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Red Owl 04-08-2010 02:49 AM

Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
I am planning a trip to Colorado this summer. This is a sight-seeing trip with a day or two set aside for fly fishing. Part of the trip will include a couple of days in Rocky Mountain National Park. I want to fish the Big Thompson (in the Park) but was wondering what the situation was as far as crowds? If there are a lot of anglers would I get more seclusion if I hiked upstream to a more distant spot- how far would I have to hike and what time would be involved- I was planning on camping in the Moraine Camp ground and walking from there to the stream.

Then over the Trail Ridge Road. On the west side I was thinking about fishing the upper Colorado River within the Park. Once again- what would be a good spot?

I was born in Denver but left as a kid and haven't been back for years- the Big Thompson is something I want to fish even if the are better streams in the Park but the Colorado River is open to change if something better is available.

July or August? What would be the better month?

What flies? I do both dry and nymphs.

Thanks for any tips. Plus- any good camping sites in the Grand lake or west side of the Park.

sandfly 04-08-2010 07:10 AM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
I was there in late sept.- early oct. no crowds, great fishing. caddis, stone fly nymphs,

Ard 04-08-2010 05:40 PM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
Red Owl,

I would contact 'colotrout' one of our members here. We were just messaging the other day and the Thompson is his stream of focus. Perhaps you could meet him while there, nothing beats a buddy showing you the ropes. He is a really nice fella, you'll like him.


gjcordray 04-11-2010 08:45 AM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
Fished both many times. Beautiful scenery, awesome wildlife. Watch out for moose. My friend walked right up on one accidentally last year - they are pretty intimidating.

The Big T is pretty small with cutbanks and riffles. Fish are surprisingly intelligent. Stay back from the edge and get on all fours if possible. Small to medium fish.

The upper Coloroado has a good population of brookies and a few cuts. These fish are not picky after runoff. Walk along the banks and look for risers. Caddis, Parachute Adams, anything smallish and buggy looking. Three casts tops and you will get a strike. I have had very little success nymphing there, however. Fish in the 6-12 inch range.

Any pullout will do. You can cover a lot of ground in a day at the upper colorado. YOu can fish both rivers in one day.



Red Owl 04-11-2010 08:22 PM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
I've been told around Timber Creek Campground (Colorado River) may be a good spot- what's your opinion?

Also- if there are some streams that have a short (1/2- 1 mile) hike in- that may work. :cool:

yatahey 04-12-2010 09:21 AM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
Timber Creek Campground is fantastic. I camp there often. You can head out due west into the willows until you hit the river and find nice bend holes and riffle/runs. Not big fish but plenty fun. Bring a 2 or 3 wt. Oh...the walk through the willows can be a little marshy...and watch out for moose.

canine 04-12-2010 12:28 PM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
I have been lurking around this forum for a while, but this is the first thing I've see that I may actually have a helpful reply for. I made that exact trip a couple of years ago, at the end of July. To make a short story long, I left a wedding in Loveland and drove up in the hopes of finding a place to camp in the park. I ended up in the Moraine campground. I had semi planned ahead and had a guide set up for that Monday. In the morning he took me to places down below Estes, and in the afternoon, he showed me places in the valley right below the campground. Now I never hiked down, but I did drive down into the valley everyday, and way up the gravel road right below (there are some places to pull over up towards the trailheads). Real neat place and lots of fun. Can't remember what I was fishing with exactly. The crowds I saw consisted of hikers (lots and lots of hikers) not a lot of fishers. Having the guide for the first day really helped. The few things I learned: buy groceries before you get to Estes, there aren't any showers in the campground, and they are really paranoid about bears and food. And I didn't see any moose, but a cow elk jumping up out of her bed on the bank above you will scare the bejeezus out of you. (A couple of pics if i can make this work)
I will now head to the intro page to introduce myself.

countr21 04-14-2010 03:17 AM

Re: Tips for Rocky Mountain N.P.
RMNP is my home range and I know the Moraine Park trailheads and trails like the back of my hand, although I have only fished the Big Thompson in MP a handful of times. My targets are usually the high country lakes way above MP. The BT in Moraine Park is a delight to fish. It is scenic and the stream meanders through a rather flat meadow with thickets of willows here and there. I have only caught rather small browns on caddis and midge dries. A huge elk herd winters here every year and I always wonder what their impact is on the BT in the open meadows of Moraine Park.

You most likely will have this stretch of the stream to yourself. You will see tons of hikers, but few anglers. The stream closest to the campground is almost void of any brush at all, so leave the waders behind if you want. There are very few people even on this stretch. The hikers tend to stay up on the trails of the Cub and Fern Lake trailheads. If elk are around (probably not during the summer) then there will be tons of idiots in their cars stopping and holding up traffic on the road.

The stretches of river up towards the Cub Lake trailhead has better fishing IMO but is loaded with willow thickets. Although I have never fished the stretch of the BT past the Fern Lake trailhead, it seems as if there are tons of little brookies and browns in every hole. You can even spot fish as you hike past the dozens of holes along the trail. This stretch is loaded with timber and willow thickets but you could get in there easily with waders. And you can drive right up to the trailhead and the first mile or so is very flat.

Man, if you're going to come all the way to RMNP just to fish for trout, why not make the effort to get to some Greenbacks? I personally would recommend some lakes above Moraine Park. If you have the time and ability to make the 10 mile round trip hike, Fern, Odessa, Spruce and Loomis Lakes are some of the park's best Greenback Cutthroat lakes. Loomis especially holds a few high country brutes. The inlets and outlets at these lakes are pure Greenback heaven. And if you think the scenery in Moraine Park is fantastic, the scenery above these lakes will mesmerize you.

For mileages (estimates only here) - From the campground down to the flat stretch of the BT in Moraine Park is about a half mile. The Cub Lake trailhead is about another half mile past that and the Fern Lake trailhead is about two miles from the campground.

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