The snow has finally (mostly) melted. Colorado is blossoming back into a beautiful landscape, and the Rockies are green and teeming with life. We’re celebrating spring, and the official start of camping season, with one of our favorite warm weather activities – fishing. There are hundreds of great spots in Colorado to catch trout, salmon, walleye, catfish, bass and more. To help you narrow down your list of potential fishing spots, we made this list of the best locations for spring fishing in Colorado. So, pack up your off-road trailer, grab a fishing pole and some bait, and meet us by the warm waters.
Fishing is beneficial to your health and the health of the environment. Relaxing on the water is a form of stress relief, and the excitement of reeling in a fighter is a form of fun humans have had for hundreds of years. Bonding with fishing buddies and making friends with fellow fishermen is easy. Fresh air and sunshine are great ways to boost your physical and mental health.
Aside from your own health benefits, fishing promotes the health of the environment. Purchasing a fishing license in Colorado and other states provides funds for wildlife conservation and educational programs, so future generations of fishermen and women can enjoy the same lakes as our ancestors. Fishing is also important for wildlife management. With fishing seasons and laws, you can help control overpopulation and protect threatened species.
Rio Grande River
The famed Rio Grande flows from its Colorado headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, through the southwestern United States, and deposits into the Gulf of Mexico in northern Mexico. The upper Rio Grande is full of fish, and it’s become an iconic travel destination for fly fishing. The second longest river in the US, the Rio Grande supports native trout fat from their abundant diet of aquatic insects. This rumbling river has fed those living on its riverbanks for thousands of years.
The roaring Animas River springs from the San Juan mountains and runs 126 miles through Colorado and New Mexico. Rainbow and brown trout are by far the most common species found in the river. At over 100 feet wide in some places, these trout varieties can grow quite large. Fish from the shores or by boat via many miles of public access in Durango and the surrounding cities. Even better, the river runs through hundreds of acres of public land, including the Rio Grande National Forest, providing plenty of remote overlanding options near the water.
As the largest natural lake in Colorado, it’s only fitting that Grand Lake has an entire town named for it. It offers world-class fishing opportunities and supports populations of mackinaw and kokanee salmon along with rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout. The lake sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is surrounded by hiking trails. The waters of Grand Lake are designated as Gold Medal Waters by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, meaning it hosts a high-quality cold-water habitat and produces trophy-sized trout. This title makes it one of the best spots for fishing in Colorado.
Vail, Colorado, may be known for its skiing opportunities and winter activities, but Gore Creek is a perfect example of all the warm weather fun to be found. Although a relatively small creek compared to the waters on this list, Gore Creek is another Gold Medal awarded habitat. The creek is easy to access by foot and has plenty of surrounding public land for Colorado overlanding.
North Platte River
The North Platte River stems from Grizzly Creek in the White River National Forest. The North Platte and South Platte, which also starts in Colorado, finds its confluence in the Platte River in Nebraska. From there, it meets the Mississippi River and flows south. As the humble beginning of the mighty Mississippi River, the North Platte River is an obvious choice for best fishing in Colorado. The White River National Forest is full of crisscrossing off-road trails. The remote location and beautiful views make this government preserved land a great place for overlanding in the lush areas of northern Colorado.
Roaring Fork River
This tributary of the Colorado River runs for approximately 70 miles through west central Colorado. It’s a popular fly fishing destination, and its clear waters are perfect for navigation by boat. The area surrounding the Roaring Fork River is rapidly developing, with home builders buying up land and suburbs moving in. We recommend you schedule your trip ASAP to experience the natural beauty of this river, and the surrounding environment, before its gone. The river can be publicly accessed, and camped out near, where it spends a few miles running through the White River National Forest.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
Spinney Mountain Reservoir is a man-made body of water that has become a well-known destination fishing in Colorado. It’s best known for rainbow trout, but supports populations of cutbow trout, brown trout, northern pike and yellow perch. Surrounded by largely undeveloped forests and grasslands, you’d have trouble finding a more peaceful place to fish. Enjoy distant views of the Rockies and keep your eye out for native Colorado wildlife, thanks to the acres of open land surrounding the reservoir.
One of the largest tributaries of the Colorado River, the Gunnison River flows 180 miles east to west. The upper section of the river is a world-renown kokanee salmon fishery, while the lower section holds trophy rainbow trout over 20 inches long. Overlanding opportunities are abundant here as well, the river flows through Gunnison National Park and Uncompahgre National Forest. Its lower section runs through the Black Canyon and it’s known for its rough, cold waters perfect for fly fishing.
These are just a few of the best spots for spring fishing in Colorado. Whether you ask the internet, fishing friends or fellow overlanders there’s sure to be somewhere to cast a line near you. You don’t even need to bring a fishing pole! On a boat or on the shore, relaxing by calm, quiet water is guaranteed to have you feeling peaceful.
If you’re in need of a new off-road trailer for overlanding by your favorite fishing sites, stop by Colorado Trailer Sales. We’ll help you find the perfect overlanding trailer, and our staff may be able to point you in the direction of a new fishing spot.