The best times to fly fish Colorado are when water temperatures are cold, river flows are moderate, and life gives you the opportunity to be there.
Fly fishing is a pastime that can either repel a man or draw him in for life. There’s a learning curve that some don’t have the patience to overcome. Then for those who learn the basics, and crave more, it becomes an endeavor that can be pursued for a lifetime.
Best Times to Fly Fish Colorado
In all reality, the best times to fly fish Colorado is whenever you have the opportunity, as long as the rivers are open and the flows are good. But you can bet that many other elements beyond the fishing itself can make the journey worth your while. Fly fishing Colorado is an adventure that for some may yield yearly trips, and for a select few, permanent residence.
Fall is undoubtedly one of the best times to fly fish Colorado. Brown trout are spawning. And aggressive. Cool air temperatures reduce water temperatures which in turn make the fish more active. Plus, you get all the things like leaf change (one Aspen grove in full color can radiate a river) and animal migrations (elk and mule deer move down to lower elevations with the cold weather and snow up high).
A typical fall will give you about 30-45 days of great fishing. At higher elevations, many rivers witness the slow creep of ice in mid to late October when the bite starts to slow down. If you can catch it in the perfect window, you’ll bear witness to the fruits of the season of harvest like never before.
Certain parts of the state freeze over and lock up during the winter. Then again, many areas in Colorado do not. Take the Animas River, which runs through Durango. It stays open year-round, providing excellent fishing throughout the four seasons.
In the winter, fish aren’t as aggressive as they were during the fall. Their metabolisms have slowed. But you can bet there won’t be much competition for the fish that are active. Many Coloradans and even tourists think snow skiing with the arrival of winter. Only the hardy, the true trout bums, consistently don their waders and fly fishing gear throughout the cold months. Fishing the winter wonderland on unpressured rivers may require nothing more than warm clothes and snow shoes to have a great day.
With spring comes snow melt and roiling rivers. However, the spring also brings warmer temperatures and thus a thaw, which begins to open rivers that have been locked up all winter. Fish are getting hungry, bug life is becoming more apparent, and it’s absolutely one of the best times to fly fish Colorado.
Be sure to plan your spring fishing trip as far in advance as possible though. Show up during runoff and you’re liable to spend a disappointing few days watching your aspirations of catching fish dart by like a rocket. If you time your trip with open rivers and good flows, book a drift boat either through a guide service or a friend. Alternating between streamers and dry flies could yield a fast-paced day. If you’re unsure, call a local fly shop or we’d be happy to answer your questions.
They say of most people who move to Colorado that they come for winter and stay for summer. What can we say about Colorado summers. Warm days, cool nights, endless outdoor opportunities. Including the fly fishing.
Throw in a multi-day trip consisting of tents and sleeping bags, and you’ve truly found paradise. Summer can get crowded on some stretches of river. But if you’re looking for privacy, we can help you out.
Bug life thrives during the summer months and to us, it’s one of the best times to fly fish Colorado. At night, sitting beside the fire with friends, rehashing the day’s events, is almost as good as living them in real time.