Rocky Mountain National Park

Latest Guide Report


Report by: Madalaine McLaughlin

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park at Fall River.

Flies used: #16 Hi Viz Parachute Caddis with a #18 Zebra Midge. #16 Missing Link Caddis with a #16 Parachute Adams.

Fishing Conditions: Partly cloudy skies, with high temperature 97 degrees. Clear water at 55 degrees.

General Comments: It was a fun day at Fall River. The day was overcast and very warm with light breezes. Started fishing with a Parachute Caddis and a Zebra Midge, and landed a Greenback Cutthroat from the first deeper hole we came to. We rotated between a 7′ 3wt and a 9′ 4wt so that we always had a rod rigged and ready to go if we snagged or needed to clear algae from the flies. Fish were found in the expected places, slower seams between riffles, behind or in front of larger rocks, in eddies along the banks and in slower deep pools. The takes were often very quick and subtle and we missed a few opportunities to hook fish before they expelled the hook. The morning was productive and we walked upriver in the Fall River to the Roaring River, and up to the upper side of the bridge. Lots of Brook trout and Brown trout were caught along the way, and often in surprising low water sections. Fishing double dries was particularly fun. We stopped for lunch and then retraced our initial fishing route in Fall River and caught a couple more fish. But, we caught just that one Greenback for the day. Total fish caught was approximately 20, but we were having so much fun that we both lost count. Overall, it was a really fun day in the park.

Guide: Drew Watson

Guide Rating
Weather Experienced

Wind Conditions: Calm
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature:
Flow Level: CFS
Runoff? Clear

Rocky Mountain National Park Water Flow Graphs

Rocky Mountain National Park Fly Fishing

This may just be one of the best resources that the Front Range of Colorado has to offer. The “Park” as locals like to call it has too many lakes and streams to begin to speak about. The Park really has it all, from big browns in Moraine Park to beautiful native Greenback Cutthroats in high mountain streams and lakes. The Greenback is the Colorado state fish and was thought to be extinct around the turn of the century. Lucky for anglers a remnant population was found and RMNP has gone through lengthy efforts to return the Front Range’s native trout back to its home range.

The park might be the best shot at finding what has been called the most beautiful cutthroat on a fly.

Rocky Mountain National Park has three entrances from the Front Range. From the east the main entrances are Beaver Meadows, which enters via highway 36, Fall River, which comes in from highway 34, and then there is the Wild basin entrance off the Peak to Peak Highway (Hwy 7). All three access great water. Highway 36 places you right near Moraine Park and the Bear Lake area. Moraine Park is best known for the meadow section where you can hunt nice brown trout in undercut banks while elk watch from a distance. The Bear Lake area has numerous high mountain lakes; Dream Lake is one of the highlights in this area.

The Fall River Road entrance via highway 34 has easy access to Fall River and the Roaring River. These rivers offer excellent dry fly fishing in breathtaking settings. Further up the trail there are some high mountain lakes that are well worth the 5+ mile hike in. This area offers one of the best shots at getting the Grand Slam; Browns, Brooks, Rainbows, and Greenbacks.

The Wild Basin area is just that, wild and fun. The head waters of the St. Vain run through here, while Longs Peak and Mt. Meeker set the backdrop for some of the more remote places in the park. This is another area where a Grand Slam is very obtainable.

Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the best fishing that the Boulder/Denver area has to offer. There really is something for everyone there, even beyond just fishing.