Big Thompson River

Latest Guide Report


Report by: Randy Hanner

We started out at the inlet of Lake Estes in the am. It was a very busy weekend around the Estes area with the holiday weekend. We were able to get a couple of decent spots to fish around the inlet on the big t. My group of anglers I had set up with nymph rigs that used San Juan worms, eggs as attractors and Barr emergers, and Rs2s as trailers in sizes 16-20. The action in one particular spot was pretty good and we hooked quite a few fish. The fish were taking all of the flies, but the majority of the fish were taking the eggs and emergers. The flows were tricky at over 400cfs, but we weighted up and found fish in the slowest places in the river. We had a solid morning there but after lunch, we wanted to fish where there weren’t as many people.

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.