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Fly Fishing the Big Thompson River in Colorado

Big Thompson River summary

Big Thompson River is a fly fishing location in Colorado. This destination has an elevation of approximately 6150 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for Big Thompson River on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).

Big Thompson River reports

Tim Jackson (timmyv) reported - 4 - Poor fly fishing: Took my cousin Bennet fly fishing for his first time the Friday after Thanksgiving. Wind was obnoxious and the Big T was absolutely packed. There wasn't much river to fish as most of it south of Drake had a ton of ice. Temps were cold and water was a little murky. Bennet learned how to nymph and we saw some nice fish but weren't able to hook any. (12/01/14)
Andy Idema (aidema) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Fished the Big Thompson River a few miles west of the Dam Store in Roosevelt National Forest. Started around 6 am and there wasn't a ton of insect activity, some midges and some caddis, but both my buddy and I got browns. His took an adams and mine took a bead head hare's ear. (07/29/10)
Kent Kessinger (Kent Kessinger) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Elk Hair caddis where hitting well on 7-1-09. The water flow is good and the morning has been good for Brown Trout rising on Caddis. (07/02/09)
Josh Rickard (jrickard) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Fish were will to hit nymphs all morning long. Water was in good shape. (06/01/09)
Mike Kruise (lgfs) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: Fly fishing the Big T in the winter can be a challenge sometime its almost combat fishing but every time I go the people work together very well those fish see alot of pressure in the winter and it is still a great little fishery, Top water action was on as well as the Nymphing need a great get away close to home in the winter (02/02/09)
Jayson Cote' (jtcote) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: The water is perfect for wading, clear and cold, browns cruising the banks and lots of bows in deeper channels and eddy lines. Work all the slack water, we caught many fish in marginal depths. (10/26/08)
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Big Thompson River descriptions

Kent Chavet (azflyfisher) wrote - The Big Thompson river drainage is a controlled flow from Lake Estes below the Olympus dam in Estes Park. The flows are subject to the demand downstream determined by the Colorado Division of Water Resources and the Big Thompson water district. The Big T is a wild trout fishery and is not stocked. The flows are entirely dependent on the upper Colorado River basin snowpack and the degree of runoff, which is entirely dependent upon how hot it gets how quickly. The river is known for its amazing BWO hatches in early to late spring and the prolific caddis hatches in mid to late summer into early fall. There is ample access to the river in the Big T canyon for beginners to the most discriminating purist all year. The water release area below Olympus dam, below Estes Park, fishes like all cold water tail-waters, and offers midge hatches nearly year-round as well as stone flies and drakes while in season. Most notably, the BigThompson is a free stone drainage and seasonal caddis activity dominates. Early evening dry fly fishing is amazing when in season. Anyone can catch a wild rainbow or brown trout on the Big Thompson river on a fly rod when the caddis are in season. The weather in the Big T canyon is almost always sunny. Early season BWO hatches are dependent on weather, but any time except high run-off conditions, caddis, may fly, and midge patterns will produce fish on any given day. Windy conditions occur, but are not a major factor. It can be cloudy, gusty, and cold in the morning and sunny, calm, and hot by mid-afternoon. Plan for all weather conditions while fly fishing the Big Thompson Canyon. (07/13/11)
Andy Idema (aidema) wrote - The Upper Big Thompson begins in Rocky Mountain National Park and flows through Estes Park into Lake Estes. The Lower Big Thompson is below the dam on Estes Lake and plunges down a rocky canyon that has good public water. Although most anglers consider the trout to be on the smaller side its not uncommon for the fly angler to pull out a larger trout. (06/12/08)
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Big Thompson River businesses

Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
Laughing Grizzly Fly Shop
10675 Ute Hwy
Longmont , Colorado
Guide Service Flyfisher Guide Service
700 East 24th Avenue, Suite 4
Denver, Colorado
Guide Service Fly Currents, Inc.
1725 west stuart street
fort collins, Colorado
Other Elkhorn Fly Rod and Reel
3121 W. Eisenhower Blvd.
Loveland, Colorado
Trout's Fly Fishing
1303 E. 6th Avenue
Denver, Colorado
Trout's Fly Fishing / Flyfisher Guide Service
700 East 24th Avenue, Suite 4
Denver, Colorado
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1 questions
Chris Conway (wildbasinoutfitters)

Fishing conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park and in the Indian Peaks Wilderness are fair to good.  Fish are sporadically taking dries, but more frequently are getting picked up on nymphs or emergers.

For dries, hoppers and ants are still possible on our warmer days, but small BWO (#18-22), Cahill (#16) and midges (#20-22) are primary food sources.  With the exception of the Cahill, midges and BWOs will work all winter if you can find open water.

Beginners and intermediates will find current conditions frustrating, but more advanced fly fishers will love the subtle takes.  The rewards this time of year are very few people on the water, a combination of fall colors and snow on the mountain peaks, and some gorgeous brook and brown trout that are in spawning colors.

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Big Thompson River a favorite of...

Mandi Idema (mandiulrich)
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder County
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Near the Big Thompson River...

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Nearby cities

Drake, Colorado 1 miles away
Glen Haven, Colorado 6 miles away
Loveland, Colorado 6 miles away
Masonville, Colorado 9 miles away
Lyons, Colorado 14 miles away
Estes Park, Colorado 15 miles away
Fort Collins, Colorado 16 miles away
Berthoud, Colorado 17 miles away
Hygiene, Colorado 18 miles away
Longmont, Colorado 19 miles away

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