Colorado is a trout fisherman’s paradise. Streams start as a mere trickle tumbling down jagged mountain ranges, flowing over boulder fields, through steep canyons, and past sprawling meadows drenched in seasonal wildflowers. The numbers are impressive: Over 8,000 miles of rivers and streams, 2,000 lakes and reservoirs, and more than 168 miles of gold medal status water. Regardless if you are a serious angler or just a beginner looking to cast a line, Colorado has a place for you.
Fishing Eastern Colorado is a mix of high-alpine lakes, rushing rivers, and quiet reservoirs. Flowing from the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park is the South Platteand Cache la Poudre. Elusive brown trout are known to play with anglers, while a wide variety of seasonal hatches mean plenty of fishing time.
Just a bit south of Denver is Colorado’s longest river, the Arkansas, originating and tumbling down from the SawatchMountain Range. As the Arkansas races towards the Kansas border, anglers can chose between high-elevation headwaters to level plains with wide open banks.
Southwestern Colorado is home to one of, if not, our favorite mountain range: The San Juan Mountains. Two major rivers flow through this corner of the state-the Upper Rio Grande and San Juan-and both have gold medal status sections, seasonal hatches, and views fit for a postcard.
But the granddaddy if you may, is the Salmon Fly hatch that occurs in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Once a tight kept secret inside the fishing community, the hatch was exposed in one of the greatest fly fishing movies ever. Simply titled “The Hatch”, this required viewing would get any anglers blood pumping. Big fish, ugly bugs, and steep rugged banks. Could life get any better?
Other hotspots include Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Lake City.
North Western Colorado
Sandwiched between the Continental Divide and Utah border, anglers have their choice of lakes, reservoirs, streams, and raging rivers. Local angler and renowned guide book author, Ron Bard, points out in a recent guide to fishing that two great spots include the Upper Colorado River by Hot Sulphur Springs, and the White River. Other notable lakes and reservoirs include Steamboat Lake, and high alpine lakes hidden deep within the Flat Top Wilderness.
Colorado requires all fishermen to have a valid fishing license. For more information check out the rules and regulations on Colorado Division of Wildlife’s homepage.