View Full Version : Estes Park, Colorado fishing

07-28-2008, 05:07 PM
Has anyone fished in the area of Estes Park, Colorado? I would appreciate any information on the area. Does the Rocky Mt National Park have accessable wade fishing?

07-28-2008, 06:44 PM

I have never fished in RMNP. I think some of the guys that work at LRO have fished inside the park and from what they have said there are some similarities to the Smokies in terms of approach and fish size. The Park has lots of wade fishing in small streams. It also has Greenback Cutthroats...

I had been thinking about trying a few of the streams in the Park when I'm out there at the end of August, but we will be in the SW part of the state during most of our trip, so it will be hard to make it up that way to fish.

Here is some info I uncovered when I was looking into fishing up there:

The St Vrain and Big Thompson Rivers are both in the area and the Headwaters of the Colorado River are over Trail Ridge Rd on the west side if the park...The Park is awesome, enjoy yourself.

Hope that helps. Let us know how you do!

Tennessee Jed
07-29-2008, 09:23 AM
RMNP has great fishing. The Big Thompson or "Big T" flows out of the park through the Moraine Valley, and the terrestrial fishing is great this time of year, although this area does get a fair amount of pressure. I've caught some of my better fish in this area letting the beetle or hopper get washed up under the cut banks. It will be fun no matter where you go. This is a great place to take a 3WT and a box of dry flies. You can find cutts, brookies, rainbows and browns in the park.

07-29-2008, 09:38 AM
I looked at a cabin on the Big Thompson not far from the park. How does that river compare, size wise, with Little River? I want to be able to safely wade by myself so a 5 foot deep river with fast current isn't what I'm looking for!

Tennessee Jed
07-29-2008, 11:37 AM
For the fishing you described, I can't think of a better river. The big Thompson is easy to wade, and the views are spectacular. That area is special to me for several reasons, but it's also where I caught my first trout on a fly. If you're willing to walk even just a little, you can find some really neat creeks to fish in the park. (This is John Gierach's stomping grounds.)

Jack M.
07-29-2008, 01:32 PM
I know nothing about fishing this area or about the Big Thompson, but being curious, I searched images for the river and found a couple sites with pictures that may give you an idea what you are looking at. Of course, in different areas along its course, it may look entirely different, but these show a very wadable river:



07-29-2008, 09:51 PM
I would say the river is smaller than the Little River. Fishing is very good. Just a side note. Back in the 1980's they had a flash flood there in early August. Campers on the lower part of the gorge were swept away. I think between 50-100 people lost their lives. There is a memorial there.

07-30-2008, 12:25 PM
Here's another site about the Big T:

07-30-2008, 08:01 PM
There are 2 books that really describe fishing in RMNP, both by Hosmsn, one is fly fishing rocky mountain national park, other is same name, an angler's guide. They will provide you with more info than you ever imagined. My wife and i fishe dthe ara over labor day 2 years ago for 10 days. Big thompson out side the park was where we stayed and the fishing was great, plenty of access. Inside the park we used Este Angler guide servie, guide named Frank, will research exact named later if you have interest. Fishing was great, brown, brook, rainbow and colorado greenback cutt. I tried for grandslam, all four, didn't make it . Greenback, or cutthroat are awesome fighters, one day caught around 15, biggest at 18 inches. my wife got all 4 in one day. If you want more info send email to waynewoods11@comsast.net. We will be in Smokies this labor day for about 10 days, second year in a row. Neither of us can wait to get back to Estes.

08-04-2008, 12:01 PM

I tried an email but it wouldn't go through. I have done some research online and will check the library for the books you mentioned. If you have time, I would be interested in where you stayed. You can email me at trout.2620@hotmail.com. We are considering going in September, depending on lodging. Having trouble finding a cabin the first week, probably the labor day crowd. Thanks for the information.

08-04-2008, 03:38 PM
Barbara, If I had to guess, I think the email link Woody was trying to send is actually: waynewoods11@comcast.net (waynewoods11@comsast.net)

08-05-2008, 09:30 AM
Ah, a computer person knows these things. Thanks, I will resend. (On a good day I can turn my computer on/off all by myself. :cool: )

08-10-2008, 12:01 AM
I have fished the west side of the park, headwaters of the Colorado and several small creeks above Grand Lake. It's only about 30 minutes over from Estes Park on the road through the park.

08-11-2008, 05:35 PM

I have visited and fished Estes Park numerous times, my grandparents lived there before they passed away, and I spent many summers in that beautiful place, good memories exploring the area and practically learning to fly fish there. I haven't been back in 10 years, but there are many wonderful fishing opportunities, both in and outside RMNP. As other folks have already mentioned, Moraine Park is a lovely spot, a wide open valley with (often spooky) browns and brookies in a twisting meadow stream. Many lakes are present in the park too, a number of them with Greenback cutthroat (many of these require hiking and/or camping to access) on the park's east side, and some Colorado River cutthroat on the west side of the park, both gorgeous native fish.

One of my favorite pieces of water here is the Big Thompson river downstream of the park and Lake Estes, which passes through a canyon, lovely scenery and easy access (a highway passes close to much of this stretch of river), similar in size to the Little River, lots of pocket water, some riffles and holes, Browns and Rainbows here, most fish 10-14" and healthy, although I've caught a few Browns 15-16", and seen a few closer to 20". Both nymphs (especially rubberlegs stones, #8-12) and bushy attractor dries can work here in the summer (don't forget to target the quiet river edges and back eddies, often the better Browns reside there). Good stuff, and lots of options up in the Park. Hopefully you can take lots of pictures on your trip, you'll have a great time!


08-20-2008, 11:59 AM
I have most of the Colorado trip planned. Many thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions and advice. It is so nice to have message board participants who are quick to help out. We are lucky to be a part of such a great group of people!

I will take lots of pictures and then probably won't be able to post them but will try!!

09-26-2008, 02:12 PM
We got back from Colorado last week. It was the best vacation (fishing vacation) I've ever had. Here are a few pictures. If anyone wants any specific information on the guide service, ect., email me at trout.2620@hotmail.com.

We took one guided trip to Glacier Creek and Big Thompson River in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I did a horseback ride into the Park and up to a high lake, Thunder Lake, to fish for cutbows (cross between rainbow and cutthroat). That trip was wonderful, although painful!

The rest of the time I fished on my own. Fished some every day for 7 straight days. My shoulder is worn out. But it was worth it.

Someone stole my Orvis reel out of my checked luggage at the Denver Airport coming home, the only disaster during the trip.

09-26-2008, 02:25 PM
On my computer the URL comes up but not the picture. I have to click on each one individually to make it appear. I use photobucket. What am I doing wrong that the pictures won't download directly onto the board?

09-26-2008, 02:45 PM
Under each image you upload to Photobucket you will see 4 selections you can make for posting pics. Email/IM, Direct Link, HTML Code and Image Code.

Copy and paste "IMAGE Code".

Sorry to hear about your reel. I always carry-on all of my gear for that reason.

I just looked on mapquest and I'm about a 9 hour drive away from the Thunder Lake trailhead and my wife is going to be gone in a few weeks for a weekend. Hummmm? :)

09-26-2008, 04:04 PM
Well, now I get a red X and still no pictures will download.

Paula Begley
09-27-2008, 10:29 AM
Barbara, call me at the shop. I bet I can talk you through it.