Flows on the Middle Colorado, between Pumphouse and Dotsero, have come down substantially in the last several days and while we’re seeing some slight variability, things have generally settled down. At this point, clarity is good, but there is some color to the water and it has been prone to change with the variability in flow. Regardless, trout are sticking to the soft water like the deep and slow pools and runs as well as the banks and slack water most of the day. However, they have been prone to move into the outer seams, riffles and transitions to feed on emerging bugs. While water temps have held below dangerous levels (~67 deg F), they are flirting with the line making the early and afternoon hours the most productive to fish. Keep an eye on this trend in the coming days and weeks as flows continue to moderate as it will become increasingly important. Air temps will be fairly mild in the next few days which should keep water temps in check and you can count on longer days on the water. Hatch activity has been consistent with caddis, PMDs, and midges all making regular appearances. Expect midges to be present sporadically throughout the day, while caddis and PMDs will be most prominent in the late morning and early afternoon. Otherwise, green drakes are beginning to emerge and have been especially active after 1 pm. Nymphing with bigger lead flies in the searcher/attractor variety followed by one or more smaller midge, baetis or caddis imitations will produce the most consistent results. However, it is time to start taking hopper dropper season more seriously. A comparatively bigger stimulator like a Chubby Chernobyl, Amy's Ant or Hippie Stomper trailed by one or more searchers, attractors or imitations will be an effective set up. Hit the banks and skinny water to start, but don't discount the outer seams and slow runs and pools. Otherwise, don't hesitate to fish some streamers along the banks and through the deep and slow water, especially if doing so from a boat.
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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.
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.