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Winter Fly Fishing: Best Spots for your Next Colorado Trip

Colorado known for its mountains and snowy ski resorts has much more to offer aside from skiing and snowboarding throughout the winter season. If rivers are more your style, fly fishing is still a great activity during the cold winter months. With many different rivers flowing through the state there are plenty of winter fly fishing options here in Colorado.

The Blue River

Location: Summit County Colorado – near Breckenridge

Breckenridge Fly Fishing

Courtesy Liam Doran

 

First spot to check out for some winter fishing is the on the Blue River, located by Breckenridge and central to many nearby towns. Summit County has rivers that are not prone to freezing compared to other locations, so it will have plenty of fish. The Blue River is constantly moving at a quick pace making it a huge advantage for fly fishing because the fish are more likely to be in fast moving waters where meals are easier to access.

Fish:

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout

The Upper Colorado River

Location: Grand County Colorado – near Kremmling, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Silverthorne

The Upper Colorado is the most popular destination for fly fishing no matter what time of year. The best part about winter fly fishing on the Upper Colorado is that you do not have to worry about the crowds that you get in the summer. The upper Colorado is surrounded by scenic red rock formations, this river stays consistent making it a great option for fishing even in the winter. The Upper Colorado is one of widest and larger rivers running through the state making it have an abundance of winter trout to cast.

Fish: 

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout

The Big Thompson River

Location: Larimer County – near Rocky Mountain National Park and Loveland Colorado

The Big Thompson River just below the dam which makes the water flow and fishing great. This river won’t ice over as easily and runs at a lower cfs (cubic foot per second) with super clear water, creating deeper pockets where trout like to settle in the cooler temperatures. The Big Thompson River is a perfect option for great fly-fishing and also is close proximity to the national park, to even further your outdoor adventure needs.

Fish:

  • Brookie
  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Greenback Cutthroat

The South Platte River

Location: Park County – The south platte river runs southwest from Denver

Alpine Lake Fishing in Colorado

The South Platte River offers complete year-round fishing for beginners and advanced anglers. A popular spot is Cheeseman Canyon, that one of with one of the longest public tailwaters in the state and is known for gold medal fishing with medium to large sized brown trout and species of carp. It is one of the closest locations for winter fly-fishing to Denver, making it a local’s favorite.

Fish: 

  • Brown Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Common Carp
  • Mirror Carp
  • Grass Carp
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye
  • Largemouth bass

The Willams Fork River

Location: Grandy County – near Kremmling and Rocky Mountain National Park

A quieter river, the Williams Fork, that passes through the Arapaho National Forest. It is the perfect size for a walk and wade to catch some rainbows, cutthroat, and browns. Although a little more tough in the winter months, because of the ½ mile hike to get there but the fishing is still a great find. You can beat the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful fly fish experience.

Fish:

  • Brook Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Brown Trouts

Take a break from being on the mountain and take in those Colorado rivers this winter. Fly-fishing happens year-round with some special spots to find the perfect location to cast for some plentiful and unique fish. Anywhere from Summit County to the Rocky Mountain National Park to Denver you will be sure to run into some fly-fishing no matter how cold or snowy this winter season.

Written by: Abigail Ryan
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