Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 5/6, 5/9 & 5/11

Weekly Report

Report DateMay 6, 2021

Flows on the Middle Colorado have been trending down since the end of April. However, we’ve seen a number of swings in either direction that have stirred things up. In general this is good news for fishing as the temporary bumps in flow have stirred up a variety of bugs and water clarity remains intact. While bigger bugs in the stonefly, leech and caddis larva variety are still producing great results, improved water clarity over the last few days will make smaller imitations effective as well. Nymphing continues to be the most effective mode of fishing. However, streamers have been high producers as well. If you’re floating, we like to fish streamers from the boat and nymph while we pull off and fish from the banks. Cloud cover and low air pressure Sun (5/9) through Tues (5/11) will make streamer fishing all that much better as trout will feed opportunistically on bigger offerings during this time. Meanwhile, smaller nymphs will be less effective, but not out of the question. When nymphing, we’d encourage you to lead with something bigger like an Electric Caddis, Buckin Caddis, Pat’s, Barr’s Tungstone, Woven Stonefly Nymph or Leech. Otherwise, trail with smaller midge, baetis or caddis pupa. Black Beauties, Top Secrets, Sparkle Wing RS2s, Barr’s Emergers and Sparkle Pupa are all great options right now.

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