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Big Thompson River

Starting as a mere trickle on the east side of the Continental Divide, inside Rocky Mountain National Park, the Big Thompson flows from Forest Canyon Pass near the top of Trail Ridge Road through Forest Canyon. As small drainages offer additional snowmelt, the Big Thompson picks up volume, turning into one of Colorado’s finest streams.

The Big Thompson becomes fishable at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park, about six miles downstream of its headwaters. It’s there at Moraine Park, where the river splits into numerous braids and channels, that fisherman encounter the river’s first public access. Trails leading up and down the river from that point will lead you to great flyfishing experiences.

Moraine is a wide-open area, but the Big Thompson’s banks are lined with willows. It’s typical small stream conditions, and the river is filled with, you guessed it, brook, brown, and cutthroat trout in the 6- to 12-inch range. They’ll readily take a variety of general attractor flies.

River description excerpted from Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado by Marty Bartholomew
River description excerpted from Flyfisher’s Guide to Colorado by Marty Bartholomew

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Latest Guide Report

Fishing Report Date:

The Big Thompson has been fishing ok as of recent. With the lower water fishing micro nymph rigs has been the most effective tactic. I would start off with a #16-18 blue posion tung or micro may, and follow that by a #18-22 copper ribbed RS-2, gray RS-2 or a #18-24 olive zebra midge. Look for fish rising to small midge patterns in the afternoon during the warmer days.

Report Statistics
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Weather Experienced

Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: CFS
Runoff? Clear
Cody Burgdorff

Report Submitted By: Cody Burgdorff

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Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs