Colorado River:       

Upper Section

Weekly Overview:

August 13, 2020:

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • The Upper Colorado is fishing well with strong hatch activity and great water clarity. Flows continue to inch down, but water temps have been fairly steady. That said, the weekend and early next week will present air temps in the high 80’s so expect to see productivity decline slightly in the afternoon. The hopper dropper fished along the banks and outer seams continues to produce great results. Lead with an Amy’s Ant, Chubby Chernobyl or Hippie stomper followed by 18 to 24 inches of tippet (or however deep the water is) and one or more smaller searcher/imitative midge, baetis, stonefly or caddis patterns. As far as searchers go, we like the red Copper John, but don’t hesitate to rig up a Rainbow Warrior. Zebra Midges, Black Beauties, Jujubaetis, Darth Baetis, Electric Caddis, Pat’s and Iron Sallies have all produced as far as imitative patterns go. Otherwise, nymphing will produce great results as well. In general, lead with something a little bigger like a stonefly or leech followed by one or more of the aforementioned searcher/imitative patterns. When nymphing, start by hitting the banks and drop offs, but don’t discount the deeper runs and more shallow riffles, particularly in the afternoon. 

  • Ideal Days to Fish: Sunday through Tuesday

  • Go to flies: ​

    • Subsurface - Pat's Rubber Leg (#8-12), Hare's Ear (#18-20), Psycho Prince (#18), Pheasant Tail (#18 - 20), Electric Caddis (#16-18), Caddis Candy (#6-18), Beadhead Iron Sally (#12-16), grey (traditional or flashback) RS2 (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Zebra Midge (#18-20), Black Beauty (#20-22), Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger (#20 - 22)

    • Surface - Griffiths Gnat (#22-24), Parachute Adams (#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 - Slump Busters (#4-6), white Sparkle Minnow (#6), black Wooly Bugger (#4-5), Cheech Leech (#6), Pine Squirrel Leech (#10-14)

      • ​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 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. 

River Access:

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.

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