Big Thompson River Header

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

Buy Now!

Latest Guide Report

Fishing Report Date: 05-22-2015

The flow on the Big Thompson is perfect right now at 125cfs. The lake generated murkiness is lessening day by day. It’s worse closer to the dam but dissipates quickly in the canyon. Fishing is very good with a post noon BWO hatch that has been pretty hot.

Fly of the day was a #20 Copper Ribbed RS2. Fish were also caught on BH Zebra midges, Electric Caddis, UV Emergers, Pink San Juans, and JC Specials.

First Fish of the Day

Father and son with their first fish of the day.

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

Temperature: 47
Wind Conditions: Light-Breeze
Precipitation: Drizzle
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: 125 CFS
Runoff? on
Wallace Westfeldt

Report Submitted By: Wallace Westfeldt

Want to fish with Wallace? Click the button to book!
Click to request
a guided trip with Wallace

Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs