Poudre River

Weekly Overview:

January 14, 2021: 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

  • At this point, most of the water through the canyon is iced over. While you should manage to find an open run or two, it is in your best interest to fish below the canyon or through town. Otherwise, there is the North Fork of the Poudre below Seaman Reservoir. This is a tailwater section and is less susceptible to ice. With the exception of Thursday (1/14), which is set to be windy and cold, you’re looking at relatively mild weather in the next few days. The mornings will continue to be slow with sub-freezing overnight temps. However, starting at about 11 am, productivity will pick up. Nymphing continues to be our preferred mode of fishing, but keep an eye out for hatch activity and actively rising trout. When nymphing you’re going to want to lead with something small and flashy over the next few days as air pressure is set to be elevated and trout will need some convincing. Otherwise, trail with one or more smaller imitative midge patterns or a searcher like a Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear or Prince Nymph. It’s going to be cloudy starting on Saturday (1/16) and lasting through Monday (1/18) so use it to your advantage. Trout will be more prone to spread out, but will generally favor their winter holding positions in the deeper runs, pools and pockets. 

  • Due to stable winter conditions and ice, we have temporarily removed our daily reports/forecasts. Regular reporting will resume in the spring once the water opens up again.

  • Ideal Days to Fish: Ideal Days:1/17 & 1/18

  • Suggested Flies:

    • Sub-surface: Mercury Midge (#22-24), Black Beauty (#22-24), Zebra Midge (#20-24), Blood Midge (#20-22), Disco Midge (#20-22), Top Secret Midge (#22-24), Manhattan Midge (#22-24),RS2 (#20-22), Barr's Emerger (#20-22), Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Mercury Pheasant Tail (#20-22), WD 40 (#20-22), Guides Choice Hares Ear (#16-18), red Copper John (#18-20), Rainbow Warrior (#16-28), Pat's Rubber Legs, leech pattern, egg pattern and San Juan Worm.

    • Surface: Parachute Adams (#20-22), Sparkle Dun (#20-22), Griffiths Gnat (#22 - 24)

      • Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All ​to package a dozen flies that are hot on the Poudre River right now - Click here for hand selected flies

Detailed River Info:


The Poudre River, or Cache La Poudre, gets its name from the local legend dating back to the 1830’s when a crew of French explorers made their way along the river and found themselves in a blinding snowstorm. In order to cross the river and make their way to safety, they were forced to “cache la poudre”, French for stash the powder, leaving behind their heavy gunpowder kegs. The story goes that the explorers returned the following spring to find the gunpowder undisturbed. Subsequent travelers heard the story and the name stuck.


The Poudre is a freestone river that originates in Rocky Mountain National Park. From the headwaters, the river travels North until it reaches the small unincorporated town of Kinikinik, in western Larimer County, before turning east making its way  through the Poudre Canyon toward Fort Collins. Here you’ll find a combination of fast runs and riffles as well as some wide and comparatively slow water. While the fishing is great near the park, for the sake of this report, we’ll be referencing the stretch through the Poudre Canyon. In general, you should manage to find some solitude most of the year. However, the summers are particularly busy and you’ll find yourself sharing the water with other outdoor recreationalist via raft, kayak and tubes. 


The Poudre is relatively forgiving and beginner friendly. While a number of sections come with heavy brush, it isn’t hard to find open water and is easily accessible from the banks. It is home to a strong population of brown and rainbow trout, but has been known to hold a few cutbows and greenback cutthroats the closer you get to the park. While you can fish the Poudre most of the year, the late spring, early summer and fall present the best conditions. In the winter months, barring extreme cold, you can fish the lower canyon as the water is deeper and less prone to freezing. The Poudre experiences the standard Colorado hatches with midges hatching throughout the year, mayflies in the late spring through fall, and caddis and stoneflies in the summer. While you can’t go wrong with a standard double or triple nymph rig, the late summer and early fall present some great hopper dropper opportunities. Additionally, streamers are particularly effective in the spring and fall. 


River Access:

While the lower and upper canyon present slightly different terrain, the Poudre is one of those rivers where you really can’t go wrong in terms of access points. There are a number of great public access points off of Highway 14 and we strongly encourage you to start exploring. If you are coming from Fort Collins, head north toward Laporte on Hwy 287 until you reach Hwy 14. From there, drive up the canyon until you find a suitable pull off. In general, the further you’re willing the drive, the fewer crowds you will see and the less pressured the trout will be

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