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5 Rivers for Fly FIshing in Colorado Once the Temperature Drops

Breckenridge Fly Fishing

The Summer is slowly turning into fall and you may not be ready to stop fly fishing. It’s a bug a lot of Colorado locals are always waiting to itch. Just because the temperature drops does not mean you have to drop fishing for the fall and spring seasons.

Fishing in Colorado

What to expect once it gets cooler: 

Fall and spring fly fishing give the late risers a chance to catch first the bite on their fishing trip compared to early start times in the summer. The sun starts to rise later and later in the fall and starts late in spring and continues to progressively get earlier until Summer. Light and warmth will bring aquatic bugs springing to life and following shortly behind will be the trout.

Best time to fish in the cooler temps: 

With a later sunrise in these colder temperature seasons, it is usually best to go down to the stream around noon. Plan on fishing into late afternoon. The sun is your friend during the colder temperatures, if it is a cloudier day or the sun starts to set, you may see less bites on your fishing line.

kokanee salmon

Another perk to fly fishing in the spring or fall is that the rivers are less crowded, it may even be possible to have a few sections of river to yourself. Colorado is home to some of the best fly fishing in the country, and a few of its river widely known.

1. The Lower Eagle River: 30 Minutes west of Vail, Colorado. 

The Lower Eagle River is popular for Eagle County residents and runs between the towns of Eagle and Gypsum. The eagle river makes for some of the best fall and spring fly fishing as it is known as some of the finest trout water in the state. You can access this river from the town of Eagle near the fairgrounds or down the stream at Gypsum Ponds State Wildlife Area. There is also an access point from the BLM area nearby.

2. The North Platte River: 1 hour north of Grandby, Colorado 

The North Platte River near the town of Walden or North Park, Colorado features many tributaries where the river splits following winding courses. Although the streams are small, they are known for producing huge brown trout consistently. It is important to bring a map to this fishing excursion as a large portion of the river flows through private land.

Breckenridge, CO Fly Fishing

3. The Colorado River: 1 hour north of Breckenridge, Colorado

The Colorado River gives fly fishers that love floating and fishing an amazing experience to remember. The Upper Colorado offers anglers a wide variety of fishing and water features in and out of a boat. When colder weather hits the valleys in higher elevations the lower sections of the Colorado River such as grizzly creek to rifle stay a few degrees warmer as well.

4. The Gunnison River: 1 hour south of Crested Butte, Colorado

Gunnison River features miles and miles of hike in access below the Blue Mesa Reservoir in some of the most scenic, rugged, and beautiful country in the West. Far away from populated towns and only accessible by steep hikes in Black Canyon and Gunnison Gorge make it highly possible to have the place to yourself. Maybe you’re not acclimated to Colorado, or hiking isn’t your thing and you’re looking for an easier approach. Go above Blue Mesa Reservoir for easier access and a chance to catch a freshwater kokanee salmon. If you are venturing down to the lower portion of the Gunnison and Gorge the best way to get to the river is through Delta.

5. The Arkansas River: Running right through Buena Vista, Colorado

One of the most popular rivers for outdoor recreation in Colorado is the Arkansas River. This river lies in Colorado’s “Banana Belt”. Which is a long span of land that experiences warmer weather than its neighbors. Colorado’s Banana Belt consists of Buena Vista, Salida, and Canon City all on the Arkansas River. When temperatures dip anglers come to the Arkansas in Colorado to enjoy its warm weather, eager brown trout, and dry fly fishing. Over 100 miles of water makes for outstanding fall and spring fishing.

Breckenridge Fly Fishing

Courtesy Liam Doran

Next time the end of summer rolls around you’ll be excited to fish into the next season. When the temperatures start rising above 30 degrees in spring, you’ll be ready to be among the first anglers to take on one of these extraordinary rivers.


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