Fall Fly Fishing on the Colorado River

Many fly fisherman feel the Colorado River fishes best when fall arrives. My experience as a float fishing guide on the river since the mid- eighties is that the Colorado River conditions are the most consistent during the fall season, namely late September, October and early November. A side benefit to the fly fishing near Vail on the Colorado during autumn is the river is never crowded and on some days you may not see another boat or angler.

Why the Colorado River Is Best to Fish in the Fall

Several factors contribute to the consistently good fishing conditions we traditionally find on the Colorado River stretching for sixty miles between Kremmling and Rifle, Colorado during the late season.

Ideal Fly Fishing Water Temperatures

Water temperatures between 46 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit provide everyday Baetis Mayfly (BWO sizes 18 to 20) action from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.  Dry fly and emerger action can be extremely visual, as you float from one large fish pod to the next.

Water Clarity

Water clarity is the best it will be all year, with several feet of visibility typical well beyond Glenwood Springs.  The surrounding topography can put a good bit of sediment into the river after heavy rains, putting down bug hatches and making it hard to identify trout habitat but the river usually clears within 24 hours.  Fall is when we have the least chance of big rains and ambient day temperatures usually hover between 45 and 60 degrees.

Perfect Level of Water Flow

Water flow measured in cubic feet per second is usually between 600 and 1000 cfs below Kremmling and twice that below Glenwood. This flow rate offers float fisherman a perfect level to access one of Colorado’s finest trout streams. Access current stream flows here.

An Abundance of Brown Trout in the Colorado River

The majority of the trout found in the river are wild Brown Trout.  It is no secret that Brown Trout are very aggressive pre and post spawn and that most of them will spawn between October first and November 15th.  Fishing from a boat during this time and fly casting large brightly colored streamer patterns to the banks can be deadly.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips on the Colorado River

The 2013 autumn season fly fishing outlook is looking extremely good on the Colorado River this year. We have had a lot of rain recently but no significant flooding anywhere in the Colorado River drainage. Let’s not forget that besides offering the year’s best float fishing opportunities, fall is also the best time of the year to view Central Colorado’s vivid fall foliage. So, give the guys at Vail Valley Anglers a call to book your float trip on the Colorado River. Right now we are running our FreaknFish fall special for guided floats.

Bill Perry, Senior Guide and Content Writer