Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 9/24 through 9/26

Weekly Report

Report DateSept. 21, 2023

Flows on the Middle Colorado, near Pumphouse, have come down in recent days and are at a very productive level. With fall nearly upon us, it is time to start rethinking our approach. While there are a few terrestrials lingering around, hopper dropper season is largely behind us. This isn’t to say you won’t see results, however, as a big stimulator often makes for a great attractor or indicator when trout are spooky. Otherwise, nymphing with a searcher or attractor at the lead to one or more smaller imitative patterns will do most of the heavy lifting. Hare’s Ears, Copper Johns, PTs, Prince Nymphs and Brassies are all good options right now. Trout are holding along the banks, slack water, outer seams, slow runs/pools and pockets at various times throughout the day. In the early hours, or absent hatch activity, stick to the banks and soft water. Otherwise, hit the more pronounced water upon hatch activity. Hatch activity has been consistent with midge, BWO and caddis all making regular appearances. That being said, surface action can be hit or miss, but if you see trout actively rising don’t refrain from rigging up some dry flies. Lastly, streamers have been and will continue to be an effective route, especially with the up and coming brown trout spawn. Hit the banks and slow water for the best results.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region

Detailed River Info


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. 


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