Big Thompson River Fly Fishing Report
The Big Thompson is another river synonymous with Colorado fly fishing. Located just over an hour north of Denver, this 78 mile long tributary of the South Platte offers wading anglers the opportunity to catch Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat and Brook trout. The headwaters of the “Big T” originate high in Rocky Mountain National Park and flow into Lake Estes, in Estes Park. This upper section can offer some fantastic, small stream fishing. Below the dam of Lake Estes, the first half mile fishes very much like a tail water. As the river continues East, flowing through the Big Thompson Canyon along hwy 34, it fishes much more like a freestone and offers anglers considerable amounts of public access. Fish average 12″-16″ through the majority of the canyon and is ideal for a 4wt fly rod.
Winter/Spring- Baetis, Midges (particularly below the dam)
Summer- Caddis, Stoneflies, Mayflies, Terrestrials, Small Streamers
Fall- Caddis, Mayflies, Terrestrials, Small Streamers
By definition, the lower portion of the Big T is a tail water, offering anglers fishing opportunities 365 days a year. The bug life present on this river however could arguably seem more characteristic of a freestone. Whichever term you choose to describe it, there’s no denying the Big T offers anglers the opportunity to fish a variety of different hatches throughout the year, mimicking the various aquatic insects throughout the entirety of their life cycles. Nymphs, dries and streamers all have their place on the Big T throughout the year and the fish can be very willing and eager to please.
Hwy 34 runs east and west between I-25 and the town of Estes Park. Anglers will considerable amounts of public access along this hwy.