Colorado River:        Middle Section

Weekly Overview:

July 6, 2020:

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • After a brief increase, flows on the Middle Colorado have come down and the fishing has improved. Trout continue to feed actively along the banks and in the slower water. The hopper dropper rig has been killing it lately so if you enjoy big eats along the banks, now is the time to hit the water. Amy’s Ants, Chubby Chernobyls and  Hippie Stompers have all made for effective stimulator flies. Trail any of the aforementioned dry flies with 18 to 24 inches of tippet and one or more nymphs. As far as nymphs go we prefer attractor patterns like a Rainbow Warrior, red Copper John or Flashback Pheasant tail, but you really can’t go wrong with any searcher or attractor pattern. Dry fly fishing has been great as well with PMDs, caddis and yellow sallies hatching throughout the day. If you’re not seeing results on the dry dropper and you see trout actively rising rig up a single or double dry fly rig. We prefer to modify our dry dropper set up to include multiple dries instead of re-rigging completely. That being said, nymphing will prove the most effective. Early in the week, you’re going to want to lead with bigger bugs like a leech, stonefly or messy searcher/attractor pattern followed by one or more smaller imitative midge, baetis or caddis patterns. On the tail end of the week, go with slightly smaller lead flies like a searcher pattern with the same trailers as before.

  • Ideal Days to Fish: Monday through Wednesday

  • Go to flies: 

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

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

    • 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. 

© 2019

Get Social

  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon