Poudre River
Mitchel Little

Cache La Poudre River

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 8/6 through 8/8

Weekly Report

Report DateAug. 4, 2022

While somewhat variable, flows on the Poudre continue to trend down. While flows are on the lower end of the ideal range, they are at a comfortable level. That being said, warm weather has led to high afternoon water temps, which can be dangerous for trout. Comparatively cool air temps this weekend should help to keep water temps in check. However, starting on Monday you can expect afternoon highs in the low 90's which will drive water temps near dangerous levels. Either way, we strongly encourage you to fish during the early hours of the day so as to keep from putting unnecessary pressure on trout. When water temps reach or near 67 deg F, there is less dissolved oxygen in the water and trout become sluggish and at risk of death. With this in mind, do your best to measure the temp or use your best judgment. In general, the early morning and evening hours will be the most productive windows to fish anyway. Nymphing with big and messy lead flies in the stonefly, leech and worm variety followed by one or more smaller searchers/attractors or imitative nymphs will do most of the heavy lifting. Midge, PMD, green drakes, red quills, caddis and stoneflies are all present right now so make sure to mix in some imitation patterns as well. Otherwise, dry droppers are highly effective, especially when fished along the banks, so don't hesitate to rig up a bigger stimulator to one or more smaller nymphs. Last but not least, streamers and dry fly rigs have been productive as well. If you go this route, a dead drift through the deep and slow water followed by slow and erratic strips will be effective. Otherwise, make some noise along the banks.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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Detailed River Info

Background

The Poudre River, or Cache La Poudre, gets its name from the local legend dating back to the 1830’s when a crew of French explorers made their way along the river and found themselves in a blinding snowstorm. In order to cross the river and make their way to safety, they were forced to “cache la poudre”, French for stash the powder, leaving behind their heavy gunpowder kegs. The story goes that the explorers returned the following spring to find the gunpowder undisturbed. Subsequent travelers heard the story and the name stuck.

The Poudre is a freestone river that originates in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the headwaters, the river travels North until it reaches the small unincorporated town of Kinikinik, in western Larimer County, before turning east making its way  through the Poudre Canyon toward Fort Collins. Here you’ll find a combination of fast runs and riffles as well as some wide and comparatively slow water. While the fishing is great near the park, for the sake of this report, we’ll be referencing the stretch through the Poudre Canyon. In general, you should manage to find some solitude most of the year. However, the summers are particularly busy and you’ll find yourself sharing the water with other outdoor recreationalist via raft, kayak and tubes. 

Angling

The Poudre is relatively forgiving and beginner friendly. While a number of sections come with heavy brush, it isn’t hard to find open water and is easily accessible from the banks. It is home to a strong population of brown and rainbow trout, but has been known to hold a few cutbows and greenback cutthroats the closer you get to the park. While you can fish the Poudre most of the year, the late spring, early summer and fall present the best conditions. In the winter months, barring extreme cold, you can fish the lower canyon as the water is deeper and less prone to freezing. The Poudre experiences the standard Colorado hatches with midges hatching throughout the year, mayflies in the late spring through fall, and caddis and stoneflies in the summer. While you can’t go wrong with a standard double or triple nymph rig, the late summer and early fall present some great hopper dropper opportunities. Additionally, streamers are particularly effective in the spring and fall. 

River Access

While the lower and upper canyon present slightly different terrain, the Poudre is one of those rivers where you really can’t go wrong in terms of access points. There are a number of great public access points off of Highway 14 and we strongly encourage you to start exploring. If you are coming from Fort Collins, head north toward Laporte on Hwy 287 until you reach Hwy 14. From there, drive up the canyon until you find a suitable pull off. In general, the further you’re willing the drive, the fewer crowds you will see and the less pressured the trout will be