Fish with Cutthroat in one of Colorado’s Finest
The Blue is a tributary of the Colorado River, joining the Colorado River at Kremmling. At approximately 65 miles long, the Blue rises in southern Summit County on the western side of the continental divide in the Ten Mile Range, near Quandary Peak. Blue River fly fishing hits its peak towards the middle of summer, and when the Drakes pop, the Blue River is the place to be.
Flowing through the town of Breckenridge, the nickname for the main area of the Upper Blue River is “The Steps” because it has a lot of divots for trout to hide. Most of the Blue River is wade fishing, and it’s easily accessible via multiple trails. It holds a healthy mix of rainbows and brown trout, and a number of improvements have been made structurally to the river to improve their habitat even more.
This area of the Blue is special to us because it flows through Silverthorne, running directly behind our shop. The area is designated gold metal water by the state, and a bike path runs all along area with plenty of restaurant access nearby for those who like their light fishing with a side of heavy snacking. Most wade this area, and many know that the fish of a lifetime may be holding out below the dam. Trout (mainly rainbow) over 24 inches are spotted frequently. Due to the dam, mechanics the cold water limits the trout diet to smaller bugs and mysis but protein rich. This provides beautiful fish in both size and color. Mysis shrimp make up a majority of trout’s diet and allow the trout to grow to large sizes.
The Blue continues north and fills Green Mountain Reservoir at the northern end of Summit County. Highway 9 parallels the river and offers numerous public pullouts for Blue river fly fishing, including the Eagles Nest, Sutton Unit, and Blue River Campground accesses. This can be a very fickle stretch of river with one day offering banner fishing and the next seemingly being a Colorado fly fishing ghost town. Private landowners often stock this stretch, and your chance at catching a trophy fish that swims up or down river is high. Wade this section to find rainbow trout, brown trout and Kokanee Salmon.
The first 3 miles below the dam are public and flow through a large canyon. The large, severe canyon makes for seriously stunning scenery, but this area can be difficult to traverse in the winter months. There are high flows, but the fishing is year round. It’s one of the most diverse and best areas for bug life on the Blue River. In general, it’s more of a nymph fishery, but there are short periods of crazy-good dry fly fishing. Wade for the chance at a fish-of-a-lifetime brown or rainbow trout.