Gold Medal Water (From Frasier River to Troublesome Creek)

Current Flows: Current Flow near Kremmling,Current Flow at DotseroCurrent Flow Below Glenwood

Effective Patterns: #16-20 Parachute Adams, #18-20 Blue Winged Olive, #20-24 Olive Midge, #12-18 Stimulator, #10-16 PMX, #8-12 20Incher, #16-20 Bead head Prince, #18-20 Pheasant Tail, #18-22 Copper John, #20-22 WD40, #18-20 Buckskin, #20-22 Barr’s Midge Larva, #16-20 Zebra Midge, #16-18 San Juan Worms, #8-12 Woolly Bugger
 
The Colorado River headwaters begin in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It does not resemble the river most of us know.  As this small stream flows through the Rockies, it continues to grow. The fishing is good in the park, but because of high elevations and short growing seasons the fish are smaller but abundant.  Youwill find rainbows, and a healthy population of brook trout.  This section does not receive much pressure and is a great spot for beginners.
 
As the river continues on, it flows in and out of different reservoirs.  With the increase in size, the Colorado River becomes a much different fishery.  Known as the upper section, the river flows down from Byers Canyon to the town of Kremmling.  Along the way we began to see wild browns and rainbows fill the river, with easy access to fishing.  The bug life is well known and massive hatches help keep a strong population of trout.  With plenty of public river access down and near Parshall, this is a popular area to fish.  There is private property in the area, so please be aware of the boundaries
 
The Williams Fork River is a major tributary of the Colorado River near the town of Parshall. Because it is a tail water of The Williams Fork Reservoir, water temperatures are consistent allowing this little creek to grow big fish that will rise to dry flies, it’s up close, personal and exciting. In the fall the population of browns increases during the spawn. This is a great time to fish around the confluence for big browns and rainbows looking for eggs. Don’t pass this one up.
 
From Parshall the river continues west and meets up with the Blue River and then flows into the steep and rugged Gore Canyon, this area can be accessedby hiking upstream from Pumphouse, it’s a little bit of work but worth the effort because your only company will probably only be a train or Bald Eagle.

The 50 mile mid-section, from Pumphose to Dotsero, the river continues to pick up tributaries growing bigger and bigger, it is extremely scenic with a diversity of landscapes flowing from sage flats into breath taking canyons. Packed with wildlife, sightings of eagles, bears, and bighorn sheep are possible. This is big water and the fish can get very spread out and sometimes hard to find, giving the float fishing angler a huge advantage. See our “Guide to Float Fishing” tab for put-in and take-outs.Nymphing and using streamers is highly effective, but if the hatch is on, the dry fly action can be great. At the end of May you can see huge salmon flies, which drive the fish crazy. On a hot sunny windless August afternoon a dollar won’t buy you a strike, but at dusk when the shadows get long and a cool breeze blows up river, the caddis leave there refuge in the willows to drop their eggs, this is the start of happy hour.

Just below Dotsero the river meets up with the Eagle and meanders into the Glenwood Canyon, one of the most spectacular in the state. The character of the river changes from slow to turbulent, river gradient and large boulders dropped from the canyon walls have created huge rapids. The fishing is great but the wading can be treacherous, large sharp rocks are extremely difficult to negotiate. Halfway down the canyon Grizzly Creek meets the Colorado, this is an important spawning tributary and fishing is prohibited 3/15-5/15 and 10/01-11/30, during other times you will find riffle pool character offering the dry fly angler some spectacular fishing opportunities. The Colorado continues west out of the canyon into the city of Glenwood Springs. Here the river meets another major tributary, the Roaring Fork River.
 
The “Fork” is a semi tail water by way of the Frying Pan River and coupled with the natural hot springs on the Colorado water temperatures stay warmer giving these fish get a longer growing season that leads to….you guessed it… Big Fish. In fact according to the local retired fish biologist with the Division of Wildlife the section of river from Glenwood Springs to Rifle is the largest biomass of fish in the state. Because this section is low in elevation it is subject to all of the storms that can blow out the upper river and tributaries and is often discolored in the summer months.