Colorado offers plenty of adrenaline-pumping adventure, but it’s also the perfect place for anyone looking to spend a tranquil morning along the water. There are few things as satisfying as a morning spent in the peaceful quiet of the Colorado wilderness, just you, the water, and your prize catches. With over 8,000 miles of rivers and over 2,000 lakes across the state, you’re never too far from the perfect fishing location. Venture through thrilling canyons or set up on the shores of a crystal-clear mountain lake. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned fishing expert, there’s plenty of room for you along Colorado’s prime fishing waters. Grab your rod and reel and cast out at any of these top places to fish in Colorado.
Frying Pan River
The Frying Pan River has gained international recognition for its trout-fishing opportunities. Some stretches of the river are even known for the 10-plus-pound rainbow trout you can catch. You can find the Gold Medal section of this river between the Roaring Fork River and Ruedi Reservoir. In addition to world-class trout fishing, this area boasts gorgeous clear waters nestled among incredible views of the mountains. The Frying Pan River is also home to other classic Colorado adventures. If you have your fill of fishing, you can try your hand at kayaking, whitewater rafting, or exploring the miles of mountain trails in the area.
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork River is another location that’s become famous for its trout. The river starts as a mountain stream above Aspen. Here you can experience all the shopping, dining, and other attractions that this charming mountain town has to offer on top of its amazing fishing locations. Roaring Fork River continues to trail down to Glenwood Springs, which offers year-round fishing along the banks. In the lower sections of the river, the thundering white waters have created an environment where only the strongest fish survive, meaning there are plenty of monster trout waiting for you in these waters.
North Platte River
This area is legendary among the top places to fish in Colorado. The river starts near Walden, in North Park’s scenic grassy meadows. From there, it wanders north through the valley, on its way to Wyoming. North Platte River is famous for having some of the best trout in the West. It also has some fascinating opportunities for exploration. Curious rock formations stand out throughout the valley—including quartz pegmatites. If you’re lucky, you might also catch a glimpse of the rest of the area’s wildlife, including meandering moose. For those of you who enjoy getting out onto the water, there are some areas of the river that require you to be in a raft or kayak, so you can get your adventure’s worth out of your trip to the North Platte.
The “River of Souls,” as its originally Spanish name dubs it, is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in Colorado. These Gold Medal waters stretch for 126 miles. In some areas, the river is over 100 feet wide, which means the fish here have plenty of room to grow to massive sizes. The waters are brimming with rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. The brown trout here are a little more elusive, but still worth trying for as they can grow to record sizes. While you’re in there, be sure to explore the rest of the Durango area, which boasts hiking, mountain biking, and boating opportunities as well as a few incredible attractions in the city itself.
Winding through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Gunnison River is the ideal destination for anyone who wants a glorious view while they fish. The dramatic canyon walls provide the perfect backdrop for your time along the water. For a real sense of adventure, you can even get a backcountry permit and hike through one of the inner canyon trails to reach the river. Of course, a trip to this area wouldn’t be complete without exploring the rest of the park itself. Before you completely pack up and leave, be sure to explore the rest of the park through its scenic trails and boating opportunities.
Upper Arkansas River
The Upper Arkansas River winds near Leadville, which—at over 10,000 feet above sea level—is America’s highest elevation city. If that doesn’t make the area special enough, then the beautifully diverse scenery that the river winds through will. The Upper Arkansas flows through canyons filled with boulders, postcard-worthy meadows, stretching hay fields, and beautiful desert landscapes. It is this final area that offers the best stretches for fishing. The deep seams and bends of the river here make a perfect habitat for brown and rainbow trout.
Located near Vail, Colorado, Gore Creek is smaller than many of the rest of the state’s iconic fishing locations. However, that makes it no less worthy. The stream is bursting with rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout. You’re sure to enjoy yourself no matter where you go along this peaceful mountain stream, but the two most popular destinations are at Lower Gore Creek and Upper Gore Creek on either side of Vail. Of course, while you’re there, you have to stop by Vail Ski Resort and check out the zip lines, rope adventure courses, alpine coaster, and all the other adrenaline-pumping activities it has to offer.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
This 2,500-acre Gold Medal fishing spot is located in the gorgeous Spinney Mountain State Park. If you’re craving a shoreline more than a riverfront, this is the place for you. Unlike many of Colorado’s destinations, Spinney Mountain doesn’t offer camping or official hiking trails. Instead, all the focus is on the boating and fishing. You can always find incredible trout, walleyes, and salmon in these waters. Kick back on the beach and enjoy your time as you take in the beautiful stretching waters and surrounding mountain landscapes.
When you visit these iconic fishing locations, don’t forget to commemorate the experience with our Colorado accessories and apparel. We even have Colorado stickers that are perfect for your tackle box. Whether you’re looking for your next trophy catch or just a quiet, tranquil place to spend the day, these fishing destinations have what you need. Next time you’re ready to pack up your tackle and venture into the great outdoors, keep these iconic locations in mind.