Upper Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Upper

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 8/13 through 8/15 & 8/17

Weekly Report

Report DateAug. 11, 2022

Stable flows, consistent rain and comparatively mild weather have helped to keep water temps from rising well above unsafe levels. While the CPW has lifted voluntary fishing closures along the Upper Colorado, water temps are consistently reaching between 66 and 69 deg F in the afternoons. As such, we strongly encourage you to fish during the early hours of the day, when water temps are safe, so as to avoid putting unnecessary stress on trout. Trout are feeding predominantly in the faster riffles, runs and outer seams, especially during the hatch. However, you’ll want to survey the deep and slow water in the early hours as trout tend to move in and out of these areas to feed. Otherwise, if you see trout holding idle in the deep and slow water during the afternoon, or peak heat, hours, it is best to leave them be as they are likely conserving energy as opposed to feeding. Nymphing will be the most effective mode of fishing. However, hopper droppers will be a close second. Either way, lead with something of size like a leech or stonefly, in the case of nymphing, or a terrestrial like an ant or hopper pattern, in the case of a hopper dropper. Trail either fly with one or more smaller searchers/attractors or smaller midge, baetis or caddis imitations. Otherwise, streamers and dry flies can be effective as well, but you’ll need to time it right.

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 Upper Colorado is a comparatively large freestone river that originates at the confluence of the Frasier River west of Granby and stretches to the confluence with Troublesome Creek west of Parshall. This picturesque stretch of river, which is lined with cottonwoods and willows, earned its Gold Medal status for its plethora of medium to large sized brown and rainbow trout. 

Angling

Fishing on this smooth and meandering section of the Colorado is great for anglers of all skill sets and can be fished most of the year. Feature wise, this section provides everything from shallow riffles and slow runs to deep pools. Nymphing and streamer fishing are both effective, but it is most known for its summer dry fly fishing. During this time, there is an abundance of PMD, Caddis and Stoneflies. However, the Salmon fly hatch is arguably what entices anglers the most. 

River Access

There are a number of great public access points. The following access points reference Granby as the starting point.


#1: Roughly 4 miles northwest of Granby on US Hwy 40 is a roadside pull off on the left side of the road with access on either side of the river.


#2: 11 miles west on US Hwy 40 to the Town of Hot Sulphur Springs Pioneer Park. From Hwy 40, turn right on CO Rd 20 then left over the bridge. There is a camping a picnic area that provides over a mile of public water on either side of the river. 

#3: 13.1 miles west on Hwy 40 into Byers Canyon there is a parking area on the right hand side of the road and a short trail to the water.

#4: 13.3 miles west on Hwy 40 to the Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Joe Gerrans Area. From Hwy 40 take a left at the east end of the bridge onto CO Rd 50. There is roughly 2,300 acres of water on either side of the river.

#5: 13.4 miles west on Hwy 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Paul Gilbert Day Area. From Hwy 40 turn left on CO Rd 362. On the right side of the bridge you will find the day use area and a short (1/4 mile) section of public water.


#6: 13.6 miles west on Hwy 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs State Wildlife Area/Lone Buck. From Hwy 40 take a left at the sign for Lone Buck to find camping and a day use area with 2,300 acres of water on either side of the river.


#7: 15. 5 miles west on Hwy 40 to Kemp/Breeze State Wildlife Area. From Hwy 40 take a left on CO Rd 3. The parking lot is 0.7 miles on CO Rd 3 on the right. From there you can take a trail to the Confluence of the Colorado and Williams Fork.