Middle Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Middle

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish NA

Weekly Report

Report DateMarch 30, 2023

While there remains a fair amount of bank ice, particularly in areas with minimal sun exposure like the canyon, more water is opening up and the Middle Colorado between Pumphouse and State Bride is becoming an increasingly viable option. That being said, you’ll need to work for it and get creative with your casting and positioning in order to reach trout. Keep an eye out for slush run-off in the early hours as it can make for incredibly difficult fishing. It is probably best to give it until 11 am to start anyway. Trout remain sluggish and are sitting idle in the soft water most of the day. If you can find a run that receives a lot of sun exposure and is relatively ice free you might as well give it a shot. Nymphing with a simple searcher/attractor at the lead to one or more smaller imitative midge larva or pupa has been the most effective. Bigger lead flies in the leech, worm, stonefly and egg variety have been effective as well. Otherwise, a double midge rig with a larva at the lead to one or more larva or pupa will be the way to go. By and large, trout are not feeding regularly throughout the day but have been enticed by well presented flies.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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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. 

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