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Old 11-23-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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I've been told that the Big Thompson (Estes Park to Loveland) and the Cache La Poudre (Ft. Collins) are two of the best fly fishing spots in the US. I guess all those fly fishermen I see are wrong.

gg
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Colorado is NOT a good fishing state. Lakes and rivers are not productive and don't give a satisfying fishing experience. You have to work your butt off to hook into fish, because you're either somewhere that's doesn't have a lot of them, or you're dealing with fish that are very finicky and require specific tactics. For example, in certain Gold Water rivers, the trout are so used to being caught and released that they will not bite on anything except one or two kinds of flies of a certain size on any given day. You can throw worms or lures at them all day long and you'll never get a strike. By the way that's something you're not supposed to do in those waters, but I've done it anyway just to see what would happen.

Lakes are no better. Most of the lakes are trout, and there's also some pike, macks and bass in some of them. The bass are the easiest to catch. As for the other ones - forget about it! Trout only feed when they want to feed and they only eat what they feel like eating on any given day. You'll never see a lake trout (mackinaw) unless you know how to fish the bottom using lead line or a downrigger.

I've got a coworker who's from Minnesota and he always says he doesn't know what's wrong with Colorado fish. I've got another coworker from Florida - this guy is an expert in fishing off the coast of Florida - and he says he hasn't been able to catch anything in Colorado.

I wish it was different and sorry to disappoint you, but that's the way it is.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Does that go for the Animas as well?
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
My family moved to Durango in the 1880s and I just went back and re-read a letter one of them had written about fishing around there in the 1890s (presumably out of the Animas). He said all you needed was a hook, line, and a grasshopper and you could catch all the fish you wanted all year round. Hoping it hasn't changed much since then. I've not ever tried grasshoppers but perhaps that's the trick there.
Sorry, there's a huge difference between conditions 120 years ago and today. In the late 1800s there was no stocking of fish in the west, the fish that existed were wild and natural. Once the human population got to the point of starting to wipe out the fish population, then the efforts of the fish and game departments started fish stocking programs. The result is that the only reason there's any fish in most of our rivers and lakes is because of stocking.

The thing to realize is that catching wild fish is very easy to do if they are not used to people fishing for them. That's because they're not used to artificial flies, bait and lures and they bite on anything. Hence the incredible success rates 100 years ago. Not true today because we're talking about hatchery raised fish and "Gold Water" fish that fly fisherman catch and release every day.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Does that go for the Animas as well?
Yes. The only way you're going to find really good fishing is if you hike way off the beaten path to a section of river or alpine lake that very few people go to and that gets little to no fishing pressure. The fish in those places are not used to it and they'll bite on anything. But these days it's rare to find those places in the Rocky Mountain states.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:29 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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No wonder they called it the "good ol' days". Thanks for that very excellent explanation.
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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You don't need 4wd for the snow, but good snow tires do help out a lot when you need to stop in a hurry. If you've got them, just be careful not to brake too hard in front of other people or you'll get rear ended by somebody who thinks that they don't need snow tires because they've got four wheel drive.

If you're going to be here long term, it would help to get something with a little more ground clearance (something like a Subaru would be fine) to get to the good fishing spots. There are still some good ones around, but they're generally up in the mountains and away from the beaten path.
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:53 PM
 
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Most of Colorado fishing is NOT for native species--for example, the most common trout fishing is for Rainbows, brookies, and German Browns--none native to Colorado. The native Colorado trout, the cutthroat, finds it difficult to compete against the introduced (and stocked) species. I used to know some great spots to native fish in Colorado back, say, 30 years ago. Almost none of them have native trout populations now. Whirling disease--introduced by stocked fish to Colorado--really decimated trout populations starting around 15 years ago or so--a lot of areas have yet to recover from that.

As for "lake" fish--almost all of them are introduced species. No surprise there--Colorado has relatively few natural lakes, just man-made reservoirs.

That is not to say that one can't enjoy fishing in Colorado, just a) don't expect to have a good spot to yourself, especially anyplace within 150 miles of the Front Range; and b) don't expect to catch many native species of fish. The quality of fishing is also directly proportional to the difficulty getting to it--the more difficult it is, the better the fishing generally is. If you can drive to it in a car, it likely will be crowded and overfished. If you need to have 4WD to get there, the fishing will probably be less crowded and more productive. If you have to walk--especially for several miles--to get to the fishing spot, it will be better yet. Just way too many people and too few fish.

Wyoming has 10 times better fishing than Colorado, but don't expect to be greeted with open arms there if you have out-of-state plates. A lot of Wyomingites don't like outsiders fishing there. In fact, a common bumper sticker in Wyoming is "Live in Colorado, fish in Colorado. Live in Wyoming, fish in Wyoming."
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
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Where can I find all these bumper stickers, jazzlover?
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Old 11-24-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Where can I find all these bumper stickers, jazzlover?
They're usually on bumpers
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