Tips for Snagging the Big One
Start Your Season in February
February is when the ice starts to break in the Colorado waterways and the fly fishing starts to get good. The snow runoff isn’t such that the waters are raging and tough to fish (that comes in late spring), and the days are getting longer.
What You Can Catch
In most parts of Colorado, February –and especially March– are key trout fishing times. March may actually be the best fishing you’ll get until summer. Plus, you happen to live in a state with 9,000 miles of trout streams and some of the best fly-fishing in the world!
Colorado waters support a variety of trout (Rainbow, Cutthroat, Brook, Lake and Brown), as well as Kokanee Salmon, Wiper, Mountain Whitefish, Largemouth Bass and Northern Pike. And Colorado has 322 miles of state-designated “Gold Medal” waters, which means these streams, lakes and reservoirs can produce 60 pounds of trout per acre. So collect your waders and gear, dress warmly, and hit up a few spots on our short-list.
Follow the Rules
Just remember that anyone over 16 needs a Colorado Fishing License to fish in this state—even for catch and release fishing. If you plan to fish with a second line, you also need a second line stamp. Receiving a Colorado fishing violation can impact your hunting and fishing privileges nationwide.
Try These Fly Fishing Spots
The Middle Fork of the South Platte River (also known as the Charlie Meyers Recreation Area) is considered some of the best three miles of trout fishing in the world. Huge Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brown Trout run plentiful in these clear waters, and it’s one of the few streams with Kokanee Salmon.
Up for a windy drive or want to hike in? The Gunnison River runs through the Black Canyon in Gunnison National Park. It’s scenic, may be less crowded than some of the other top fly-fishing spots, and it’s flush with Brown and Rainbow Trout. If you hike, make sure to get a backcountry permit.
North Delaney Butte Lake
This high-mountain lake near Walden is so loaded with Brown Trout, it’s where Colorado wildlife authorities collects stock eggs for other fisheries.
Roaring Fork River
The lower part of the Roaring Fork River has such a strong current that only the strongest fish survive. This is where serious anglers come to catch monster trophy trout.
Near Durango, the Animas River offers nearly seven miles of easily-accessed waters, full of premium Rainbow and Brown Trout, in a gorgeous, mountain-hemmed setting.
As a bonus, if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and have the river to yourself, try the Upper Arkansas, near Leadville. This was once a damaged watershed, but it’s been restored and now supports a large Brown Trout population. Lucky for you, the fishing masses haven’t realized it yet!
Get Properly Insured
Fly fishing can be extremely dangerous — take precautionary measures to ensure your safety while wading. Also, make sure you have a good life insurance and personal liability policy in place from Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance. You can also insure your expensive rods and other equipment through a homeowner’s policy. Learn more about getting yourself insured by contacting a local Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance agent.