Colorado is World Renowned for Fly Fishing, and in August it Takes on a Special Hue

Copyright (c) 2010 Gerry Stringer

Colorado is a world-wide destination for fly fishing, as there are thousands of miles of streams in the mountains and plains, and hundreds of ponds, lakes and reservoirs that offer fly fishers unparalleled access to the finest fresh-water fish on earth. Trout of every stripe, kokanee salmon, bass, muskie, crappie, catfish, walleye, splake – there’s a challenge nearly everywhere in the clear, cold waters of Colorado.

And autumn is a particular popular season for the veteran fly fisher for a variety of reasons. First, of course, is the solitude: with kids back in school and the majority of summer tourists back home, even the most popular streams, reservoirs and lakes hot fishing spots feature little company or competition. Then there’s the weather: the fall in Colorado is spectacular, with warm sunny days, and cool starry nights, and foliage colors unmatched in the West.

But of course, it’s the fish that matter. In Colorado streams, many species are spawning in the fall, and afterword need to fatten up for the winter ahead. The angling possibilities are endless and the fight is well worth the effort in this season because fish of all types are especially hungry and frisky.

September, October and November in Colorado are marked on seasoned anglers’ calendars as possibly the best fly fishing on earth.

Colorado offers many opportunities for excellent fly fishing, from remote back-country sites and guided tours for Colorado river fishing, to day trips from major cities and resort locales where the famous Colorado trout – rainbows, cutthroat, brownies, brookies and lake trout – are abundant and ferocious.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife A wealth of information that is a gateway to Colorado fly fishing can be found on the Internet, of course, replete with fishing blogs and fishing guide sites as a source of information on available information and places to go.

Truth be told, in Colorado no one is ever more than a few miles from a great fly fishing spot, but here are five premier locations that expert anglers agree are among the very best locations for successful, memory-laden Colorado fly fishing:

– The Blue River is a medium-size river in the central part of the state near the Continental Divide, and one of the most scenic fishing spots in the state. Experts believe the best fly fishing on the river is from the Dillon Reservoir dam down to the Colorado River, between the town of Dillon to the Green Mountain Reservoir. While most of the water borders private land, there is 10 miles of public access between the two reservoirs. Look to land brown, rainbow, some brook trout, cutthroats and fall-spawning Kokanee salmon.

– The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River in western Colorado, fishing opportunities and beautiful terrain unrivaled anywhere, renowned for the brilliant combination of sheer cliffs and deep canyons. The Gunnison River is subject to many restrictions, but there are 26 miles of the river that are managed as a Gold Medal tailwater fishery, which veteran anglers says is among the most productive in the state. The open portion is equally divided: Gunnison Gorge, the lower 13 miles, is the most popular and most fished because access is relatively easy; the upper 13 miles, within the rugged Black Canyon National Monument, are more difficult to reach, as it requires descending more than 2,000 feet down eroded drainage gullies to the river to reach the prize. Anglers report landing slab-sided rainbows and browns from 13 to 18 inches, with larger trout occasionally taken.

– The West Elk Wilderness, in the Gunnison National Forest in west central Colorado is not far from the popular mountain town Crested Butte. With an area of 176,000 acres about 15 miles in diameter, and with elevations up to 13,000 feet, the area features a couple of lakes teeming with trout, including golden trout.

– The Weminuche Wilderness, in the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests in southwestern Colorado near Durango, offers several streams, including the Los Pinos River and Vallecito Creek which drain into the Vallecito Reservoir, and featuring such action as brookies, rainbows and cutthroats. The western portion of the wilderness area include the Needle Mountains with many peaks over 14,000 feet, and spectacular vistas from every vantage point.

– The South Platte River, about an hour south of the heart of Denver, flows through Cheesman Canyon and offers broad, stunning views of the Front Range of Colorado within striking distance of the state’s major population centers. The area was once subject to a dam proposal which would have wiped out 21 miles of pristine Gold Medal fishing waterways, but opposition from a variety of wildlife and environmental interests were successful is scotching the plans. Today, fly fishing is one of the favored methods among anglers for catching large browns and rainbows.

While Colorado is a special place for fly fishing the year around, the most experienced anglers agree: Colorado in the fall is the best time and place to get out the flies.

Gerry Stringer loves Colorado fly fishing in his free time. He hopes to get out there as much as possible this fall and he will follow Trout’s Fly Fishing Colorado river reports to know just where to go.

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