Colorado River:        Middle Section

Weekly Overview:

July 15, 2019 (Runoff):

  • Technicality: 2/5

  • This section of the Colorado is really moving with flows pushing 4,000 cfs. Water clarity is poor and the fishing has suffered tremendously. While it is not impossible to see some results, the odds are against you and we highly recommend finding somewhere else to fish. If you are dead set on fishing this section, go with bigger bugs and streamers. When nymphing, lead with stoneflies, leeches or worms followed by one or two smaller searcher patterns. Focus on the banks where water clarity is best and be persistent when changing flies and depth. Streamers will turn a few heads, but again the odds are against you with runoff conditions. White and black streamers with plenty of flash will go a long way. Make a splash and strip your flies erratically. Upon a hatch, go with the dry dropper rig and focus your attention on the slower water near the banks.

  • Go to flies: 

    • Surface - Parachute Adams (#20-24), Elk Hair Caddis (#16-18), Griffiths Gnat (#22-24), Chubby Chernobyl (#8-12), Amy's Ant (#10-12), Water Walkers (#8-10), Fat Freddies (#8-10).

    • Subsurface - Pat's Rubber Leg (#8-12), Kaufmann Stonefly (#6-10), Golden Stonefly (#8-10), Electric Caddis (#16-18), Super Pupa (#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).

    • 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

Middle CO Flow.png
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey 
Department of the Interior/USGS
Middle CO Weather.png
Weather Provided by Weather Underground

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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