Estes Park. CO Intel?

I may be spending some time this summer in the Estes Park/Lyons area north of Denver Colorado.
Other than the fact that the author John Gierach grew up in Lyons on the banks of the St Vrain river, I know nothing about this area.
Any body here have any local knowledge?
I know it is high, over 8000' and the season wont start early, not at that elevation.
Can I expect typical Rocky Mountain hatches and timing?
Thanks for any help in advance.
Everything from fabulous high country lakes, small streams running through mountain meadows, to the Big Thompson River, which basically starts in a reservoir that collects water from both sides of the divide (that's another story), and is an excellent fishery through the canyon downstream from Estes Park. The St. Vrain, with its three forks, is nearby. Also, a relatively short drive over the divide on the Trail Ridge Rd. drops you down into the upper Colorado drainage, where the fishing is arguably better and the crowds smaller.

The wildlife viewing in the RMNP is probably second only to Yellowstone.

I have fished this area quite a bit, but it's been a while. As far as hatches, the best info is to ask the local shops. There are two in Boulder, and one in Lyons (Mike Clark's shop), plus a shop in
Estes. When I fished (nymphed), the rule was small (18's-24's). Lots of caddis (dries and soft hackles14's-16's). You can run into mayfly hatches (bwo being predominate), and stoneflies (yellow sallies). Don't overlook big attractor dries. If you do some searching, you will be able to get a lot more accurate info. There is a lot of water to fish. In Lyons the St. Vrain. In Estes Park the Big Thompson and loads of water in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you're into hiking, there are loads of lakes worth exploring. Lily Lake is right off the road (I can't remember which one) out of Estes. It's a bit crowded, but there can be some good hatches (callibaetis, damsels and caddis). Boulder Creek (runs through downtown Boulder) has some nice fish in it. If you want to travel south of Denver, the South Platte; west a couple of hours, the Blue and the Colorado (mosquito hell), a few more hours, the Frying Pan; north, the Cache de Poudre, North Platte, Delany Buttes. If the water is blown, which can happen with rain and thunder showers, don't overlook the warm water fisheries. Bass and carp can be a nice change of pace. If you're in Lyons, stop by Mike Clark's. It's one of my favorite shops; cane, flies tied by A.K. Best and books signed by John Gierach. You might run into one of them. There is a lot of water I've over looked. If I can remember, the only time that's not good is during Spring runoff. Once you get there, you'll find more info than you'll know what to do with. Tight lines.

Brian White

Recovering Bugmeister
It is beautiful country. I fished the Big Thompson and the St Vrain for a few days during summer some years back. Both get quite a bit of pressure so don't go expecting lots of solitude unless you go during bad weather.

I remember kind of slow fishing, but some nice scenery!


Go Outside
Big Thompson is a tailwater and you will find lots of people there all year. Summer is beautiful there. Hit the high alpine lakes for cutthroat. Boulder Creek by the library is a good spot. Look out for the homeless under the bridge. If you are willing to drive, the Blue River is one of my favorites. The Dream Stream is a good place to go if you want a hero shot of you with a big fish. Also the "Toilet Bowl" of the Frying Pan if you want to fish Mysis Shrimp to large trout. It can feel a bit like Disneyland there though.

Latest posts