mile. Stop in on your way to grab the right flies for fishing and some last minute advice at our tackle shop in Silverthorne.
An interesting note, the current streambed of Tenmile Creek is not the original riverbed. Tenmile Creek originally flowed on the north side of Tenmile Canyon. The riverbed was re-dredged to accommodate the construction of I-70 during the 1970s. At the time, this was one of the largest stream improvement projects in the country.
An Uncrowded Stream
Even with easy access to the entire stream, you will rarely encounter another angler. A few locals take advantage of the vacant stream during their lunch break, but with almost six miles of river, a short hike further upstream should find isolation. If you are fly fishing Breckenridge or Frisco for a weekend focus your attention on the stretches close to Frisco and Copper Mountain. These are flatter and feature more fishable water. The turbid water near Officer’s Gulch is very technical and frustrating pocket water.
Attractor patterns are generally the flies of choice in Ten Mile Creek fished as a dry-dropper combo. Using the right flies for fishing is important but not critical. Due to the tight confines, casting can be a challenge on Ten Mile Creek. Overhanging trees and willows seem to reach for your back cast at inopportune times, so anglers need to be aware of their surroundings. Eager, feeding trout tend to make you forget about the occasional snagged backcast.