Overall River Rating:


Colorado River - Lower River Fishing Report

Latest update: 9/13/2018 -- The lower river is where you will find larger, less pressured fish to target while float fishing. Changing seasons have the fish moving . Target deep banks and runs with an indictator rig. Wired stones, Prince of darkness, and CDC flashback PT tung will get you down there. Red head stepchild, Cooper johns and Twenty incher's are good choices for a trailer fly. Hopper are still active in the lower elevations - do not hesitate to run a hopper/dropper rig midday. Steamers are in play with more water available for trout. Circus peanuts, lil' kims, and Gonga's are for sixty foot handshakes.

River Information

The lower section of the Colorado River flows through the town of Glenwood Springs as it makes it way westward. By the time flows reach this area of the state, countless tributaries have all contributed to making the river quite large. This stretch of river is very popular for float fishing, however wading can still be productive. Many fish hold along the rocky banks and nymphing or twitching a streamer around the boulders and pocket water will put fish in the net.  This portion of the river is home to some very large Rainbow and Brown trout and covering water as you fish along will be key to success.  

Recommended Flies

Winter/Spring: Midges, Baetis

Summer: Mayflies, Caddis, Terrestrials, Stoneflies, Streamers

Fall: Mayflies, Caddis, Terrestrials, Streamers

Seasonal Conditions

The lower portion of the Colorado is fishable year round. Like most rivers around the state, Spring through Fall will be most productive when the wide variety of aquatic insects that live here are most active.  Stoneflies are a major part of a trout’s diet and the river sees some terrific dry fly fishing in mid-summer with Golden Stoneflies and the ever popular Salmonflies. Caddis and a smattering of mayflies will typically be found throughout the summer as well. The colder months will primarily be a nymphing game. Fishing the slower, deep pockets very thoroughly and diligently will be productive through the winter. Considering the size of fish swimming in this stretch, spending a little time throwing a streamer will always be worth a try as well. The further west you head, the river will begin to warm and holds smallmouth bass, carp and some catfish. 

River Access

In Glenwood there are two exits with most of the area between town and Canyon Creek (exit109) are public and great fishing. Dino is the rest area only accessible going eastbound between New Castle and Glenwood and is so named because there is a dinosaur protected in concrete on the south side of the river.

Float Trip Options: The river is accessed off of several exits off I-70.  The river in this area is pretty tame, although Canyon Creek below Glenwood Springs is worth scouting.

  • Roaring Fork (Carbondale or West Bank boat launch areas) to Glenwood Park. Glenwood to Dino boat launch:
  • Glenwood to New Castle boat launch:
  • Dino to Silt boat launch:
  • Basalt to Battlement Mesa: This section has fewer trout but there are some true beasts.  There is also amazing Carp fishing and you may catch some Smallies.