CMC's Denver Fly Fishing Section
Colorado Rivers Information

Page Four (R - Y)


Name Region
Republican - North Fork East
The North Fork of the Republican River begins west of Wray in Yuma County. It is a warm-water prairie stream that merges with the Arikaree River in NE Nebraska before forming the Republican.
Rio de los Pinos SW
The Rio de los Pinos begins south of the town of Los Pinos in Conejos County from the confluence of several streams. It flows east and southeast into New Mexico, paralleling the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway.

The Rio de los Pinos cuts a deep canyon in New Mexico, flowing east then northeast, before returning to Colorado. It joins the San Antonio River west of Ortiz. The portion near Ortiz holds good-sized brown trout.
Rio Grande SW
The Rio Grande River begins as a freestone stream high in the San Juan mountains. It forms the Rio Grande Reservoir about 27 miles west of Creede. The eight mile stretch below the dam lies in the Weminuche Wilderness and is accessible to the public.

The tailwater from Rio Grande Reservoir to Del Norte is the most popular section. The Rio Grande below the dam flows east following Highway 149 to Del Norte. Below Del Norte the river meanders toward New Mexico.

The Rio Grande is considered a classic western river with big riffles, pocket water, scenery and big trout. The giant salmonfly hatch is among Colorado's best. The river between the towns of South Fork and Del Norte is Gold Medal designated. The Rio is primarily a brown trout river with occasional rainbows and cutthroats.
Roaring Central
The Roaring is a tiny stream in eastern Rocky Mountain National Park. It's a rugged alpine hike to fish endangered greenback cutthroats.
This Roaring Fork, not to be confused with the one near Aspen, is a short, small stream. It lies on the Manville State Wildlife Area west of Walden and south of Delaney Butte Lakes. Fishing is for brown and brook trout.
The Roaring Fork River is a freestone stream with Wild Trout and Gold Medal status. Headwaters begin near Independence Pass in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness. The Fork parallels Hwy 82 through Aspen, with public access from the headwaters to 3 miles upstream of town. rainbow and brook trout dominate.

The Roaring Fork is classified as Gold Medal and Wild Trout Waters from Holum Lake to Upper Woody Creek Bridge in the valley. Access is from the Rio Grande Trail. Downstream, the Fryingpan River joins the Roaring Fork at Basalt. Mountain whitefish are common here.

From the Crystal River confluence until it joins the Colorado, the Fork is Gold Medal Water. Here, large rainbows and browns are best fished from a float as the river is much bigger and faster. The Roaring Fork ends at Glenwood Springs.
San Antonio SW
The San Antonio, also known as the Rio San Antonio, is a tributary of the Conejos River. Its origins are in New Mexico, flowing northeast to the state line near Ortiz in Conejos County. The Rio de los Pinos joins the San Antonio just west of town, greatly increasing the flow. The river continues its northeast trek before joining the Conejos near Sego Springs State Wildlife Area in the San Luis Valley.
San Juan SW
The San Juan is a tributary of the Colorado, formed from the merger of the East and West Forks below Wolf Creek Pass. An interesting section of the river lies in Pagosa Springs.

Most of the river in town is public. Pagosa Springs negotiated with landowners along the river for fishing and access rights to the high-water mark (unusual in Colorado). One can stay in town, enjoy the hot springs and fish even in the dead of winter.

Past Pagosa Springs, the San Juan flows southwest through mostly private & tribal lands
. Navajo Reservoir is formed near the New Mexico state line. The world-famous tailwaters occur in the New Mexico desert.
San Miguel SW
The San Miguel starts in the box canyon near Telluride in one of the most rugged ranges of Colorado. Side streams usually contain brookies and cutthroats while rainbows and browns reside in the main river.

The San Miguel flows for 90 miles, past Placerville and Nucla and joins the Dolores near the Utah state line. Portions are tarnished by mining waste.
Slate West
The Slate begins above Crested Butte in the White River National Forest near Paradise Basin. Here, it is creek-sized and contains small brook, brown and rainbow trout. The Slate flows southeast past Crested Butte, through meadows and increases in size before joining the East River.
South Platte Central
& NE
The South Platte is full of reservoirs, tailwaters and big trout. It begins in the high mountain meadows of South Park. The popular portion between Spinney and Elevenmile Reservoirs is known as the “Dream Stream” due to the huge browns, rainbows and cutthroats. Here there is slow water, good hatches and no trees. The South Platte River below Elevenmile Reservoir is a popular winter tailwater fishery. It flows through a scenic canyon to the town of Lake George.

Downstream, the most popular, and technical, fishery near Denver is Cheesman Canyon. Access is via foot along the Gill Trail for trophy-sized rainbows and browns. Fishing is characterized by pocket water, deep pools and tiny flies. Below Cheesman, the Deckers area was badly affected by the Hayman Fire of 2002. Recovery efforts are ongoing.

Waterton Canyon is another popular tailwater in the Denver foothills. Many fishermen ride bicycles for access. Below Chatfield Reservoir, the river becomes a warm-water stream populated by carp. Past Denver, the South Platte is heavily used for irrigation as it flows through the plains.
Smoky Hill East
The Smoky Hill is a small, warm-water prairie stream. It begins north of Cheyenne Wells and flows into Kansas.
Snake West
The Snake is a small tributary of the Blue River. Headwaters are near Arapahoe Basin and the town of Montezuma. The two forks join to form the river at Keystone Resort before flowing into Lake Dillon.

The Snake is a moderate-sized Colorado river, 25 feet at its widest and cobble-stoned when running through Keystone. Fishing here is for small brookies and some rainbows stocked by the resort. The Snake is affected by fish kill from mine run-off.
Swan West
The Swan is a small tributary of the Blue River near Breckenridge that drains a narrow valley of mine tailings.
Taylor West
The Taylor flows through Taylor Park and forms Taylor Reservoir. The immediate tailwaters below the dam hold some of the state's largest rainbows and cuttbows thanks to the mysis shrimp churned by the dam.

Here, wading is unpredictable and not recommended. Most anglers sight-fish from shore on this narrow stretch. The Taylor continues some 19 miles to Almont where it joins the East River and forms the Gunnison. There is much public access as the stream parallels Hwy 306.
The Uncompahgre follows the highway from Ouray to Delta where it joins the Gunnison River. The immediate tailwaters below Ridgway Reservoir were rehabilitated to form a park-like run with lots of structure. This has resulted in deep runs and large pools for rainbows, browns and cutthroats.
White NW
The freestone White River begins with the North Fork flowing out of Trapper's Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness. The North and South Forks hold brown, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. The forks converge 27 miles below Trapper's Lake to form the White River below Buford.

Most fly fishermen frequent the 20 miles between Buford and Meeker. Here the stream contains riffles, runs, pools and mountain whitefish. The White continues past Meeker, Rio Blanco Lake and Rangely into the Utah desert.
The most popular stretch of the Williams Fork runs about 2 miles from the dam to the Colorado River at Parshall in Middle Park. Large rainbows (spring) and browns (fall) travel up the tailwaters for spawning. Riffles and runs form the majority of water here. Flows and stream conditions vary widely.

Above the reservoir, the Williams Fork is primarily a mountain meadow stream. Headwaters are located in the Vasquez Mountains west of Jones Pass.
Wind North
The tiny Wind River originates in Rocky Mountain National Park near Glacier Basin. It flows north and east near the YMCA of the Rockies Camp. Aspen Brook joins the river downstream. A mile later, the Wind River joins the Big Thompson River.
Yampa NW
The Yampa begins at the town of Yampa and flows 170 miles through varied terrain to join the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. There are many cold and warm water game species to fish for during its course to the desert. River conditions vary widely.

The Yampa below Stagecoach Reservoir is a tailwater fishery with large rainbows and browns. The river in Steamboat Springs, with thermal-fed waters, is fished year-round. Below town, the Yampa meanders and summer float trips are popular. Northern pike and smallmouth bass join trout as angling targets near Hayden and Craig.
Name Region

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