Colorado’s rivers were once famous during the 1800’s gold rush but now a surge of fly-fishermen and women, are flooding the rivers with rods and beers by the hundreds. Deeper into the rockies or the plains you go, the more the rods bend and likely for lines to rip, at an attempt to tame the wild west beasts of Colorado.
The river systems are loaded with Rainbow trout, Brown trout, and the infamous Colorado Native Cutthroat trout which deems the Hail Mary for Coloradians. Anyway you put it, fly fishing in Colorado, USA is where it’s at for the big players.
The rising popularity makes it easier than ever to hunt for fish as locals are happy to share river news and boast tall tales of prior big berthas. Many of the shops offer daily guides for lessons or to simply guarantee a catch for the day but usually the guy fishing next to you has all the knowledge of an ancient Monk. All in all, everyone is stoked to be on the river, hooting to hollering and drinking away with the current.
Visit Colorado Park and Wildlife for permit prices.
Those blessed with a raft or canoe will enjoy the perks of the Colorado River stretching a mellow 1,450 miles, where river rats converge to drift with beers and rods with the occasional water fight. Many sections of the river will have pull-offs where fins rise by the dozens and station yourself for a day of raging reels.
Be wary, party goers and paddlers cruise these rivers on blazing hot days with plenty of free campsites and live music at the State Bridge. RV’s and campers will be able to find pull offs and pay-for campsites outfitted with facilities.
If the Colorado River doesn’t appeal to your backcountry appetite, Steamboat Springs is an extra 2 hour drive that will give you access to miles of untouched rivers where the most revered fishermen trek towards. Nothing is worse than others getting too close to your lines but it often means a 30 minute hike through woods or marshes.
Be sure to bring all necessary gear since the weather in the plains and rockies are unpredictable and fast. Yet, you will reap the rewards and benefits of beautiful scenery and heavy catches that are often deemed dinner at the campsite. Downtown Steamboat is a worthy stop with an authentic western feel offering fresh cooked food and live music for the masses to enjoy.
An escape can mean driving hours to reach the small ski town of Telluride, revered for its panoramic view of 14,000ft monsters. Pristine South West terrain means many untouched fishing grounds allowing you to explore scenic spots and larger than life trout. You won’t find as many fishermen here so check out the river reports and take notes because I won’t be giving out all the secrets too easily.
If you make a visit in June, there will be a mandatory jam at the Telluride Bluegrass festival occurring June 16-19. Festival are held throughout the summer but feel free to escape deep into the mountains for BLM camping and smaller towns such as Silverton and Durango.
Photos by Oscar Ladd
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