The Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing in Colorado: Part 4, Recommended Beginner Fishing Spots

Ready to explore the great wide open and start casting? You’ll need a few hotspot recommendations to make your first outing a success. Check out some of the best places to begin your fly fishing career and get started today:

The Big Thompson: The Big Thompson is located close to Denver and also known as “The Big T.” It’s well stocked and easy to work with, and features “easy beginner fly patterns.”

The Big Thompson River in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

The Big Thompson River in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Boulder Creek: Boulder Creek is another option found close to Denver. The fish here love dry fly bait and other “simple presentations,” and many anglers fish in the same hole with great success.

The Upper Colorado River: The Upper Colorado is ideal for streamer and nymph fishing. It’s wide but not fast moving.

Upper Arkansas River: This river winds through a variety of landscapes before entering Bighorn Sheep Canyon, located below Salida. It offers some 40 miles of public fishing access, with brown and rainbow trout found in abundance. Float fishing is a popular method for catching brown trout in the Upper Arkansas, though wade fishing is still very common.

South Platte River: The South Platte River is loaded with rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and cutbow trout, as well as suckers, bass, carp, and Kokanee salmon. It provides 15 public access points, all of which are excellent.

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South Platte River in Colorado

Indian Peaks Wilderness: Interconnected streams, lakes, and pristine wilderness make up this wild section of Colorado, which features one of the “largest concentrations of greenback cutthroat trout in the world.”

Animas River: The River of Lost Souls flows through the southwestern city of Durango, which offers public access areas. The river stretches as many as 100 feet wide in various sections, and features sizeable boulders as well as deep pools beloved by trout.

Gore Creek: The peaceful mountain stream may be small, but its rainbow, brook, brown, and cutthroat trout are huge. The Upper Gore Creek north of Vail and the Lower Gore Creek south of Vail are your two best options.

The Frying Pan River: The Frying Pan River is known all over the world for its lure and fly trout fishing. It’s incredibly well managed by the state of Colorado, and very large rainbows are common. The water is also clear for easy fishing.

Blue Mesa Reservoir: This reservoir is the largest body of water in the western state, and offers 96 miles of beautiful shoreline. The Blue Mesa Reservoir is incredibly well stocked with rainbow trout, but also offers brown, lake, and brook trout.

Gunnison River: The Gunnison is loaded with trout, particularly brown, rainbow, and cutthroat. It eventually feeds into the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Gunnison River in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado

Gunnison River in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado

North Delaney Lake: The North Delaney Lake is one of three mountain lakes in the Delaney Buttes, and is laden with brown trout.

Rio Grande: Fishing in the San Juan Mountains between South Fork and Del Norte is best when fly fishing the Rio Grande, as there are plenty of rainbows and browns.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir: This reservoir offers much in the way of brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout, and remains a popular summer fishing destination.

Blue River: The Tail Water section of the Blue River is recommended for fly fishing. It’s located below Lake Dillon, and offers lots and lots of enormous trout.

Eagle River in Colorado

Eagle River in Colorado

Eagle River: One of the last large Freestone rivers left in Colorado.  The eagle is a very diverse fishery in that it starts on the top of Tennessee pass and 77 miles late finds its way to the Colorado river.  Brown, Rainbow and Cutthroat trout are the most prevalent species.

With all of the gear and planning required, getting started with fly fishing can be tricky. Let us teach you how to fish! Contact us to work with one of our fly guides and catch more fish!


This post is part of a series on Fly Fishing for Beginners. Catch up on the other posts here:

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