This is one of our favorite times of the year to fish the Upper Colorado, near Parshall. Air temps are finally starting to hold at moderate levels most of the day and flows are at a healthy level. Trout here are not terribly selective when it comes to your flies, but it can be a challenge to find that “X-factor” pattern. As such, don’t hesitate to cycle through a number of flies and offer up a variety of species and sizes until you hone it in. With this in mind, the hopper dropper continues to be an effective route to go. Hit the grassy banks with a Moorish Hopper, Chubby Chernobyl, Amy’s Ant or Hippie Stomper followed by one or more nymphs and be prepared for an aggressive take. Otherwise, keep an eye out for hatch activity. While the variety of bugs is dwindling, we’re still seeing decent surface action. Expect to see some midges in the early hours, followed by tricos, red quills and BWOs. When nymphing, you’ll want to stick with bigger lead flies, with the exception of Friday (9/17) and Saturday (9/18). Pat’s Rubber Legs, Golden Stones, Leeches and worms are all great options. Trail with one or more smaller imitative midge, baetis or caddis nymphs that are neutral in color. On Friday and Saturday, downsize and go with imitative patterns all the way. Black Beauties, Zebra Midges (black or purple), RS2s, Juju Baetis and Hare’s Ears have produced great results as of late. That said, don’t hesitate to throw a smaller attractor like a Perdigon, Rainbow Warrior or red Copper John their way.
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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.