Your Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Colorado

Your Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Colorado

best fly fishing

Most avid anglers you find will tell you how great their time on the water makes them feel, both physically and mentally. But did you know that fly fishing might benefit your brain health?

Researchers at Harvard University acknowledged the solitude, focus, and idyllic natural settings as factors that lowered stress for anglers. Studies also showed that fly fishing helped combat veterans reduce their symptoms of PTSD and helped them sleep better.

Whether you’re just beginning your fly fishing journey or you’re a seasoned pro, i’m sure you’ve expirianced the peace that comes from wading through a crystal clear river rod in hand, searching for fish. In this article, we’ll discover the best fly fishing in the beautiful state of Colorado.

Keep reading to learn more.

Why Is Colorado Among the Best Fly Fishing Destinations?

Colorado might be one of the best states for outdoor adventures. Skiing, hiking, climbing, and camping are all best when done in Colorado. But Colorado’s fly fishing is second to none.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife team hatches and stocks more than 90 million fish per year. This ensures that Colorado’s rivers and lakes are filled with strong healthy fish.

Colorado’s rivers are home to a wide variety of fish, often giving anglers the oppertunity to catch multiple species in one stretch of river. Brown trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and even landlocked kokanee salmon, can be found in our mountain rivers and creeks. Anglers also have access to local rivers and reserviors full of bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye, and more!

Where to Go Fly Fishing in Colorado

There is so much water in our beautiful state that it can be tough to choose what river or lake is going to be the best option for your day on the water. Luckily Minturn Anglers’ staff of professional guides have dedicated countless hours to mastering the local rivers and are here to help cut the guesswork out for you!

The Eagle River

The Eagle flows from right behind our Minturn location down about 40 miles west along I-70 until it dumps into the Colorado River at Dotsero. Public water can be tougher to find as much of the river flows through private land but dont worry! Our shop staff and guides can help you find the best access points between the private land!

Anglers can find a diverse selection of water from the small gin clear upper river perfect for hoppers and dry flies, to the wide sweeping bends and fast-moving pocket water of the middle and lower river where the larger fish have been known to hide.

The Eagle is Colorado’s longest remaining freestone river so the snowpack and runoff dictates the best time of year to be on the river but tyically our favorite window to be out there is April-August.

The Blue River

Near the old mining town of Silverthorne is the Blue River. The Blue River is a mysis tailwater that is a bit of an oddity.  Nearest the dam, the Blue runs through the Silverthorne Outlet Mall and under the interstate.

Many anglers have found themselves landing a beautifully colored up trout (mysis-fed fish tend to be more colorful) to the cheers of mall shoppers.  The Blue is within an hour’s drive of Denver, so it tends to be more crowded with much more picky and difficult fish to catch than most other waters.

Further downstream toward the confluence with the Colorado River, the Blue is much less technical and far more pristine than it is within Silverthorne.

Cheesman Canyon

Cheesman Canyon is one of the more legendary and remote fly fishing spots in Colorado. You’ll need to hike into the Canyon on the Gill Trail to access this 3.5-mile stretch of the South Platte River, but the rewards in views and trout are worth it.

Another tailwater, Cheesman is fishable year-round and the hike plus the air temperature in the winter almost guarantees that you will see only a handful of other anglers should you venture out in the winter.

Although Cheesman Canyon does not have mysis as a food source, the sub-surface structure, remote location, and fact it is a tailwater produce consistently large trout.

Dream Stream

Located near Hartsel, Colorado’s Dream Stream is another legendary portion of the South Platte River that is capable of producing huge trout.

The Dream Stream’s surrounding area is flat prairie, making for an easy walk however, the lack of trees in the area nearly guarantees that wind will be a constant factor during the day.

The Dream Stream is another tailwater and is a relatively very short section of water in between Spinney Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir.

The brevity of this stretch concentrates trout moving up from Eleven Mile Reservoir to spawn in the river; Rainbows in the spring and Browns in the fall. This brings the opportunity for anglers at world-class trout that follow and feed on the eggs of the spawning fish.

The Arkansas River

The Arkansas River stretches over 100 miles of what most Colorado anglers would consider fly fishing water.  It is home to the famous Mother’s Day Caddis hatch in May, which is the basis for many stories of amazing fishing.

Being a freestone, it is much more affected by seasonal flows, and is one of the few outstanding candidates for a float trip within the state.

Although the Arkansas River is within “Colorado’s Banana Belt” from Nathrop to Salida, it is not a first choice for winter fly fishing in the freestone stretch.

There is, however, a tailwater section within the city of Pueblo that is best fly fished during the late fall through early spring when little water is being released from the Pueblo Reservoir dam.

Guided Fly Fishing Experiences and More

Fly fishing is our favorite way to get outside and connect with all the nature and wilderness Colorado has to offer, but we can also combine fishing with other outdoor activities to make the day even more memorable. Whether its a scenic horseback ride to and from the fishing spot or a riverside picnic lunch after a day to catching fish, Minturn Anglers has you covered for your next adventure!

Minturn Anglers offers experienced guide services to enhance your trip, as well as top-of-the-line equipment in either of our two fly shops.

Fly Fishing Guide Services in Colorado

Whether you’re just starting your fly fishing journey and looking to learn or your an old pro who just wants a guide to show him a new stretch of river, the best fly fishing guides in Colorado are waiting at Minturn Anglers.

Contact us to speak with one of Minturn Anglers expert shop staff. We’ll be happy to help with river reports and booking your Colorado fly fishing adventure.

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Tyler Banker

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