By Mary Anderson
Colorado’s 6,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams and 2,000 lakes and reservoirs offer tons of opportunity to drop your line around some incredible scenery. Here are our top picks for places to fish this season.
Roaring Fork Valley Glenwood Springs
With national recognition for fly fishing, the Roaring Fork Valley is home to one of Colorado’s longest stretches of gold medal water. There’s access to both the Roaring Fork River from the Rio Grande Trail and the Colorado River from the Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail. The rivers are home to brookies, browns, cutthroats and rainbow trout.
The San Juan and Animas Rivers Durango
Also home to gold medal waters, Durango offers great fishing for all experience levels. The San Juan River contains up to 10,000 fish per mile in some areas, with tons of Kokanee salmon, rainbow trout small-mouth bass, German brown trout, northern pike and walleye. Easily accessible by foot and bike trails, the Animas River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in our state. It is great for bank, wade and float fishing.
Gunnison, Taylor and Slate Rivers Gunnison Valley
Located near Gunnison and Crested Butte, these three rivers offer a plethora of different scenery and types of fishing. With great accessibility, the area is also home to Colorado’s state-record brown trout, as well as kokanee salmon, and rainbow and lake trout.
South Platte River Deckers
The South Platte stretches 18 miles from Cheesman Reservoir to the confluence with the North Fork. The waters are slow moving, making it easy to maneuver and hold up to 3,000 fish per mile, including some nice sized trout. But, the river’s also one of the more popular areas, so be prepared for potential crowds.
San Miguel River Telluride
For those looking for a more remote experience, the San Miguel River resides in a beautiful location near a town known for its incredible views. There’s a mix of technical water and easy access, making the river a great choice for fishermen of all levels. Expect rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout and brook trout.
Arkansas River Brown’s Canyon, Salida
Drop your line for some brown trout and wave to rafters as they float by. Although most well known for its whitewater rafting, Browns Canyon offers an awesome experience for anglers. There’s lots of accessibility and up to 5,000 trout per mile.
Rio Grande River Del Norte
Great for big river fishing, the Rio Grande is filled with brown trout. There are eleven public boating access points. The area is also known for float fishing. With a mix of both private and public lands, floaters get the opportunity to fish in waters where bank anglers wouldn’t be allowed.