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10 Best Trout Fishing Locations In Colorado (Where You Can Catch Big Fish!)

brown trout in net caught fly fishing in Colorado

Fly Fishing In Colorado

Colorado’s cold rivers and lakes makes it a prime spot for fly fishermen. The trout are plentiful, and the fishing spots feel like remote wilderness locations. I’ll be covering ten of them in this article, but once you try out the ten best spots, you might want to branch out to explore some of the less popular spots. The entire state is a fly fisherman’s dream.

The Best Time To Fish For Trout In Colorado

The early spring is the best time for you to target trout in Colorado. The state’s rivers are the right temperature for the trout to be active all day long, and they spawn during that time period. The summer is also a great time to target trout, but you’ll have to fish earlier in the day. They tend to stop biting around noon.

10 of The Best Trout Fishing Locations In Colorado

1. Animus River

Animus River is situated at the base of one of the state’s beautiful mountain ranges. The scenery is to die for, and it’s shallow enough for you to safely wade in it. It’s also one of the state’s gold medal rivers. That means that there are high-quality fish in every acre of the river, and the trout are stocked well enough that you shouldn’t experience a lot of unproductive fishing trips. Try to stick to the more rapid areas of the river, and you’ll bring in tons of large trout.

2. Gore Creek

If you’re looking for a more intimate fishing location with large fish, you’ll want to go to Gore Creek. It starts up in the mountains, and it eventually combines with Eagle River. You’ll have to drive quite a bit in the mountains to reach it, but this mountain stream provides one of the most tranquil fishing environments in the country, and the trout are left alone long enough to reach record-breaking sizes.

3. North Platte River

If you love to fish from a kayak, you’ll fall in love with North Platte River. The river’s best trout population lives near the northern gate, and you have to use a kayak if you plan on fishing there.

You might not be able to reach the best spot for trout without a kayak, but your efforts won’t be wasted. You’ll be rewarded with some of the state’s biggest trout, and the area is rarely fished by other fishermen. So, you have a really good chance of being able to fish alone.

4. Frying Pan River

Frying Pan River is a river than all experienced fishermen know about. It’s been a featured fishery in lots of fishing tournaments, and Colorado’s state officials are very serious about protecting it. It’s one of the most well-managed rivers in the country.

The water is shallow enough for you to comfortably wade in it, and it’s clear. That’s not all, though. The rainbow trout are almost all over ten-pounds. So, you won’t have to try very hard to bring in a massive trout.

5. Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River is the spot you want to go to if you want to break a world record. The entire river is made out of extremely harsh rapids, and weaker trout can’t survive in it. However, you have to be experienced to fish there. The rapids are very powerful, and if you slip in, you can easily end up getting smashed into a bunch of boulders. It’ll also be more difficult for you to control your flies.

6. South Platte River

South Platte River originates from the same town that everyone’s favorite adult cartoon is named after. It starts in South Park. The river is filled with large trout, but it’s also one of the most famous rivers in Colorado. So, you shouldn’t expect to have a lot of space between you and other fishermen.

7. North Delaney Lake

This lake is a key part of Colorado’s trout fishing scene. The lake is filled with so many impressive trout that it is used to stock almost every other trout fishery in the state. You’ll have to travel up into the mountains to reach it, but you’ll find out pretty quickly why the lake is so popular with trout fishermen.

However, you’ll also have to worry about Colorado’s wildlife authorities. They frequently collect eggs from mature trout in the lake, and they won’t allow you interrupt their duties. Try to call ahead of time if you’re going there during one of the seasons that wildlife authorities like to harvest eggs.

8. Gunnison River

Gunnison River is a great spot if you want to catch rainbow trout and brown trout. However, it’s a little more difficult to access it than other rivers.

You’ll have to travel up narrow mountain roads that are often difficult to navigate safely, and you’ll have to travel across rough terrain on foot. However, a lot of the pros have caught their personal bests at this river, and your chances of doing the same are fairly high.

If driving up a dangerous mountain isn’t your idea of a good time, you can purchase a permit to hike through Black Canyon. You’ll have a long walk to deal with, but it’s a lot safer, and you’ll enjoy seeing some of Colorado’s wildlife along the way.

9. The Rio Grande

If you don’t know about the Rio Grande, you probably failed every class that dealt with America’s most famous landscapes. The Rio Grande is a narrow river that flows down from Colorado and eventually pours into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s shallow enough for wading to be a viable strategy, and it’s accented by some of the most beautiful scenery that Colorado has to offer.

However, it’s only a good trout fishing spot during June and July, and you’ll have to travel to the southern point of Colorado to access it.

10. The Dream Stream

The Dream Stream is a trout fishing spot that is maintained by Colorado’s wildlife authorities. It’s stocked well, and it’s very easy to access. There aren’t any trees or other natural obstacles that can mess up your casting attempts, either. So, it’s a great place to bring beginners, and they can let loose with their fly rods without constantly smacking them into trees.

You’re likely to catch a variety of cutthroat, rainbow, and brown trout in The Dream Stream, but you’ll likely have to deal with a lot of other fishermen, too. It’s not the place to visit if you want a peaceful day of fishing all to yourself.

Different Types Of Trout Found In Colorado

Here are the different trout species that you can expect to catch in Colorado:

  • Rainbow
  • Brown
  • Brook
  • Cutthroat
  • Lake

Do I Need A Fishing License In Colorado?

If you aren’t younger than 16, you’ll have to fork out the money for a fishing license. Luckily, they’re not expensive, and you don’t need any other licenses like you do in other states.

When Is Free Fishing Day In Colorado?

Free Fishing Day is an annual event that allows Colorado residents to fish without a license. The event is usually held on the second and third of June, but it’s different some years. So, make sure to check with your local authorities before assuming you’re allowed to fish for free on the second and third. Libraries and other public centers usually have information about Free Fishing Day a month before it takes place.

Colorado Trout Fishing Regulations

I can’t list every regulation in this article, but I can provide you with this link to the state’s official set of regulations.

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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