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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: 07-29-2014

Although the Big Thompson is absolutely full of fish, catching can be challenging depending on the conditions. Yesterday started out on a cloudless morning with an ideal 125cfs. Not a lot of visible insects. Initial dry dropper rigs were a bust. After reluctantly switching to a #22 Copper Ribbed RS2 on 7X we finally got fish. By 11am the water temp was 65 degrees, so things didn’t get better. After lunch, a brief cloud cover got some fish rising to #22 Parachute Adams and #24 Mole Fly matching a rather wimpy mayfly hatch. Pretty technical fishing with low catch counts. A cloudy morning might really light things up. In the meantime, keep it small and light and be patient.

Rob With Nice Brown

Report Statistics
3/5Time on Water:
Number of Anglers:
Hoook Ups:
Fish Landed:
Weather Experienced

Temperature: 78
Wind Conditions: Light-Breeze
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature: 65
Flow Level: 125 CFS
Runoff? Clear
Wallace Westfeldt

Report Submitted By: Wallace Westfeldt

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Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs