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Fly Fishing in the Colorado River, Glenwood Canyon

Fly Fishing Glenwood Canyon

Glenwood Canyon is classic Colorado. Home to hot springs, granite walls, western history, and some great fly fishing – it’s a terrific destination for any angler. What caused Glenwood Canyon? The same body of water that’s partially responsible for the Grand Canyon – the Colorado Rider. More than an earth mover, the Colorado River below Glenwood Canyon is also a great place to fish.

Let’s learn what you need to do before hitting the Colorado River including which fish to target, when to fish, local resources, and more. After a great day’s fishing you can enjoy all the history of nearby Glenwood Springs.

Where Is Glenwood Canyon?

The Colorado River winds its way across the Centennial State but prime fishing waters are found near Glenwood Canyon. The rugged 13-mile stretch of canyon is found approximately three hours from Denver along Interstate 70 West near the ski town of Aspen.

Fish Found in the Colorado River, Glenwood Canyon

If trout is your game, the Colorado River is the place to be. The Colorado is home to several trout species including browns, rainbows, brook, and the native cutthroat trout. With a little bit of luck and some skill you can fish some of the biggest rainbows and cutthroats in the entire state. If the Colorado is on your mind, trout should be on your mind.

Best Bets on Equipment

You can fish multiple sets of roads, reels, and flies with success on the Arkansas, but an ideal rig is a 9 foot 5 to 6 weight rod with a floating line. 9-foot leader is a great base for great bites. For flies you can use dry flies, nymphs, and streamers, depending on the hatch. The Arkansas has many distinct hatches and you can easily find success by matching the hatch. Unlike other spots in Colorado fish on the Arkansas hit a wide variety of flies so bring plenty of tackle to find the biggest fish. You can fish from the shore, wade, or float the Arkansas River so match the waders to your fishing. Chest waders are recommended if you know you’ll be wading into deeper spots.

Gear Up for Success

You can approach the Colorado by wading, shore fishing, or floating. Because the Colorado is a wide river, it’s suggested you can bring breathable chest waders, so you don’t get soaked. Fly choice depends on time of year and targeted species, but you’ll be well off with a variety of midges, caddis, stonefly, nymphs. Once you get on the water it’ll be easy to see what’s on the local menu and which fly you should be using. Toss those flies onto a 9-foot, 5-6-weight rod and you’ll be prepared for great fishing.

Best Time of Year to Go

The late spring and early summer hatches make for excellent angling in Glenwood Canyon and the best time to hit the river. There’s a caddis hatch in the spring, stoneflies and blue-wing olives in the summer, and midges in the winter. The variety of hatches make the Colorado a great place to fish no matter the time of year though it can see some nasty snow and ice during the winter.


You can fish Glenwood Canyon all day during the summer though the best fishing is normally found from morning to late afternoon or approximately 8 AM to 8 PM. Water conditions and temperature change quickly during the summer, so the fish might be on the move. A local guide can help you hit the right spots.

Spring / Fall

The spring months brings plenty of snow melt and new hatches. If the water isn’t too churned from melting snow, spring is an excellent time to fish, especially during the multiple hatches of late spring. Fall also offers good fishing since the Colorado is home to trout species who hang around until Halloween. Aim for the warmer parts of the day during the spring and fall for optimal angling.


Nothing says you can’t fish the Colorado River during the winter though your friends will call you crazy for going out in potentially nasty conditions. If the sun is out and the temperature is mild you can still find success in the Colorado River during the winter though it’s undoubtedly the slowest season. You’re only going to have luck in the winter during the warmest parts of the day.

Glenwood Canyon Fly Fishing Resources

Roaring Fork Anglers Fly Shop: Glenwood Springs, CO

If you want to catch the best fish in the Colorado, you’ll need the help of Roaring Fork Anglers Fly Shop. These local river dogs wade, float, and analyze everything you need to know about water conditions, what’s hatching, and how to land a trophy. Even if you have all your flies and equipment in hand you can stop by for a daily lesson on getting your best fish.

Hookers: Aspen, CO

Don’t let the name fool you, the team at Hookers is serious about their angling. Hookers provides guided tours on all the fishing spots near Glenwood Canyon including the Colorado. Hookers is not a full equipment shop but does provide beginner to advanced lessons and can outfit you with the right equipment for the trip.

Cut Your Own Path Through Glenwood Canyon

Surrounded by towering walls cut by the river you’re fishing, Glenwood Canyon offers great angling during most of the year and some sizeable catches. Pack your gear with the right flies, bring the right equipment, and look to a local guide for a head-start on learning the water. This old west town offers some classic Colorado fly fishing.