Front Range Creeks

Colorado Front Range Trout Fishing Waters – Bear Creek, Clear Creek, The Big Thompson, The St. Vrain and The Arkansas

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Bear Creek is a small tributary to the South Platte River, and a classic Colorado small stream. Public access to the headwaters in Mt. Evans State Wildlife area gives anglers a chance to catch wild brook trout in a truly beautiful setting. The fly fisherman willing to hike will be most successful here. Around the town of Evergreen Colorado, much of Bear Creek is private. The tailwater below Evergreen Lake offers anglers the chance to catch brown trout and the occasional rainbow trout fairly close to Denver. These fish are nice because of their willingness to take artificial flies, especially dry flies. Although these trout are usually small, what better way to spend an afternoon just outside Denver? A series of Colorado open space parks gives anglers good public fly fishing access. Please practice catch-and-release on these trout so that other fly fishermen can enjoy them.

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Colorado’s Clear Creek is an often over-looked fishery that lots of people just drive by along I 70 on their way to the mountains from Denver. Clear Creek offers fly fisherman the chance to catch brook trout and cutthroats in its headwaters. There are lots of small brown trout and an occasional rainbow trout are always a bonus. Be careful getting around in Clear Creek – the banks are more conducive to mountain goats than fly fisherman. Dry-dropper rigs are standard, but nymphs and small streamers can also be effective. We always try to leave this creek better than we find it. Clear Creek’s proximity to I 70 makes it a littering haven. Please pick up a bottle or two on your way out. It really does make a difference!!

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The St. Vrain Colorado Small Stream Fly Fishing

This front range creek is not as well known as some. From its headwaters through Lyons, it is a very viable trout fishery, although the trout densities are not as high as in some other rivers there are still plenty of fish. The good news is that there is not a lot of fly fishing pressure making the St. Vrain a good place to beat the crowds and do a little exploring for unpressured Colorado trout.

The Big Thompson Near Estes Park, Colorado

The Big Thompson River has its origins in Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful greenback cutthroat and brook trout call the Big Thompson home. Fly fisherman can catch these feisty little devils on a variety of small dry flies and nymphs. The scenery in the park is truly worth the trip. Most anglers fish the Big Thompson below Estes Park. Below Lake Estes there is a tailwater that many brown trout and rainbows call home. Where else in Colorado do you have to literally watch out for elk on your back-cast? Although there are lots of trout here, they can be temperamental. Try small midge patterns when nothing seems to be working. Arguably the most scenic stream on the front range. Be sure to check out The Big Thompson when you are fly fishing in Colorado!!

The Arkansas River, Colorado

The Arkansas River is most famous for its legendary Mothers’ Day Caddis Hatch. During the “hatch” bugs emerge in numbers impossible to describe. Caddisflies will be in your shirt, mouth, and hair in such numbers it can be hard to catch fish because there are so many natural bugs on the water. The fly fishing The Arkansas River during the hatch brings anglers from far and wide. Hungry trout gorge, often with reckless abandon, making it a fly fishing trip to remember. There are also very good BWO, midge, and stonefly hatches on the Arkansas River. Fly Fishing the headwaters of the Arkansas River near Leadville offer great small stream action, in the most-often-thought-of parts of the river around Salida, anglers find a classic western freestone river. The large tailwater below Pueblo reservoir offers good fishing straight through the winter. The Arkansas River offers something for everyone making it a great Colorado fly fishing destination to try out.