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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: 01-10-2018

The Big Thompson is fishing well. Parts of the upper canyon along Highway 34 and the entire meadow section are reasonably free of ice. Fish are also relatively active during the warmth of the day. Try fishing a dry dropper rig with a parachute Adams purple haze on top (#14-20) and a variety of small midges are catching fish. Try Black and olive zebra midges (#22-24), blue poison tungs (#22), purple and black pellets (#16), and UV midges (#22 – 24). A few sporadic midges coming off throughout the day will get a few fish looking up as well.

Report Statistics
3.5/5Time on Water:
Number of Anglers:
Hoook Ups:
Fish Landed:
Weather Experienced

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

Clear
Water Temperature:
Flow Level: CFS
Runoff? Clear

Report Submitted By: Randy Hanner

Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs