Winter is finally here and ice has covered much of the Upper Colorado river, near Parshall. As such, we will be discontinuing our daily forecasts until the ice thaws and the fundamentals justify dynamic reporting. That being said, there remains a small stretch of water below the Williams Fork confluence that is mostly ice free and fishing well. There is a fair amount of ice along the banks. However, it is prone to clearing up, particularly on warmer days. Trout here are fairly sluggish and selective. So you’re going to need to work for it. Simple nymph rigs with smaller attractors/searchers at the lead followed by midge imitations will produce the best results. Trout are stacking up in the deep and slow water most of the day and are holding in the deepest water columns. As such, you’ll want to ensure plenty of weight and adjust your indicator appropriately. The goal here is to get your flies down as quickly as possible so as to remain in the feeding lane for longer periods of time.
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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 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.
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.
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.