Blue Stream Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing Report for:

Big Thompson - Drake - Colorado

Hatch Chart - Best Access/Spots - Local Fish - About

Water Flow Chart

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Using Water Flow Charts & Weather Reports: Begin with our water flow charts to grasp stream velocity and volume – look for stable or rising trends to pinpoint ideal fishing times. Learn to interpret sudden spikes or drops, which can indicate potential challenges. Next, consult our weather reports to understand ambient conditions. Pairing the two, you can anticipate fish behavior, choose the right gear, and select the best fishing spots. Use these tools together for a holistic approach to your next fishing adventure.

In-Depth Weather

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Directions To Location

Hatch Chart

Month Hatch Time of Day Recommended Fly Sizes Popular Fly Patterns
January Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Zebra Midge, Mercury Midge
Winter Stonefly Afternoon #14-#18 Black Stonefly Nymph
February Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Griffith's Gnat, Black Beauty
Winter Stonefly Afternoon #14-#18 20 Incher Stone
March Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-#24 BWO Emerger, Sparkle Dun
Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Mercury Midge, Rojo Midge
April Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-#24 Adams, Pheasant Tail Nymph
Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Chocolate Thunder, Miracle Midge
Caddis Evening #12-#18 Hare's Ear, Tan Elk Hair Caddis
May Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-#24 Blue Winged Olive, Pheasant Tail Nymph
Caddis Evening #12-#18 Elk Hair Caddis, CDC Caddis Emerger
Stonefly All Day #4-#8 Pat's Rubber Legs, Stimulator
June Green Drake Afternoon #10-#14 Green Drake Parachute, Green Drake Emerger
Stonefly All Day #4-#8 Chubby Chernobyl, Girdle Bug
Caddis Evening #12-#18 EC Caddis, Foam Caddis
July Pale Morning Dun Afternoon #14-#18 PMD Sparkle Dun, PMD Cripple
Yellow Sally Afternoon #12-#16 Yellow Sally Dry Fly, Stimulator
Caddis Evening #12-#18 Olive Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis
August Pale Morning Dun Afternoon #14-#18 PMD Dry Fly, Comparadun
Terrestrials All Day #8-#14 Chubby Chernobyl, Hopper Patterns
September Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-#24 Blue Wing Olive, Tiny Blue Wing Olive
Terrestrials All Day #8-#14 Parachute Hopper, Fat Albert
October Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Miracle Midge, Black Beauty
Blue Winged Olive Afternoon #16-#24 WD-40, RS2
November Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Jujubee Midge, Midge Larva
Winter Stonefly Afternoon #14-#18 Winter Stonefly Nymph
December Midge Afternoon #18-#24 Chocolate Thunder, Miracle Midge
Winter Stonefly Afternoon #14-#18 Pat's Rubber Legs, Stonefly Nymph

While we strive to ensure the precision of our hatch charts, some reflect broader river region insights. Through ongoing partnerships with local guides and fly shops, we’re committed to refining our data. Should you notice any inconsistencies or have feedback, we welcome you to reach out. 

Best Fishing Spots

The Big Thompson – Drake area is one of the best places for fly fishing, it offers several spots renowned for their fishing experiences. These include:

  • Moraine Park: Situated within the Rocky Mountain National Park, this place is brimming with thriving trout.
  • Performance Park: This easily accessible open area in downtown Estes Park, provides a tranquil fishing experience.
  • Wild Basin: Also part of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Wild Basin offers secluded fishing spots along the Saint Vrain River.
  • Big Thompson River below Lake Estes: This area is stocked year-round with rainbow and brown trout, providing consistent fly-fishing opportunities.
  • Estes Park Lake: With a healthy population of trout and other species, the Estes Park Lake presents prime fishing spots.

Remember to check with local regulations and obtain the necessary permits before you start your fishing adventure.

Best Access Points

Fly fishing enthusiasts can find plentiful access points on the Big Thompson River in Drake boasting exceptional fishing opportunities.

  • Viets Lake: Located in Loveland, it offers excellent fly fishing spots.
  • Estes Park: Just at the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, numerous public access points are available along the river.
  • Moraine Park: A stretch along the Big Thompson in the Rocky Mountain National Park offering excellent fishing experiences with a hefty population of rainbow and brown trouts.
  • Big Thompson Canyon: This part of the river, starting just west of Loveland and winding west through a stunning, rocky canyon, provides multiple public fishing spots.

In each location, fly fishers can expect to cast for brown and rainbow trout species. Always check for any local fishing regulations.

Local Fish

  • Brown Trout: The most popular fish on the Big Thompson, widely targeted by fly fishers for its beautiful colors and aggressive nature.
  • Rainbow Trout: Known for their vibrant colors and acrobatics, another favorite among anglers in the area.
  • Brook Trout: Though smaller in size, their vibrant colors and abundance make them a favorite amongst some anglers.
  • Mountain Whitefish: A native species to the region, often overshadowed by trout but are also fun to catch.
  • Greenback Cutthroat Trout: Colorado’s state fish, relatively rare but can be found in some tributary streams.
  • Yellow Perch: Not the primary target for most fly anglers, but can sometimes be caught unintentionally.
  • River Sucker: Another non-target species, although it can be a fun challenge to land on a fly rod.
  • Arkansas Darter: Small in size, this endangered species is protected, and must be released immediately upon catch.

About The River

The Big Thompson – Drake area in Northern Colorado is rich with natural beauty and history. Inhabited by Native American tribes, like the Arapaho and Cheyenne, for centuries, it was eventually settled by European pioneers in the 1860s. Steeped in wilderness and wildlife, the Big Thompson River flowing through it breathes life into the region.

Noteworthy points of interest include:

  • Estes Park: Locally known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a vibrant mountain village with unique shops and restaurants.
  • Roosevelt National Forest: An outdoor enthusiast’s paradise filled with hiking trails and stunning views.
  • The Historic Drake Hotel: A century-old inn, it has been a welcoming stop for travelers exploring the Big Thompson River and the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Despite the devastating flood of 1976, the resilience and spirit of the Big Thompson – Drake community continue to thrive, making it a must-visit destination.

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