Colorado River:        Middle Section

Weekly Overview:

September 17, 2020:

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Flows on the Middle Colorado have risen in recent days, but remain slightly below normal levels for this time of year. While overnight air temps are pushing freezing, we expect to continue to see some terrestrial activity, albeit in a lower volume. You can’t go wrong with a hopper dropper, but expect to see slower action on the surface. Still the hopper makes for a great indicator particularly when fishing the more shallow water along the banks and outer seams. With mild temps and cloud cover this weekend make sure you have some streamers, particularly if you are float fishing. Otherwise, the nymph rig will produce consistent results. When nymphing, go with bigger bugs at the lead like a leech or stonefly followed by one or more smaller searcher/imitative patterns. We’re starting to see the caddis hatch dwindle, but you’ll likely see a few buzzing around. However, the trico action has been strong. When it comes to tricos, the trout have been fairly finicky so play around with a variety of patterns. However, Trico Spinners and Parachute Tricos seem to produce. If you are not seeing action on the surface, trail your dry with a smaller black emerger. RS2s and anything in the black foamback variety have been doing the trick. 

  • Ideal Days to Fish: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday

  • Go to flies: ​

    • Subsurface - Pat's Rubber Leg (#8-12), Electric Caddis (#16-18), Caddis Candy (#16-18), Beadhead Iron Sally (#12-16), Hare's Ear (#18 - 20), Psycho Prince Nymph (#18 -20), Pheasant Tail (#18-20), San Juan Worm, Olive RS2 (#20-22), Stalcups Baetis (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Black Beauty (#20-22), Zebra Midge (#18-20)

    • Surface - Parachute Adams (#22-24), Griffiths Gnat (#22-24), Yellow Sally (#12-14), PMD Thorax Dun (#20-22), Parachute PMD (#20-22), Resting Caddis (#16-18), X2 Caddis (#16-18), Elk Hair Caddis (#16-18), Chubby Chernobyl (#10-12), Amy's Ant (#10-12), Hippie Stomper(#10-12)

    • Streamers - white Sparkle Minnow (#6), black Wooly Bugger (#4-5), Cheech Leech (#6)

      • ​Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All ​to package a dozen flies that are hot on the Colorado River right now - Click here for hand selected flies

Detailed River Info:


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 middle section begins in Gore Canyon near Kremmling and flows southwest to the town of Dotsero, six miles west of Gypsum off of I-70. On this picturesque stretch of river you'll find numerous Brown and Rainbow Trout as well as Rocky Mountain White Fish (or Whities). While this freestone river does experience its share of crowds especially near the Pumphouse access point and through Gore Canyon, solitude is just a float away. 


The Middle Colorado is great for anglers of all skill sets and preferences. While wading is certainly a option through Gore Canyon down to Needle Eye, you will be restricted to the banks for the most part. The stretch between Gore Canyon and Rancho Del Rio is generally the most busy as it offers a number of camping and entertainment options. That being said, it holds sizable trout and is a great float. If you're fortunate enough to float, we high recommend it. Fishing via raft is one our favorite ways to go as you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and access water only accessible by boat. We like to pull the boat out from time to time and fish that low pressure water or to enjoy a beverage. After Gore Canyon and depending on flows, you're looking a very manageable and fishing friendly float. For the most part you'll be dealing with class II water with the occasional class III rapid. This is a great river to learn how to row as there are minimal consequences and the water is generally forgiving. However, if you've never been behind the oars, we recommend learning from an experienced rower. 

Float Options:

  • Pumphouse to Radium - 4 miles

  • Radium to Rancho Del Rio - 5 miles 

  • Rancho Del Rio to State Bridge - 4 miles 

  • State Bridge to Two Bridges - 6 miles 

  • Two Bridges to Catamount Bridge -  8 miles 

  • Catamount Bridge to Burns - 5 miles 

  • Bruns to Pinball - 4 miles 

  • Pinball to Cottonwood - 14 miles 

  • Cottonwood to Dotsero - 6 miles


River Access:

There are a number of access points along the middle Colorado. Arguably, the most popular is at Pumphouse. Traveling from Denver, take I-70 West to Silverthorne then head north on Highway 9. Take CO-9 N roughly 35 miles to County Road 1(Trough Road), just before you reach Kremmling. From there you will take County Road 1 for 15 miles until you've reached the Pumphouse access road. If you plan on starting below Rancho Del Rio, we recommend passing Silverthorne and taking I-70 until you've reached the town of Wolcott just past the town of Edwards. From there you will take Colorado State Highway 131 until you reach the water. 

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