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thelumberjack 02-28-2009 04:03 PM

In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
My friends and I are planning on taking a senior trip this year. We are all relatively broke and decided that we would rather camp in the beautiful state of Colorado than go to some beach on the ocean.

Where can five novice outdoorsmen go to get in to some good fishing and to stay at a nice campsite?

I am the only fly fisher in the group, so the rest of my friends will be using spinning reels. I have never been to Colorado before and neither have any of the others.

We have no preference between lake or stream and would want to stay at the same site for our 4 day trip. We are planning on going sometime in June or July.
Any tips on a camping/fishing trip would also be appreciated!

gjcordray 02-28-2009 07:43 PM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
First of all, I wish I was 18 again. This sounds like a blast.

Okay, there are lots of places that have good combinations of lake and river fishing in close proximity to one another.

1. Stagecoach reservoir and the Yampa river just south of Steamboat Springs. Get online and reserve a campsight soon if you can. Avoid July 4!!!

2. Reudi Reservoir and the Frying Pan river just outside of Glenwood Springs. World renowned fly fishing and a beautiful lake. These campsights have lots of first come first serve.

3. Spinney Reservoir, Elevenmile Reservoir, and a little section of the South Platte running between them called "The Dream Stream"! These are near nothing to speak of. The camping is not real remote, and there are few trees, and the wind blows in the afternoon, but the fish are absolutely huge! They are tough to catch at times, but there is amazing water all over the region within a 30 minute drive.

4. The Arkansas River - you can fly fish the edges or throw a spinner out into the middle just about any time you want other than peak runoff. Hub cities - Buena Vista, Salida, Leadville.

Some things to consider: Where are you coming from? What type of fly fishing do you normally do? How much do you want to fish and how much do you want to just have a good time - what are your expectations? And finally, watch the stream reports because you don't want to hit peak runoff.

Feel free to ask for more specific information. I know that I, and many others on the forum, would love to help you out with fly patterns and more specific locations once you make a decision.


thelumberjack 02-28-2009 08:28 PM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
First of all, thanks for the great ideas! I am armed with Marty Bartholomew's "Fly Fisher's Guide to Colorado" (which I recommend to anyone planning on fishing in Colorado!). I have read a little bit about a few of the places you have mentioned and they sound great!

Up until now, I have been considering Eleven Mile Res. the most. My main concern with reservoir/lake fishing is that we don't have a boat. Is there a lot of accesible fishing from the shoreline?

We are all from northern Missouri, so we mainly fish for bass and panfish, however, I am pretty familiar with trout fishing (but still in need of as much advice as I can get!). We are mainly focused on trout, and that's what we want to pursue.

I don't think the South Platte would be the best fit for us. I only say this because I have heard lots about how tricky and finicky its fish are!

Fishing would be our predominant activity and what we spend our days doing. Our expectations are nothing high, but I am afraid a skunk would be terrible for morale. Obviously, we aren't going to slaughter em', but we would like to find some good spots and get in to some good fishing.

And as far as patterns go, it would be great if you guys recommended some patterns so I can start tying flies for our trip (Get yourself a PEAK Vise!).

mcnerney 02-28-2009 09:24 PM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!

Gary mentioned camping at Reudi Reservoir and fishing the Frying Pan. The Frying Pan is a tailwater and the fishing there can get pretty technical, not the best fit for your group. I'd suggest that if you like that area, rather than fishing the Frying Pan, fish the Roaring Fork. The fish aren't near as big but there are plenty of nice size fish there and its much easier fishing. You can purchase a river map at the locat fly shops that give very detailed public access information for both the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork all in one map. There are lots of public access points along both rivers, but I don't believe there are any camping areas in the Roaring Fork valley.


yatahey 02-28-2009 10:04 PM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
Do some searching in the Crested Butte/ gunnison area. The scenery is fantastic, summer wildflowers are abundant and there are lots of camping opportunities. For fishing you have the Gunnison River, Taylor, Blue Mesa Res and any number of other options.
Here's a good place to start.
Taylor River | Gunnison Crested Butte Colorado Vacation | Official Site of Gunnison County

Continue to Google Crested Butte fly fishing and you'll be surprised at the possibilities.
Good Luck

thelumberjack 02-28-2009 10:14 PM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
Thanks for the suggestions! Ideally, we would be camping relatively close to where we would fish, meaning that we would want to be in the same park/area. What are your thoughts on Rocky Mountain National Park?

And as far as fish size goes, I don't think anyone in my group will care how big their fish are, as long as they are catching them.

mcnerney 03-01-2009 08:11 AM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!

Yes, that is an excellent idea. Don't know why I didn't think of that earlier.
I've only fished there once, so I can't give any real fishing recommendations, but there are numerous fishing possibilities and I would think it would be more what your group could handle. RMNP will also give you the opportunity to hike into some high mountain lakes that don't see much fishing pressure and even if you get skunked, you can't beat the scenary. Like I said before stay away from the tailwaters, they just get hammered so hard that the fish get extremely selective. The natural food from the dams is very abundant so if your presentation isn't perfect you will get skunked. As far as NMNP goes, there is a Fly Shop in Loveland that can provide some real details, I will look up the name for you.

I also like what Yatahey is suggesting. Take a serious look at that area before you decide. The Taylor River offers some very good fishing opportunities and also has campsites right along the river. Plus the Gunnison River is very close (the Taylor flows into the Gunnison). If your into hiking you could hike down into the Black Canyon NP. From the trail head its a little over a mile down into the canyon. You need to get a Park pass. There a three camp sites (as I recall), its mostly used as a staging area by the outfitters who use horses to get rubber rafts and gear down to the river and then float on out towards Delta.


mcnerney 03-01-2009 08:56 AM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!

Another possibility is the Big Thompson River which flows east from Estes Park. Estes Park is the east entrance to Rocky Mtn NP. Also just north of Ft Collins is the Poudre River and there are numerous campsites along the river and a few folks on this forum that fish both rivers.

Don't forget to use the search function on the forum, it can turn up some good info.


tgoodwater2002 03-01-2009 09:17 AM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
Lumberjack, I am from Omaha, NE. I went to Taylor park last fall and it was awesome!!! We stayed in cabins they had in the park for $80 a night. We had never fly fished a [I]real [I]stream or river before. There are 2 small streams that flow into the lake and the upper taylor river of course that flows into that also. Below the lake is the dam and you will be amazed at the size (monsters) of brown and rainbows that are in there. They are really hard to catch but they are possible. Farther down the river toward the gunnison river there are lots of places to fish the river and we caught lots of fish!! We had blast up there!! Here are some pics from Taylor Park.
The North American Fly Fishing Forum

thelumberjack 03-01-2009 09:40 AM

Re: In need of Colorado trip suggestions!!
I will look in to Crested Butte some more. After googling it, it does seem like a great spot!

I have some relatives that have fished RMNP before, and they said it was a great experience.

I will bookmark The Big Thompson in my "Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado".

I have stayed in similar cabins in Northern Michigan. Thanks for sharing your experience! Was the place where you stayed accomodating to tent dwellers?

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!

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