Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 6/18, 6/19 & 6/21

Weekly Report

Report DateJune 17, 2021

The Middle Colorado is becoming increasingly more fragile with historically low flows and warm water temps. Flows are now trending up, but we're seeing sizable intraday swings in either direction. At this point, we strongly encourage you to only fish the morning shift (before noon). Productivity will be best and it will offer trout the best chance of survival. Beyond noon, the river is feeling more like a bath. Nymphing and streamers continue to produce the best results during this time, but the caddis are growing in numbers and trout are beginning to look up. When nymphing, Pat’s, Mini Leeches, Buckskins, Golden Stones or Pig Stickers will make for great lead flies. However, you might try your luck at a searcher pattern like a Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear, Flashback PT or Copper John (red or green) as your first or second fly. Otherwise, think small and imitative midge pupa, baetis emergers or caddis pupa for your trailer, or last, flies. When it comes to streamers, it has been hit or miss, but most effective from the boat and during periods of cloud cover. If you see caddis hatching and actively rising trout don’t hesitate to rig up a single or double dry. Dry droppers have been effective as well. Resting Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis have been the top producing dries while smaller emergers in the baetis and caddis variety have been good droppers.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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Detailed River Info

Background

The Colorado River, which flows through seven US states and two Mexican states originates in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. There are three sections of river as it pertains to the state of Colorado, the Upper, Middle and Lower. The middle section begins in Gore Canyon near Kremmling and flows southwest to the town of Dotsero, six miles west of Gypsum off of I-70. On this picturesque stretch of river you'll find numerous Brown and Rainbow Trout as well as Rocky Mountain White Fish (or Whities). While this freestone river does experience its share of crowds especially near the Pumphouse access point and through Gore Canyon, solitude is just a float away. 

Angling

The Middle Colorado is great for anglers of all skill sets and preferences. While wading is certainly a option through Gore Canyon down to Needle Eye, you will be restricted to the banks for the most part. The stretch between Gore Canyon and Rancho Del Rio is generally the most busy as it offers a number of camping and entertainment options. That being said, it holds sizable trout and is a great float. If you're fortunate enough to float, we high recommend it. Fishing via raft is one our favorite ways to go as you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and access water only accessible by boat. We like to pull the boat out from time to time and fish that low pressure water or to enjoy a beverage. After Gore Canyon and depending on flows, you're looking a very manageable and fishing friendly float. For the most part you'll be dealing with class II water with the occasional class III rapid. This is a great river to learn how to row as there are minimal consequences and the water is generally forgiving. However, if you've never been behind the oars, we recommend learning from an experienced rower. 

River Access

There are a number of access points along the middle Colorado. Arguably, the most popular is at Pumphouse. Traveling from Denver, take I-70 West to Silverthorne then head north on Highway 9. Take CO-9 N roughly 35 miles to County Road 1(Trough Road), just before you reach Kremmling. From there you will take County Road 1 for 15 miles until you've reached the Pumphouse access road. If you plan on starting below Rancho Del Rio, we recommend passing Silverthorne and taking I-70 until you've reached the town of Wolcott just past the town of Edwards. From there you will take Colorado State Highway 131 until you reach the water. 

Float Options:

  • Pumphouse to Radium - 4 miles
  • Radium to Rancho Del Rio - 5 miles 
  • Rancho Del Rio to State Bridge - 4 miles 
  • State Bridge to Two Bridges - 6 miles 
  • Two Bridges to Catamount Bridge -  8 miles 
  • Catamount Bridge to Burns - 5 miles 
  • Bruns to Pinball - 4 miles 
  • Pinball to Cottonwood - 14 miles 
  • Cottonwood to Dotsero - 6 miles