Big Thompson River

Latest Guide Report


Report by: Madalaine McLaughlin

Location: Big Thompson tailwater

Flies used: sz20 Bionic Ant tan/red, sz16 yellow/tan chubby chernobyl, sz18 yellow Stubby Chubby, sz18 split back PMD, sz20 jig zebra midge tan

Fishing Conditions: Water was low and clear with a slight stain (possibly from the rain the night before). WE got on the water early at 7:30am with a water temp at 61. Fished using 5x and 6x tippet and had several rises to the dry. As water warmed we focused our efforts in the faster riffles and runs in the shade. When we got off the water at 11:30 the temp was already up to 66/67 degrees. Fish it early and keep the fish wet.

Guide: Tyler Strickland



Guide Rating
Weather Experienced

Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: CFS
Runoff? Clear

Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs

About Big Thompson River Fly Fishing

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.