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Big Thompson River

Latest Guide Report


Report by: Randy Hanner

We fished the stretches above lake estes and the inlet of the lake. We had decent action in the morning mostly on nymphs rigs and dry dropper rigs, the fish were eating the nymphs in the morning. The flies that were working were baetis nymphs in small sizes #20s, like PTs and micro mays. As the sun came out and the water warmed in the late morning we found a lot of fish that were eating almost primarily on the surface. We fished double dry rigs for nearly the rest of the trip. The fish were mostly interested in midge dries like shuck midges, but we caught fish on hippie stompers, water stone dries and two dries as well. The action was great for dry fly fishing and our guests had a great time catching fish on the surface for the first time for them! Overall a nice outing and some great early season dry fly action.

Guide Rating
Weather Experienced

Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: CFS
Runoff? Clear

Big Thompson River Water Flow Graphs

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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.