Weekend Angler: Denver

The Colorado
By Chris Gentry
  |  Gorp.com
Page 4 of 4   |  
Practicalities

Species: Predominantly brown trout averaging 1214 inches with many larger and some real lunkers. Rainbows average 1216 inches with many over 20 inches. A few brookies and cutthroats as well.

Equipment: 9-foot, 5-weight rod. Lots of 6X and 7X tippet for clear water and selective trout. Lightweight waders in summer, neoprene waders in spring, fall and winter. Felt-soled boots.

Flies: Halfbacks, Bitch Creeks, Bead Head Prince Nymphs, Bead Head Hare's Ears, Copper Johns, and Bead Head Pheasant Tails, all in a variety of sizes. Humpies, Wulffs, Trudes, Elk Hair Caddis, and Parachute Adams, (#12#18). Tricos and Spinners (#18#22) in late summer and fall. Large, dark Woolly Buggers and Zonkers.

Fly shops: Nelson Fly and Tackle, Tabernash, (970) 726-8558.

Directions: From Denver take I-70 west to the Silverthorne exit (60 miles), and from Silverthorne take Highway 9 to the town of Kremmling. From Kremmling, take Route 40 east to Parshall. There is excellent public access just before the tiny town of Parshall at the Kemp Breeze Unit, at the confluence of the Williams Fork and Colorado River. There are several sizeable public access areas along the Colorado River from the town of Parshall upstream to the town of Hot Sulphur Springs. See map.

Lodging: Your choices are limited in Kremmling. If you've got money, there's nowhere else to stay but the incredible Elktrout Lodge (614) 724-3343. If you'd like more moderate digs, try Bob's Western Motel (970) 724-3266. Anglers can also stay in nearby Granby. Kremmling Chamber of Commerce (970) 724-3472; Granby Chamber of Commerce (970) 887-2311; Colorado Division of Wildlife (303) 291-7230; Arapaho National Forest (970) 498-1100.

Suggested reading: Fly Fisher's Guide to Colorado, by Marty Bartholomew, (Wilderness Adventures Press); Guide to Fly Fishing in Colorado, by Jackson Streit, (Banks Communications); Fly Fishing the Colorado River, by Al Marlowe, (Pruett Press).

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If tailwaters aren't your thing, then the upper Colorado River near the tiny town of Parshall may be your calling. This section of river lies within two hours of Denver, and recently acquired public access areas give anglers ample fly-fishing opportunities in this region.

From Hot Sulphur Springs downstream to Kremmling, this portion of the Colorado provides excellent dry-fly fishing with thick hatches of stoneflies, mayflies and caddis guaranteed to entice healthy rainbows and browns.

Nymphing on the Colorado River will always produce, and throwing streamers at dusk and throughout the fall gives you the opportunity to hook up with some real hogs.

The Kemp Breeze State Wildlife Area is a particularly beautiful stretch of river and includes the confluence with the Williams Fork River, which is also a prime fishery with hefty trout, despite its modest size. In fact, many anglers prefer the Williams Fork over the Colorado when crowds are minimal.


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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