Colorado is home to the West’s most legendary fly-fishing. From the rushing waters of Rocky Mountain National Park, the ponds, streams, and creeks of Boulder and Boulder Canyon, the alpine lakes of the Indian and James Peak Wildernesses, and the canyons of the Upper Colorado River. Colorado is flush with many different trout species, some unique only to this area, and the fishing here is exhilarating, challenging, and ultimately rewarding, with great fish and even better views. From float fishing to wade, here are some of our favorite fly-fishing spots in the Front Range.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The pride and joy of fly-fishing in the Front Range is Rocky Mountain National Park. With it’s pristine alpine lakes, spectacular skyline, and wide variety of animal life and fish species, Rocky Mountain National Park, either for a single or multi-day itineraries. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to four distinct trout species: brown, brook, rainbow, and cutthroat, which are native only to Colorado. Fishing is usually best in the lower lakes and streams, where a stable temperature and water environment is more conducive to healthy populations, but there is also success with fishing at a higher elevation as well.
Upper Colorado River
Set North of Boulder and Denver, near Steamboat, the Upper Colorado River is a world wholly divided from the rest of Colorado. Mountains give way to dry desert-like basins, red rock canyons, rushing waters, and the headwaters of the Colorado River with some of the best fly-fishing in the state. The Upper Colorado is perfect for either float or wade fly-fishing, from exploring the area between Pumphouse and Statebridge, while the wades from Pumphouse and Radium are centered around the various natural and rock islands around the river. With lots of sun and shade, the river excels in daylong fishing, with plenty of eddies and holes in the rapids. The Upper Colorado has some of the most prime fishing in the state.
Boulder Creek, set in the heart of the Canyon, is one of the closest and most accessible fishing spots in the Front Range, set just 10 minutes outside of the city. The creek winds its way all the way up to Nederland, providing fishermen a bevy of spots along the roadside to cast, all the way into Downtown Boulder. Trout here are very eager and dries, nymphs, or streamers will catch you plenty of energetic rainbow, cutbow, and brown trout. Boulder Creek fishes exceptionally well in the early spring and late summer to fall, with early mornings and late afternoons typically the best time to cast. The Creek has plenty of holes and hidden eddies, and it’s even possible to find stragglers in the dead of winter!
For those looking for a more relaxed experience, the Boulder Ponds offer an introductory fly-fishing experience right from the shore. The Boulder Ponds are stocked with bass and bluegill and with its proximity to Downtown Boulder and easy fishing, it’s a great place to bring kids or new fisherman and teach the basics before moving to Boulder’s more robust waterways. The Boulder Ponds are also home to many other animals such as Canada geese, bald eagles, and muskrats. For those looking for a great first fly-fishing experience, the Boulder Ponds are the right combination of laid back fishing, exciting wildlife, and variety of fish.
Set just west of Colorado Springs, Eleven-Mile Canyon features some of the best and most easily accessible fly-fishing in Central Colorado. The canyon is stock with trout and a small selection of salmon. Accessible to float or wade, the canyon is great for beginner or intermediate anglers. Eleven-Mile is a great spot for winter fly-fishing due to its tailwaters, and the southern climate helps it remain stable year round. The sunny climate has fish biting all day and it’s perfect for small flies, which catch various species of large trout.