Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 9/17, 9/18 & 9/21

Weekly Report

Report DateSept. 16, 2021

Fishing on the Middle Colorado (Pumphouse to Catamount) has been great. While the mornings have produced the best results, the rest of the day has been good as well. Flows continue to march downward, but remain above the historical average for this time of year. Hopper season is slowly coming to an end, but we’re still having decent results. If you go this route, target the banks and cutoffs with a Chubby Chernobyl, Trigger Belly or Amy’s Ant. Trail any of the aforementioned stimulators with one or more smaller searchers, attractors or imitative midge, baetis or caddis nymphs. Otherwise, nymphing will produce the best results. Lead with bigger patterns in the stonefly, leech and worm variety followed by one or more smaller imitative, searcher or attractor nymphs. Pats, Golden Stones, Mini Leeches and San Juan Worms have been great lead flies, while Black Beauties, Zebra Midges (black or purple), RS2s, Juju Baetis, Hare’s Ears, Perdigons and Rainbow Warriors have made for great trailers. With fall just around the corner, the streamer action should really start to pick up as feisty browns become territorial and look for a beefy meal. As such, don’t hesitate to go this route, especially if you’re fishing from the boat.

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