With its plethora of fly fishing resources, the Colorado can prove to be a bit overwhelming at first glance. In an effort to help quantify this amazing area, I recommend breaking the state into smaller more digestible regions. To avoid having to break the state up all the way into watershed specific regions, we will keep things fairly simple and divide the state into three different segments, all west of I-25, as that is where 90% of fly fishing takes place within the state. These three sections will be fairly easy to track, as there is a northern region from I-70 north, a central section that lies between I-70 and US-50, and last but not least, a southern section which extends from US-50 south to the Colorado border.
The Northern section of the state is often one of the most over looked regions. The northern region holds some absolute powerhouse waters. Rivers such as the Colorado near Kremmling and the Big Thomson (the Big T) near Estes Park give you options to hook up to some sizable wild trout. In addition to the rivers, some lakes such as the three Delaney lakes near Cowdrey and Green Mountain Reservoir just outside of Silverthorne will offer vast options of species ranging from native Cutthroat trout, to big Brown trout, and seasonal Kokanee Salmon.
The Central region is perhaps the most popular and arguably considered the most productive region in the state. It is hard to go over all of the amazing waters in this region so we’ll hit my three favorites. First on my list (and hopefully yours) is the South Platte River between South Park and Denver, this river needs no introduction, as it is a tailwater factory for massive trout that can exceed thirty inches. Also falling into the needs no introduction category is our next system, the Frying Pan River. Situated a little further south near Aspen, this river is home to some of the largest and most finicky hybrid trout in the country.
The Southern section does not fall off as far as pristine trout waters go. This area has challenged many fly anglers on rivers such as the San Juan and Animas (when it’s not orange.) Due to the high run off of San Juan Mountain Range, this area is hard to fish in spring but will fish amazingly nearly year-round. To fish every water in Colorado could take several lifetimes, so make sure you select a water suited to your fishing style to ensure the best results!
Kremmling, Colorado – If you are going to be in the northern region of Colorado then the Colorado River, Blue River, and Green Mountain Reservoir are great spots to visit.
Breckenridge, Colorado – This region covers rivers from Denver all the way to Aspen. The South Platte River is one of the most popular fly fishing locations in the state.
Buena Vista, Colorado – The southern region allows anglers to fish the Arkansas River as well as the Animas River. These are great spring destinations.