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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: 09-15-2014

The Big T has been cruising along at 75 cfs for some time now. Fish have settled into their feeding zones and patterns. Tiny BWOs and Midges are the predominant meals being served to these trout … some of which need to eat more. Try #22 Jujubaetis, Copper Ribbed RS2, or #20 Mole Flys on top. Stick with 7X. From midday on there is a great alternative … Caddis … both on top and as a dropper. On top use an Olive (to green) #18 Elk Hair and 6X. For Droppers use the Electric Caddis or Banskia Bug. There are some large free swimming Caddis larvae in the water.

Jason with Big T Brown

Report Statistics
4/5Time on Water:
Number of Anglers:
Hoook Ups:
Fish Landed:
Weather Experienced

Temperature: 75
Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: 75 CFS
Runoff? Clear
Wallace Westfeldt

Report Submitted By: Wallace Westfeldt

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Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs