This stretch of river is accessed by tons of pull-offs along highway 34. Bear in mind that crowds will be at their peak in the summer and fall, but you can find isolated pockets with fast fishing if you are willing to hike a bit further off the beaten path. During summer months, hopper patterns work great. You can even camp right in Moraine Park if you don’t mind roughing it for a few days. From Olympus Dam (east end Estes Lake) to Waltonia Bridge requires a fly or lure (barbless) for catch and release fishing. Provided you steer clear of Forrest Canyon in the winter, fishing is solid all year round along the length of the Big T. Time of day doesn’t seem to affect the fishing all that much either, especially in the summer and fall when they are feeding to store up for the long winter. The river has not been stocked since the mid 1990's. Although the Park has many fly fishing opportunities, the majority of local fly fishers concentrate their efforts below Lake Estes and in the canyon. Just fill out our guided fishing form, and we will connect you with the best guide for your needs. Highway 34 runs along most of the river. Keep an eye out for the private property markers along the river banks though, as there are sections of the Big T that are strictly off limits to pedestrians and anglers alike. You also have some great views of the surrounding mountains. There are a number of area fly shops and on-line retailers that publish Big Thompson River fishing reports. You can also read the current rules and regulations here: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/fishing.pdf. Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Colorado. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Between Estes Park and Drake the Big Thomson is special regulation water. The river does tend to take a steeper grade the further downstream you go, but overall the pockets and riffles here yield some very large trout for those willing to brave the more difficult terrain. If you are looking to avoid the fishing crowds, and a bit of a challenge, this is a great spot. From Olympus Dam at the east end of Lake Estes to Waltonia Bridge requires a fly or lure for catch and release fishing. With its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Big Thompson River just below the town of Estes Park is a classic canyon trout river. Immediately downstream of the bridge is well marked private land. Check out the Big Thompson River Fish Survey and management data here. The trails near Forrest Canyon are treacherous even under the best of conditions, and they can be downright lethal in bad weather. Here you will often be able to sight fish some larger fish. https://www.dwr.state.co.us/surfacewater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=BTBLESCO. Message us if you want more added! With its headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Big Thompson river just below the town of Estes Park is a classic canyon trout river. The October caddis hatch is the best of the year, so a fall visit to the Big T. is recommended for best results. The Big Thompson is one of Colorado's finest streams. A few to check out are listed below. Here are the recommended flies listed by order of importance. The majority of this stretch is public water managing to reduce crowding even in the heart of the season. Because this area has little cover from trees, it is important for anglers to approach the rivers cautiously, as the fish can easily see predators (and fisherman) coming. If you do decide to fish among the meadow lands in Moraine Park, keep in mind that you need to approach quietly so as not to spook the fish, as there is little cover and brush nearby.The best fishing on the river is below Lake Estes is along Highway 34, as there is more public access and the river is consistently free stone stream fishing for the majority of its run all the through Idlewild Dam to Viestenz-Smith Park. Looking for more places to fish? - Hopper (tan #8-10)- Elk Wing Caddis (dark #14,#16,#18- CDC Loopwing Quill Emerger (baetis #16-22- Rosenbauer Parachute Beetle (peacock #10 - 18)- Smith's Crippled Emerger (salt and pepper #20-24)- CDC Emerging Caddis (dark brown#16)- Pheasant Tail Nymph (dark #18)- Caddis pupas (dark #14-18)- Prince Nymph (peacock #12- 20)- Midge pupa (black #18 - 26). Moving further downstream, the river enters Drake, where the convergence of the North Fork of the Big Thompson is. The best sections in Estes is just downstream of Olympus Dam. Delightful trails up and down river lead to fantastic flyfishing experiences. River Map The major hatches on the Big Thompson River are midges, BWOs, caddis, stoneflies, and even some tricos here and there. Front Range Anglers. It can get a little marshy during runoff and after heavy rains, so plan accordingly if you are looking to hike in search of your ideal fishing spot. Peak snowmelt can also pose some high water problems. Guides Be sure to match the hatch as best you can, and check with a local shop before setting out to ensure you’ve got what you need. Be sure to avoid private property marked areas. The North Fork Big Thompson River also begins in Rocky Mountain National Park from where it flows along highway 43 east, through the town of Glen Haven and merges with the Big Thompson River in the town of Drake, in the Big Thompson Canyon.