With 160-some miles of Gold Medal Fly-Fishing Waters, finding a spot to cast in Colorado isn’t difficult. But narrowing down the list to just a few top-notch places is. That’s why we did the work for you to find four must-try fishing spots. (Bonus: Go to this link for more information from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website and to use their new interactive fishing atlas.)
Cheesman Canyon | 65 miles away
For Gold Medal waters close to home, Cheesman Canyon is a best bet. The South Platte River provides an ideal habitat for more than 20 fish species. Tip: Head there during the week. On the weekends, there are almost as many anglers as there are fish.
Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs | 115 miles away
Fishing opportunities abound in this off-the-beaten-path spot. This section of the South Platte is nestled between two well-stocked reservoirs, and is frequently referred to as the “Dream Stream.” Tip: Make it a weekend trip and stay at the Eleven Mile campistes.
Arkansas River | 150 miles away
The intimidating rapids that send water cascading through the Royal Gorge have made a name for the Arkansas river amongst locals and tourists alike. For fishing, however, the more serene waters around Salida (above the rapids) are ideal. Tip: There is plenty of public access to the river throughout Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
Fryingpan River | 180 miles away
If the thought of fishing world-famous waters for behemoth rainbow trout appeals to you, the Fryingpan is your river. This 42-mile long tributary to the Roaring Fork is split into two sections by a dam that fills Reudi reservoir. The lower section is the more popular of the two, as the force of the water coming out of the dam tends to trap big bugs that are fed upon by even bigger fish. Tip: The upper river is more secluded, but don’t let that deter you—there are plenty of whoppers to be found there, as well.
—Image courtesy of Austin Olson