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About the Upper Colorado River

The Colorado River begins its journey in Rocky Mountain National Park and heads west offering anglers several opportunities to sample this great stream. Near the small community of Granby is the confluence of the Fraser River. At this point the river is a meandering, meadow stream flowing through lush ranchland and the river remains this way until it hit Byers Canyon. Byers Canyon is only about 3/4 mile long and this section is tough to negotiate, especially during higher flows. Below Byers Canyon the river is “as good as it gets” with many access points including Paul Gilbert, Lone Buck, Kemp-Breeze, Sun Set Ranch, Powers Unit, Reeder Creek and the Pump House to Radium stretch. The Colorado is lined with cottonwood trees and willows and is a dry fly paradise. Anglers can expect to catch a mixed bag of both browns and rainbows. The regulations in this area are flies and lures only and all fish must be returned to the water immediately.

Fishing the Colorado River should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether you're a walk/wade fisherman or prefer float-fishing, this river has something for everyone!

Suggested Flies
Squatchy B
Squatchy B

Squatchy B

Two Bit Stone
Two Bit Stone

Two Bit Stone

Latest Report

Updated 6/5/24

Salmonflies have started their epic hatch on the Upper C! Remember these bugs are crawlers, so target along the banks and structure portruding from the water. Please be extra cautious along the water's edge, as the Upper C is pushing a lot of water (4630 cfs).

A good rig for fishing this hatch is a fast action 6wt, with a 3X leader and tippet. From you salmonfly dry of choice, you can tie on a dropper like a Pat's Rubber Legs. Again, hit along the banks and around structure!

This hatch only has a small window of a couple weeks, so get out there while the salmonflies are still active!

Updated 5/27/24

Runoff conditions right now on the Upper Colorado mean low visibility. If you try fishing here, lead with big patterns like Squirmy Worms, Mops, or stonefly nymphs. Stonflies should be right around the corner!

Seasonal Tips/Hatches

Spring on the Upper Colorado River means big flows and big bugs!

Here are some fly patterns to consider:

Midges: Opt for midge patterns like Zebra Midges, Disco Midges, Mercury Midges, or RS2s in sizes ranging from #18 to #24.

Blue-Winged Olives (BWOs): These may hatch during warmer periods. Carry patterns like Sparkle Duns, Parachute Adams, or Pheasant Tails in sizes #18 to #22 to imitate BWOs.

Scuds, Sowbugs, Worms: These aquatic insects are available year-round, but are especially effective and runoff ramps up. Try a Dorsey's UV Scud in #14 or a San Juan worm in a variety of sizes and colors.

Egg Patterns: As trout may be focusing on eggs drifting downstream from spawning fish, egg patterns in various colors (#12 to #18) can attract attention.

Stoneflies: When the Salmonflies hatch, hit banks and structures with a large, buoyant dry, like an Amy's Aunt in #8, with a Pat's Rubber Leg as a dropper.

Streamers: Larger fish might respond to streamers, even in colder weather. Woolly Buggers or small articulated patterns in natural colors can be enticing.

As always, adaptability is crucial when fly fishing. Observe the water and the behavior of the fish. Present your flies naturally and consider adjusting depth and retrieval rates to match the fish's activity level.

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