Upper Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Upper

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 11/25 through 11/27 & 12/1

Weekly Report

Report DateNov. 24, 2022

As winter draws closer and air temps continue to hold below freezing, productivity on the Upper Colorado, near Parshall, will slowly diminish. As it stands there is a fair amount of ice accumulation along the banks which has made for tricky and in some cases dangerous conditions. While the ice will increasingly become a limiting factor, there is still time to hit the water before productivity suffers greatly. However, there is still plenty of open water below the confluence of the Williams Fork. Trout are becoming increasingly sluggish and selective so you’ll need to really work for it. A heavy nymph rig fished through the soft water like the deep and slow runs, pools and pockets will produce the most consistent results. Midges are the primary food source so start with a small and simple set up that is imitative in nature. Larval patterns will be the most effective in the early hours while a larva to a pupa will be a good option in the afternoons, especially when temps rise above 32 deg F. Otherwise, a searcher/attractor at the lead like a Perdimidge, Flashback PT, red Copper John or Hare’s Ear will be effective as well. As winter approaches, persistence will become increasingly important. Cycle through flies and adjust your depth before moving on. You’re going to need to hit them on the nose in order to see results. If you’re comfortable with sight fishing that will always work in your favor. Otherwise, survey the pronounced pools and slow runs making sure to cover all of the nooks and crannies before moving on.

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.