The Colorado River begins in Rocky Mountain National Park. During its trek west, the Colorado forms one of the most important waterways west of the Continental Divide until it reaches the Gulf of California. and is a great place to take fly fishing lessons. The section of river that flows between Hot Sulphur Springs west to the Glenwood Springs area, is what's most popular among anglers in the area.
The Upper Colorado, between Byers Canyon and Kremmling, offers easy walk-and-wade access that is great for anglers of all skill levels. The Upper C. flows through exceptional ranchland and is lined with cottonwoods, willows, and lush green grasses. 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 and adds cold, clear water to the Colorado, which attracts large populations of trout and large crowds. There is also lots of standing water in this area, and the mosquitoes can be down right nasty. Don't forget to bring your bug repellent.
As you follow the river downstream, it flows through Gore Canyon west of Kremmling. This area boasts extreme rapids and attracts many world-class kayakers each season. This section is very dangerous, and fishing here should be avoided. The Blue River dumps into the Colorado towards the middle of the canyon, which then 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 this middle stretch. 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.
At the Pumphouse access, Colorado River fly fishing anglers can hike into the canyon in order to avoid the crowds. Pumphouse is a very popular boat launch for float trips and rafting trips. The turbid canyon waters surrounding Pumphouse offer the perfect habit for one of the best hatches this river has to offer, the Salmonfly. These giant bugs hatch towards the end of May and can offer unparalleled action as long as high water from run-off doesn’t wreak havoc on the river first.
Floating the Colorado is the most effective option for anglers looking for great river fishing between the areas of Pumphouse and Dotsero. There are over 60 miles of river to float below the Pumphouse access, making it a great spot to experience some wonderful fly fishing. 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 epic streamer fishing in the fall. This float passes through ranchlands and slow moving water, to canyons and white water. Make sure to bring your camera!
The Lower Colorado, below Dotsero, is where the Eagle River joins in to boost the flow. The river here 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. Drifting this stretch of water is the way to go. The Lower Colorado 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 24-inches in length. When its on, this section, while lesser known, will rival any river in the West as a prime trout fishery.
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