Upper Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Upper

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 7/2 through 7/5

Weekly Report

Report DateJune 30, 2022

Flows on the Upper Colorado, near Parshall, have come down substantially since peak runoff and have held steady for the last few days. While there are some daily fluctuations, water clarity is generally good. However, the late morning through the early afternoon will have the highest visibility. Additionally, water temps are starting to flirt with dangerous levels (~67 deg F), making the morning and late afternoon hours the most productive windows to fish. At this point, it is safe to fish all day, but keep an eye on this trend in the coming days and weeks as flows moderate and air temperatures rise. At this flow, trout are favoring the soft water like the deep pools, slow runs, banks and slack water most of the day, but have been prone to slide in and out of the faster riffles and seams to capitalize on emerging bugs during the hatch. As far as tactics go, you really can’t go wrong. Nymphing and hopper droppers have been our preferred mode of fishing as of late. However, streamers and dry flies are both viable options as well. When nymphing, you’ll want to adjust your depth accordingly so as to reach the deepest columns. Otherwise, favor the banks and slow water with a streamer or hopper dropper. Hatch activity has been consistent with a variety of bugs surfacing throughout the day. Caddis and PMDs will begin to emerge and ultimately hatch in the late morning and afternoon, while green drakes will be most prominent after 1 pm, especially during periods of cloud cover. Otherwise, midges will hatch sporadically throughout the day. Regardless, productivity should be fairly consistent. However, expect improvements as air/water temps rise throughout the day.

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 Upper Colorado is a comparatively large freestone river that originates at the confluence of the Frasier River west of Granby and stretches to the confluence with Troublesome Creek west of Parshall. This picturesque stretch of river, which is lined with cottonwoods and willows, earned its Gold Medal status for its plethora of medium to large sized brown and rainbow trout. 

Angling

Fishing on this smooth and meandering section of the Colorado is great for anglers of all skill sets and can be fished most of the year. Feature wise, this section provides everything from shallow riffles and slow runs to deep pools. Nymphing and streamer fishing are both effective, but it is most known for its summer dry fly fishing. During this time, there is an abundance of PMD, Caddis and Stoneflies. However, the Salmon fly hatch is arguably what entices anglers the most. 

River Access

There are a number of great public access points. The following access points reference Granby as the starting point.


#1: Roughly 4 miles northwest of Granby on US Hwy 40 is a roadside pull off on the left side of the road with access on either side of the river.


#2: 11 miles west on US Hwy 40 to the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs Pioneer Park. From Hwy 40, turn right on CO Rd 20 then left over the bridge. There is a camping a picnic area that provides over a mile of public water on either side of the river. 

#3: 13.1 miles west on Hwy 40 into Byers Canyon there is a parking area on the right hand side of the road and a short trail to the water.

#4: 13.3 miles west on Hwy 40 to the Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Joe Gerrans Area. From Hwy 40 take a left at the east end of the bridge onto CO Rd 50. There is roughly 2,300 acres of water on either side of the river.

#5: 13.4 miles west on Hwy 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Paul Gilbert Day Area. From Hwy 40 turn left on CO Rd 362. On the right side of the bridge you will find the day use area and a short (1/4 mile) section of public water.


#6: 13.6 miles west on Hwy 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Lone Buck. From Hwy 40 take a left at the sign for Lone Buck to find camping and a day use area with 2,300 acres of water on either side of the river.


#7: 15. 5 miles west on Hwy 40 to Kemp/Breeze State Wildlife Area. From Hwy 40 take a left on CO Rd 3. The parking lot is 0.7 miles on CO Rd 3 on the right. From there you can take a trail to the Confluence of the Colorado and Williams Fork.