Fishing the Colorado River Headwaters in RMNP
The Colorado River is the largest river in the American Southwest, though the river’s humble headwaters originate in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Colorado begins by draining off the park’s high elevation snowfields and meanders its way down the west slope of the Continental Divide through the Kawuneeche Valley.
The Colorado’s headwaters also make for fantastic fly-fishing, with opportunities to catch several species of trout. This section of river contains mostly brook trout, with browns, cutthroats, and even the odd rainbow trout also present. These feisty fish are plentiful in population, and put up quite a fun fight on a fly rod. Most of the trout in this stretch are on the smaller side, though there are definitely some larger trout lurking in some of the river’s deeper holes.
The river is smaller here, and makes for easy wading opportunities.
A light fly rod is the ideal tackle for this water, and the fish will readily rise to dry flies. Using a dry-dropper fly setup with a nymph tied below a dry fly can often yield even more strikes. Insect life is abundant on the upper Colorado, with midges, caddis flies, and mayflies hatching throughout the summer. Small spinners and jigs can also get some bites on conventional spin fishing rods. Whether using flies or conventional gear, cast to slower runs, pools, undercut banks, and other deeper spots when looking for fish.
The upper Colorado River can be accessed in the park just north of Grand Lake along Trail Ridge Road (U.S. Highway 34). Access points include several turnoffs along Trail Ridge Road, the Coyote Valley Trail, the Holzwarth Historic Site, and other areas throughout RMNP’s Kawuneeche Valley. Fishing along the upper Colorado also provides breathtaking valley scenery, with frequent opportunities to view the park’s wildlife.
Remember to get a valid Colorado fishing license and to be familiar with area regulations before fishing. There are no fishing shops or other services within Rocky Mountain National Park, which makes the town of Grand Lake a convenient resource for park visitors. With fishing shops, guide services, outfitters, and more, Grand Lake has everything you need for fishing the Colorado River Headwaters in RMNP! Contact us at the Chamber for more info!
To contact the Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, call 970-627-3402