CMC's Denver Fly Fishing Section
Colorado Rivers Information

Page Two (D - I)


Name Region
Dolores SW
The Dolores River forms in Tin Can Basin near Dolores Peak and Mt. Wilson in the San Miguel Mountains. It flows past the town of Dolores, joins the San Miguel River and continues into Utah. The Dolores is heavily used for irrigation and water levels are affected. The tailwater below McPhee Reservoir is a popular technical fishery.
Eagle West
The Eagle's headwaters begin above Minturn near Vail. It parallels I-70 thru Avon, Wolcott, Eagle and Gypsum before joining the Colorado River at Dotsero. The Eagle is a 45-50' wide freestone river with pocket water, riffles and runs. Public access is limited to portions of the I-70 sector for browns and rainbows.
East West
The East is a free-flowing stream with headwaters below Schofield Pass and Emerald Lake. The river averages 20' wide and is characterized by riffles, pools and willows. The East generally flows southeast.

Public access is limited. In late summer and early fall, spawning Kokanee salmon migrate from Blue Mesa Reservoir in an attempt to return to the Roaring Judy Hatchery. The East merges with the Taylor to form the Gunnison River a few miles below the hatchery at Almont.
Elk NW
The Elk River is the largest tributary of the Yampa with headwaters in the Mt Zirkel Wilderness below Big Agnes Peak. The headwaters and side streams in the National Forest provide the best public access. This section is best fished in late summer and fall.

The Elk River below Glen Eden is mostly private. Rainbows, browns, and mountain whitefish trout are prevalent here. The Elk joins the Yampa near Milner between Craig and Steamboat Springs.
Encampment North
The Encampment River begins near Gem Lake in the Park Range of Jackson County. The tiny stream winds north through lush valleys to the Wyoming state line near Hog Park. The Encampment requires backcountry travel in Colorado.
Fall North
The Fall River is a tiny mountain stream that begins in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Fall can be reached just west of Estes Park as the river parallels Hwy 34. Fishing is mainly in pocket waters and meadow runs for wary trout. It's possible to land a "grand slam" of four trout species in this river.
Florida SW
Headwaters begin below Florida Peak and Lillie Lake in the Needle Mountains of the Weminuche Wilderness. Lemon Reservoir is an impoundment of the Florida 14 miles northeast of Durango. The river continues its flow southwest, into the Southern Ute Reservation and joins the Animas near Bondage.
Fraser Central
The Fraser is a freestone with headwaters at Berthoud Pass. The river flows through public National Forest for the first 8 miles, alongside Hwy 40. From Winter Park to Fraser, the river can be accessed by the Fraser River Trail. Access is limited downstream of the trail until Granby.

Some of the best fishing is in Fraser Canyon north of Tabernash. The river here widens to a medium-sized stream and holds several species of trout. The Fraser joins the Colorado River two miles west of Granby.
Fryingpan West
The Fryingpan or "Pan" flows east to west above and below Ruedi Reservoir in the White River National Forest. Forest Road 105 parallels the river for most of its path. The upper section, above Ruedi, is a freestone stream.

The immediate tailwaters below Ruedi Dam hold huge rainbows and browns. Crowds of fly fishers congregate at these famous Gold Medal waters. Trout here feed on mysis shrimp. Fly fishing here requires light tippets, tiny flies, and good presentation.

The less crowded downstream waters also hold large trout and whitefish. The river is relatively shallow and not often floated. The Fryingpan is a tributary of the Roaring Fork, which it joins at Basalt.
Green NW
The Green River flows for 40 miles inside Dinosaur National Monument before returning to Utah. It is a warm-water desert stream in Colorado. Here, the Green contains catfish, northern pike and endangered native fish such as the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker.
Gunnison West
The Gunnison River begins at Almont, between the towns of Crested Butte and Gunnison, where the Taylor and East Rivers merge. The Gunnison has two distinct sections: the upper and lower. The upper Gunnison extends about 20 miles from Almont to Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Several impoundments later, the lower section starts at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Twenty-four miles of Gold Medal-designated waters extend from the park and Gunnison Gorge to the confluence with the North Fork. The river flows through red desert canyon northwest of Delta before joining the Colorado at Grand Junction.

The Gold Medal waters of the lower section are reputed to support the richest biomass of any Colorado river and is renowned for a giant stonefly hatch. The Gunnison holds trout through the town of Delta.
Huerfano South
The Huerfano's headwaters begin near Blanca Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains above Gardner in west Huerfano County. It flows east and northeast before joining the Arkansas River downstream of Pueblo.

The best fishing is in the upper stretches before reaching the valley floor. Major public access begins 12 miles west of Gardner on the Huerfano State Wildlife Area. Downstream waters are heavily diverted for irrigation. Flows here tend to be warm and sluggish.
Illinois North
The Illinois is a tributary of the North Platte in North Park. Headwaters form above the town of Rand below Fairview Mountain. Best fishing is in the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge south of Walden. The refuge is closed from 6/1 to 7/31 for waterfowl nesting.

Here, the river is a dense willowy, meandering mountain stream. Fishing is mainly for brown trout in riffles, pocket water and undercut banks. The Illinois merges with the Michigan River a mile northwest of Walden.
Name Region

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