Fishing in Central Colorado
Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brook, Brown and's all "Trout" in Central Colorado

Colorado is known world-wide for its excellent fishery; particularly it's cold-water species. Central Colorado waters hold quality cutthroat, rainbow, brook, brown, and lake trout. The area offers world-class trout fishing combined with breathtaking views of the Central Colorado Rockies. Anglers have an opportunity to fish "Gold Medal" streams and rivers running crystal-clear through open grasslands and boulder filled gorges with scenic 14,000 foot peaks as the backdrop. The high mountain lakes offer anglers the chance to catch native brook trout and other trout species. You can fish for quality trout in streams that are designated as "Wild Trout" water. The state of Colorado has an excellent fish stocking program so almost every stream, river, or lake in the Central Rocky Mountains have fish; and lots of them. Fishing does not end when winter comes; many lakes in the region have good ice fishing. And some rivers and stream offer excellent fishing for trophy trout all year. Local guides and outfitters offer guided fishing trips on some of the most productive fishing streams in the area. Or you may choose a guided float fishing trip on the Arkansas River.

Gold Medal Waters:
Waters designated as Gold Medal by the Colorado Division of Wildlife are lakes or streams in Colorado offering the greatest potential for trophy trout fishing.

Wild Trout Waters:
Waters designated as Wild Trout Waters by the Colorado Division of Wildlife are waters with self-sustaining trout populations. Artificial stocking occurs only in emergencies.


Fishing in Central Colorado

Featured Fishing Guides in Central Colorado


Ark Anglers

Welcome from the best fly fishing outfitters in Colorado. ArkAnglers is the premier guide service in the region - Why? We are the only company combining:

  • Full service fly shops in Salida, Buena Vista and Pueblo;
  • A full-time guide staff of flyfishing professionals;
  • Guided trips on the Arkansas River, South Platte River, and high lakes;
  • Learn-to-fly-fish instructional programs;
  • Region's most complete float fishing outfitters;
  • Hatches and dry fly fishing from March to October!
Join us for the best trout fishing and guided fly fish trips in Colorado by calling 719-539-4223
Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures

Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures

Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures offers a multitude of guided fly fishing trips from catching wary trout on small nymphs on the South Platte near Deckers, Colorado, float tubing a remote Colorado alpine lake in search of monster brook trout, to floating the Roaring Fork River during the infamous Green Drake hatch.  Our Colorado fly fishing trips are custom tailored to meet the individual needs and goals of our fly fishing client.  Whether you are looking for a fly fishing excursion with family or friends or you are in Denver for business and have a few hours to kill between corporate meetings, Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures has the right fly fishing adventure for you.

Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures offers amazing guided Colorado fly fishing trips and fly fishing lessons to over 60 different Colorado fly fishing locations, enabling us to suit the needs of any angler, from skilled to beginner. Many of our fly fishing destinations, both public and private, are only a short distance from Denver. Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures operates 365 days a year, customizing Corporate and Group fly fishing events, fly fishing day trips, and fly fishing instruction and classes.

For the ultimate in guided fly fishing trips, call 303-816-0487

Dvorak's Fly Fishing Expediations

Dvorak's Expeditions

Cast yourself in a new direction on a fly fishing vacation (or spin fishing trip) with Dvorak Expeditions. We offer float fishing trips on some of the wildest and most productive trout fishing waters in the West on six rivers in Colorado, Idaho and Utah including on those awarded “Gold Medal” status by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Dolores Riverand the Gunnison Gorge on the Gunnison River.

Our trips are fully catered including all boating equipment, delicious meals and beverages. Once on shore, we take care of the camp chores and cooking while you kick-back or keep on fishing to your heart’s content. Fishing reels, rods, flies, and gear we recommend you use can be rented from us or you are welcome to bring your own. A valid fishing license must also be purchased in the state you wish to fish in which we are happy to help you with.

Reserve your ultimate vacation today by calling 800-824-3795

Fishing Guides in Central Colorado

ArkAnglers, 7500 West US Highway 50, Salida, CO 81201. 719-539-4223
Arkansas River Tours, PO Box 337, Cotopaxi, CO 81223. 800-321-4352
Colorado Fly Fishing Adventures, 8360 S Warhawk Rd, Conifer, CO 80433. 303-816-0487
Colorado Trout Hunters, 4398 South Youngfield Street, Morrison, CO 80465. 303-325-5515
Dvorak's Expeditions, 17921 US Highway 285, Nathrop, CO 81236. 800-824-3795
Four Corners Rafting, 22565 South US Highway 285, Buena Vista, CO 81211. 866-745-7238
4 UR Ranch, PO Box 340, Creede, CO 81130. 719-658-2202
Gold Medal Fishing, 6748 County Road 742, Almont, CO 81210. 800-235-3402
South Fork Anglers Guide Service, 101 Creede Street, Creede, CO 81130. 877-656-3474
Wolf Creek Anglers, 266 East US Highway 160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147


Gold Medal Water, Wild Trout Water & Hot Spots

Almost every lake, reservoir, stream, and river in the Central Rockies will have trout of one kind or another. The following Central Colorado waters have established reputations and stand out above the others. They offer you the greatest potential for trophy trout fishing.

Arkansas River
This is a classic western trout stream with 148 miles of challenging and scenic water from its headwaters above Leadville to Pueblo Reservoir. The Arkansas boasts high catches of browns and rainbows to 20 inches. Browns dominate the fishery. Cutthroats are also caught. Notable stretches include Brown's Canyon near Buena Vista to several miles downstream of Salida and in the Granite area. The Arkansas offers fishing opportunities for every type of angler, from the bank or from a boat. The Caddis hatch during warm weather results in hot action. There are public fishing areas that are accessible from U.S. Highways 24, 50, and 285 as well as some requiring more of a hike. The trout population in the Arkansas is 90% self-reproducing brown trout and 10% Colorado River rainbows. Expect about 2,000 fish per mile on the average. The fishing is the best when the flows are lower and the water is clear. The river starts to clear up at around 1,200 cubic feet per second.  The river can be a placid stream or a raging river crashing through rocky gorges. The better fishing is going to be found where the water is a little calmer, but don’t be mistaken, the river is a powerful force and care must be taken when wading. Float fishing offers the greatest potential for a trophy trout. The Arkansas is also a good winter fishery with a surprising number of moderate days. Water temperatures near 40 degrees usually means good fishing. Your chances of landing a real trophy trout are as good here as any place in Colorado.

South Platte River/South & Middle Forks
East of U.S. Hwy 285 near Fairplay the oxbow sections of the Platte flows through a high plain area known as South Park. Over 50 miles of public access to this Gold Medal water are well marked. Brown trout up to 10 lbs. migrate up the Middle Fork in the summer. Excellent surface fishing with fast action when fish rise to the many summer hatches on the South Fork above and below Antero Reservoir. Below Spinney Mountain Reservoir it's catch and release year round. The South and Middle Forks of the Platte are small to medium sized. The Middle Fork within the Tomahawk State Wildlife Area is designated as Wild Trout water. Green and white signs mark the Middle Fork access and are scattered along Highway 9 from Garo to Hatsel. The Eleven mile Canyon tailwater of the South Platte, now under Forest Service Control, is a beautiful stretch of water flowing through a scenic canyon. Drive to the town of Lake George and follow the signs. Best opportunity for quality-sized rainbows, browns, and cutthroats are the Middle Fork between Hartsel and Fairplay and the main river above Spinney Mountain Reservoir. Good access is available above and below Antero Reservoir. Eleven mile Canyon near Lake George should not be passed this section is possibly one of the best in the area.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir
This reservoir consistently produces large rainbows measuring 16-inch and more, browns and trophy-sized cutthroat trout, as well as northern pike. The reservoir is designated as Gold Medal water. Best fishing is right after April ice-out. Excellent belly boat and shore fishing. Located east of Antero Junction, take U.S. Hwy 24 to County Road 23. Drive south for 2.8 miles and then east on Country Road 59 for 1 mile to entrance. This 2,500 surface-acre reservoir serves as an isolated retreat for visitors seeking beautiful views of the Collegiate Mountain Range. The reservoir is open seasonally from approximately May 1 through November 15. Camping is available at nearby Eleven Mile State Park. Spinney Mountain is one of Colorado's finest lake fisheries. It has given anglers many rewarding days for over ten years. Despite its popularity and heavy pressure, production remains generally good and one should not be discouraged by what appears to be a crowd. Spinney is one of the few reservoirs in Colorado designated a Gold Medal water. When fishing is good at Spinney Mountain, you'll have to look hard to find any better.

Eleven mile Reservoir
Discover incredible fishing at one of Colorado's largest reservoirs. Sports writers across the state have written volumes about Eleven Mile's fantastic fishing. Rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon, and northern pike are all found within the waters of this 3,400 surface-acre reservoir. Scenic vistas, larger than average rainbow, cutthroats and browns plus some of the biggest kokanee salmon in the state make Eleven Mile a best bet for all fishermen visiting the Central Rockies. The reservoir is open year-round, offering spectacular Rocky Mountain sunsets and plenty of room to breathe. Eleven mile is a winter anglers delight and Colorado's premier ice fishing hole. Large northern pike, rainbows, and browns are consistently pulled out every winter. Reached via U.S. Hwy 24, south on County Road 90, then follow signs.

Turquoise and Twin Lakes
Two of the most scenic reservoirs in Colorado located at the base of the Continental Divide. Both have excellent campgrounds and boat ramps. Turquoise offers rainbow, brown, cutthroat and lake trout fishing. Twin Lakes is noted for large lake trout. Fishing is also good for rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. Turquoise Lake is 4 miles west of Leadville. Twin Lakes is 17 miles north of Buena Vista, then 6 miles west on State Hwy 82.

Clear Creek Reservoir
This reservoir produces good catches of nice-sized brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout. The kokanee salmon fishery is improving with a good fall run up Clear Creek. A boat ramp and other facilities are good with camping available nearby. Clear Creek is located 13 miles north of Buena Vista on U.S. Hwy 285.

Conejos River
The Conejos River is a tributary to the Rio Grande. The lower section from Aspen Glade Campground upstream to Menkhaven Resort is restricted to fly-fishing only. The upper section from the confluence with the South Fork upstream to the Saddle Creek bridge is restricted to flies and lures only. Fishing is good in both sections for wild brown and rainbow trout. Location: Lower section: from Antonito go west 16 miles on State Hwy 17 to Aspen Glade campground. Access for fishing is through fishing easements on private property and are signed. Upper section: from Antonito go west 21 miles on Highway 17 to USFS Road 250. Drive 9 miles north on USFS Road 250 to public land upstream of the South Fork confluence.

Road Canyon Reservoir
Road Canyon Reservoir is a productive cold-water reservoir loaded with brook and rainbow trout. Fishing is best in the spring months following ice melt. Easy access is allowed via USFS Road 520 which parallels the north bank of the reservoir. Location: From Creede, go 25 miles west on State Hwy 149 to USFS Road 520, then 4 miles west to reservoir.

Beaver Creek Reservoir
Beaver Creek Reservoir is a popular trout fishery in the South Fork area. A resident population of brown trout exists, with some large sized fish caught annually. Kokanee salmon provide good action for anglers trolling in boats. Ice fishing is popular during the winter months. A concrete boat ramp is available for launching boats. Location: From South Fork, go 2 miles southwest on U.S. Hwy 160 to USFS Road 360, then 6 miles south.

Rio Grande River
The mighty Rio Grande begins its long journey to the Gulf of Mexico high in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Look for good brown and rainbow trout fishing from Rio Grande Reservoir downstream to Del Norte. Fly-fishing is best June through July when stone fly and mayfly hatches dominate fish diets. The Gold Medal section from South Fork to Del Norte provides the angler with the best opportunity to catch a trophy brown trout. Location: West of Del Norte and north of South Fork to Creede. There is easy access to the river via U.S. Hwy 160 and State Hwy149 which generally parallels the river. Much of the river is privately owned, but public access is excellent through numerous state leases.

Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado

Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado

The Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado covers all of the rivers and lakes of this great fishing state. Marty covers each river in detail with how to fish the water, the best times, a list of go-to flies, hatch charts, and the best times to fish each water. All of the major waters are covered including South Platte, Cache la Poudre, Arkansas, Big Thompson, Rio Grande, Gunnison, Taylor, East Uncompahgre, Dolores, San Miguel, Los Pinos, Piedra, San Juan, Colorado, Fraser, Blue, Eagle, Roaring Fork, Frying Pan, Yampa, White, North Platte, Laramie, and many others. He also covers the creeks: St.Vrain, Muddy, Gore, Clear Fork and many more. Marty also covers the lakes and reservoirs including Steamboat, Lake John, Horse Tooth, Pueblo, Grand Mesa Lakes, and many more. There is travel information for all of the destinations, with a listing of fly shops, sporting good stores, accommodations, restaurants, campgrounds, car repair, airports and more. Marty lists his top ten flies for fishing Colorado. There are 87 detailed river and lake maps showing access, boat ramps, river miles, campsites, roads, and public lands.


General Backcountry Safety--This training program was prepared by Charley Shimanski of the Mountain Rescue Association Education Committee. It is an introductory course in backcountry safety for those with little or no experience in mountainous and backcountry terrain. This file is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. (All backcountry recreationalists should read this. It could save your life in an emergency.)