Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 4/9, 4/11 & 4/13

Weekly Report

Report DateApril 8, 2021
After doubling in a matter of three days, flows on the Middle Colorado have since corrected and are trending down. That said, we expect to see further increases in the coming days as pre-run-off continues. Water clarity has worsened since last week, but the fishing is great! Mild weather has led to increased bug life and some actively feeding trout. Midges, in particular, are present in shockingly high numbers. This is certainly more of a good thing than it is bad, but it does mean you’ll need to match the profile accordingly for the best results. Midge larva in the black and purple variety have been effective in the #18-20 range, but it always helps to sample the water or banks yourself. BWOs are beginning to hatch in the early afternoons as well so keep an eye out for surface action. Nymphing continues to produce the best results. However, streamers and dries are great options as well. When nymphing, we recommend leading with a bigger attractor fly like a Pat’s, Barr’s Tungstone, Woven Stonefly Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tail or Mini Leech followed by one or more midge or baetis nymphs. Caddis larva, as well, have been decent lead flies and will become increasingly important through April and May. Otherwise, small (#18-20) midge or baetis larva/pupa will make for effective trailer flies. Target the soft water like slow runs, pools and deeper banks, but don’t discount the faster runs, slow riffles and transitions in the afternoon. Streamers are really heating up as well so don’t be afraid to go this route. If you’re floating, hit the banks hard followed by several erratic strips back toward the boat.

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