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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: 03-23-2015

I fished with a client in the morning until our lunch break at the big Thompson tail water. The morning was cold to start and the fish didn’t really respond to any flies until almost 10:00am. Our first fish took a small blue colored midge. Shortly after that we started seeing some midge activity and changed to a dry/emerger rig. We were getting consistent interest in this rig and stayed with it until lunch. We had a handful of fish landed by lunch. The dry fly was a Matt’s midge variation and the emerger was a mole fly.

Report Statistics
3/5Time on Water: 4 Hours
Number of Anglers: 1
Hoook Ups:
Fish Landed:
Weather Experienced

Temperature: 40
Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: 27 CFS
Runoff? Clear
Tim Neering

Report Submitted By: Tim Neering

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Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs