Fly Fish in the Big Thompson Canyon


  • You will find a wide range of trout along most of the river, and a good variety of water; there's riffles, runs, pools, undercut banks, and backwaters, all of which the trout love

  • Fly hatches occur throughout the 4-5 month ice-free season

  • Fish tend to obtain a maximum of 14-15 inches in here but once in a while you'll hook the "Big One"


  • The lower river has lots of large rocks, deep runs, and plenty of pools, pockets and narrow runs

  • Wading is the ideal method of fishing in these parts

To see a map of Big Thompson River fishing, please click here.

A Fisherman's Paradise

The Big Thompson River is one the most popular rivers along the Front Range for fly fishing. Most of the canyon is National Forest land but there are a few pockets of private property along its length.

The Big Thompson River consists of a number of drainages that come together to form the river proper before it begins its awe inspiring tumble down the Canyon towards Loveland. The river flow is aided by water brought through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel from the Shadow Mountain Reservoir across the Continental Divide on the Western Slope.

You'll find plenty of water variety for fishing in the Big Thompson River; there's riffles, runs, pools, undercut banks, and backwaters, all of which the trout love. The river is home to some truly large rainbow and brown trout. Golden stoneflies and little brown stoneflies are a significant part of Big Thompson's trout food and thus make the best imitations for hooking that big trout. In the afternoon Green Drake and Red Quill hatches will give you another clue to which fly to use. Caddis hatches in the evening provide the clues to the fishing opportunities at this time of day.

The Big Thompson River offers excellent fishing so bring your fly rod and take some extra time to feel the thrill and excitement that this river has to offer anglers. It's a fisherman's paradise in Northern Colorado.