Big Thompson River

Latest Guide Report


Report by: Madalaine McLaughlin

Location: Big Thompson Meadow and Lake Estes Inlet

Flies used: Fish caught on Perdigons, Blue Poison Tungs. Hippie Stompers (Red and Yellow), and Chubbies as attractor dries

Fishing Conditions: Fishing in both the meadow and inlet was extremely technical. Hopper-droppers were the best bet for catching fish as strike indicators were spooking fish. Fish were holding in deep pools as well as underneath  overhanging ice shelves. Had success sight-casting in meadow when spooks were avoided.

General Comments: Fish in the meadow were active but spooky. Had several bites mostly on Perdigons. Inlet fished better, with a nice 13-14 inch brown getting landed.

FRA Guide: Mark Haley





Guide Rating
Weather Experienced

Temperature: colder
Wind Conditions: Light-Breeze
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: low 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.