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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: 07-18-2014

Liz and I fished the Big-T yesterday for a full day. It fished very well both below the property line on A-19 and the entire stretch of A-19. Morning was productive with bigger attractor dries trailed by beer head beaetis, copper ribbed rs2′s and pmd nymphs. Takes were 50/50 on dries vs nymphs. There was a bit of a mid-day lull when the sun was high.

In the late afternoon fishing picked up with cloud cover before the hail storm. Hippie stomper as lead for visual trailed by pmd dry in 18. Takes were almost all on pmd.

A quick note on the clarity. Any rain muddies up the lower stuff on the Big-T quickly but it also clears very quickly. Thirty minutes after the rain and hail, the water was clear again. Overall very fun day.


Liz with her first fish Liz with a good one on the Big Thompson! Beautiful runs on Big Thompson River

Report Statistics
5/5Time on Water: 8 Hours
Number of Anglers: 1
Hoook Ups:
Fish Landed:
Weather Experienced

Temperature: 75
Wind Conditions: Gusty
Precipitation: Hail
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: 125 CFS
Runoff? Light-Stain
Zach Lass

Report Submitted By: Zach Lass

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Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs