Picture this: You walk up to a late 19th century mill perched on the Crystal River in Crystal, Colorado. You’re surrounded by evergreen trees, colorful peaks, and oh yeah, you can toss your line into that Crystal River for some excellent fly fishing. It sounds like an angler’s fantasy, but you can easily do all the above by fly fishing the aptly named Crystal Mill and surrounding area.
Let’s learn what you need to know to make your journey on the Crystal River perfect including what equipment and flies you need to bring, what fish to target, and when your line should be in the water. If the name didn’t give it away the waters near Crystal Mill are crystal-clear and ready for fishing.
Keeping with the crystal-clear theme Crystal Mill is found in Crystal, Colorado though the closest sizeable town where you can stock up one equipment is Carbondale, CO. Visitors from the Denver metro have an approximately 4-hour drive along Interstate 70-West and down Hwy 133. If you’re coming from the Colorado Springs area the most efficient drive is up through the Denver metro and out west. If you want the best access, you’ll need a 4×4 or all-wheel drive vehicle to take the access roads from Marble, CO.
What flies you fish depend on the hatch and time of year. Check out local fishing reports from anglers to get the best idea of what’s hatching. It’s best to pack a variety of different fly types including dry flies, streamers, and nymphs until you figure out what the fish are doing. With the clear waters, it’s not difficult to tell what’s exciting the fish and what’s best left in your fly box. Make sure your equipment is ready to handle large fish with a heavy rod weight and heavy line – most anglers do well with an 9-foot rod at a medium weight. The Crystal River can get swollen with snowmelt so chest waders and boots with good grip are a must.
Like many fly fishing hot spots in Colorado, Crystal Mill offers the best fishing during the seasonal hatches. The caddis go wild in the spring around Mother’s Day and are followed by stoneflies and other species through spring into summer. A winter midge hatch can get you back on the water if you can’t wait until spring. Though you can fish Crystal Mill all year early spring to early fall are the prime times for big hits.
When the waters are sparkling and they’re rainbows around, you must be in the fantasy fishing world of Crystal Mill on Crystal River. Use a mix of local resources and our info to not only enjoy the scenery but get on the fish too. Lastly, make sure to bring some sunglasses for the brilliant sunshine that reflects off Crystal Mill’s clean waters and enjoy a great day fly fishing.