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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: 11-15-2016

Big Thompson below Lake Estes is running low. Overcast days you can expect to see some BWO’s hatching, try an extended body BWO (#20-24) trailed by an RS2 or the copper ribbed variety. Light Dry dropper rigs will work best in these low conditions. For nymphs try a Poison Tung (#22), Midge Bomb (#22), or Rainbow Warrior (#22).

Conditions on the Big T in the park are extremely tough now. If you choose to have a flick up there, long leaders with 6X or 7X tippet and small flies will help improve your odds.

Report Statistics
/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: 25 cfs CFS
Runoff? Clear

Report Submitted By: Randy Hanner

Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs