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Colorado River

Closeup of hand holding large trout just above the water in the Colorado River

14 Day Forecast: Look for hatches of midges, blue-winged olives, and Tricos.

Effective Patterns: #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20 Mercury Midge, #22 Black Beauty, #20 Red Larva, #20 Manhattan Midge, #22 Stalcup's Baetis, #14-16 San Juan Worm, #20-22 Juju Baetis, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #18-20 Mercury Pheasant Tail, #20-24 RS 2, #18-20 Buckskin, #18-20 Sparkle Dun, and #22-26 Parachute Adams.

Measurements

Colorado River – Near Kremmling

Flow: 1070 ft3/s
Temp: 27 °F
Wind: 16 MPH N
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Colorado River – Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 2270 ft3/s
Temp: 18 °F
Wind: 11 MPH SW
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Colorado River – Near Dotsero

Flow: 1490 ft3/s
Temp: 30 °F
Wind: N/A W
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Colorado River – Below Corral Creek

Flow: 1490 ft3/s
Temp: 27 °F
Wind: 16 MPH N
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Stream Report, Effective Patterns, & Expert Information for Fly Fishing the Colorado River

The Colorado River begins its journey in Rocky Mountain National Park and heads west offering anglers several opportunities to sample this great stream. Near the small community of Granby is the confluence of the Fraser River. At this point the river is a meandering, meadow stream flowing through lush ranchland and the river remains this way until it hit Byers Canyon. Byers Canyon is only about 3/4 mile long and this section is tough to negotiate, especially during higher flows. Below Byers Canyon the river is “as good as it gets” with many access points including Paul Gilbert, Lone Buck, Kemp-Breeze, Sun Set Ranch, Powers Unit, Reeder Creek and the Pump House to Radium stretch. The Colorado is lined with cottonwood trees and willows and is a dry fly paradise. Anglers can expect to catch a mixed bag of both browns and rainbows. The regulations in this area are flies and lures only and all fish must be returned to the water immediately.

Fishing the Colorado River should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether you're a walk/wade fisherman or prefer float-fishing, this river has something for everyone!

Tips & Other Information:

The Colorado River has shaped up nicely and is currently fishing well.  The leaves are peaking now, and the brown trout spawn is beginning. Anglers can expect to see a strong midge hatch in the morning, followed by Tricos, then a reliable “olive” hatch in the afternoon. In the slower pools and tailouts, the dry fly fishing has been very good.

Note:  Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Denver Water are conducting a stream restoration project on the Williams Fork River (below the reservoir to the confluence of the Colorado) that will begin on October 1, 2019 and last 4 to 6 weeks. Expect heavy equipment in the river, low flows, and muddy water for several weeks. I am told they will begin working at 7:00 a.m. each morning and continue working throughout the day, so plan accordingly. I would highly recommend another location, as the fishing will be poor with the muddy water.  This will also affect the clarity on the Colorado River for miles.  Your best bet is to fish Pumphouse or above the confluence of the Williams Fork in Lone Buck, Paul Gilbert, etc. 

Pat Dorsey Fly Fishing