Upper Colorado River
Rob Herrmann Photography

Colorado River - Upper

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

Weekly Report

Report DateApril 8, 2021
Since the beginning of the month, flows on the Upper Colorado have begun to rise at a substantial rate. At this point, we are officially in the pre-run off season and the fishing is good! Flows will continue to rise and clarity will worsen, but you still have plenty of time before run-off really sets in. Trout here are actively feeding throughout the day given increased bug life. Midges remain the primary food source so make sure to have some in this variety life cycles ranging from a size #18 - 20. Otherwise, baetis/BWOs and growing in numbers and the stones are becoming more active. Nymphing will produce the most consistent results. However, dry flies and streamers are a great option as well. When nymphing, lead with a slightly bigger attractor/searcher flies like a Barr’s Tungstone, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Flashback PT, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear, or San Juan Worm. 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 and transitions in the afternoon. Streamers are fishing well right now so don’t hesitate to throw something of more substance their way. If you go this route, cover a lot of water making sure to make some waves along the banks. Streamers will be effective through the weekend (4/8 to 4/11) given low air pressure and sporadic cloud cover.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region

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 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. 


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.