Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 10/19, 10/20 & 10/22

Weekly Report

Report DateOct. 17, 2021

Flows on the Colorado River, between Pumphouse and Catamount, have come down in recent days, but remain in line with the historical average for this time of year. The mornings have been comparatively slow with cooler weather. However, once the sun hits the water productivity will pick up. A cold front is expected to move in on Thurs (10/14) bringing a strong chance of snow. That said, it will move out quickly and air temps will begin to moderate starting as early as Fri (10/15). At this point, terrestrials have come and gone, but you can still see results on a hopper dropper along the banks as trout, especially browns, are feeding opportunistically and are easily enticed by bigger offerings. Otherwise, streamers and nymph rigs are the way to go. When nymphing, you’ll want to lead with bigger attractor patterns on Thurs and Sun through Mon as air pressure will hold on the lower end and trout will be more enticed by bigger offerings. Otherwise, small attractors like a Brassie, Frenchi, red Copper John, Perdigon or Rainbow Warrior will produce from the lead. Trail any of the aforementioned patterns with one or more smaller imitative midge or baetis like a Zebra Midge, Black Beauty, Top Secret, RS2, Darth Baetis or Juju Baetis. Hatch activity has been good as well with midge and BWOs making regular appearances throughout the day.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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Detailed River Info

Background

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. 

Angling

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. 

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. 

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