Runoff has begun on Bear Creek and we’ve officially hit “chocolate milk status”. Since last weekend, flows rapidly increased and currently sit just above 100 cfs. At that level, the river is moving quickly in most sections and water clarity is poor. While we expect flows to stabilize over the next couple of days, a string of precipitation is in the forecast starting this Sunday. If the forecast holds true, flows will likely increase and clarity will only get worse. At this point, we’d recommend fishing Clear Creek or Waterton Canyon if you’re looking to stay close to Denver. If you’re committed to fishing Bear Creek, you’ll want to focus on the banks and other soft sections with a nymph rig or heavy dry dropper setup. Either way, getting your flies deep will be the name of the game. San Juan Worms, Squirmy Worms, Mini Leeches, red Copper Johns, Psycho Prince Nymphs, Rainbow Warriors and red/black Zebra Midges are the most effective patterns right now.
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Bear Creek is a small creek that starts in the Mount Evans Wilderness area and eventually feeds into the South Platte in Englewood. Bear Creek flows through the town of Evergreen, Kittredge and Morrison before it dumps into Bear Creek Lake. Only 30 minutes from Denver, Bear Creek is a solid option for anglers looking for a quick trip to scratch the fly fishing itch. While there are many access points, Lair O’ the Bear Park is one of the most popular access points. With that said, there are numerous parks between Lair O’ the Bear and Evergreen that provide easy access and great fishing. Anglers can expect to catch Brown and Rainbow Trout in the 6” – 12” range. If you’re looking for Brook Trout, the Mount Evans Wilderness area will be your best bet. Bear Creek is a freestone creek and therefore is best fished during the summer and fall.
If you’re looking for a true mountain creek fishing experience, Bear Creek is a great option for anglers of all experience levels. 3 weight – 5 weight rods will be all that you need and our go-to rig is leading with an Amy’s Ant followed by a size #18 - #22 Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or SJ Worm. These trout are eager but can be easy to miss so be ready to set the hook with each cast. Fish the obvious pools and runs but don’t rule out the pocket water. Some of our most productive days come from quickly moving upstream and making 1 – 2 casts to small pockets.
Bear Creek runs alongside Highway 74 providing for easy access throughout. From Denver, Take Highway 6 or I-70 to C-470. Take the Morrison Exit near Bandimere Speedway. Take Highway 74 west towards Evergreen and stay on this road for roughly 6 miles until you see Lair O’ the Bear Park on your left. Once you park, it’s a short walk to the creek.