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Fly Fishing Boulder Creek – Colorado

Fly Fishing Boulder Creek – Colorado

Boulder Creek is a productive fishery located just above the front range of Colorado. Flowing out of the Barker Reservoir dam, there is about 15 miles of water before the creek reaches Boulder. This creek is a tributary of the South Platte River.

Boulder Creek offers lots of pocket water along with deeper pools and runs. The healthy population of Rainbow and Brown Trout keeps fly anglers coming back. Throughout the summer and fall months, trout here are eager to eat dry flies with a good presentation.

The fishing through the canyon is what most people prefer, but fishing through the town of Boulder can also be productive. In fact, some of the largest fish in the creek are throughout the town stretch.

Boulder Creek gets lots of ice in the winter, so spring, summer and fall fishing are your best bet. This creek fishes well with dry dropper setups, as well as streamers. Fish are really willing to eat dries, so you don’t have to nymph very often.

This article will cover the best access points on Boulder Creek, the flies to use, and the best times to fish it. If you are a fan of small streams and dry fly fishing, look no further than Boulder Creek.

Boulder Creek Access

Throughout the town of Boulder, there are plenty of good spots to fish. Eben G Fine park is a great place to start, and this section offers lots of deep pools and runs. There are some large fish in this stretch, some of the biggest on the whole creek. We also like to fish around the Boulder Public Library. You can work up from here a ways, and fish downstream as well. The Boulder Creek path allows for easy access throughout most of the town. You can even ride your bike along this path and fish for miles throughout Boulder.

As far as the canyon stretch goes, most pull offs that look public – generally are free game. One of my favorite pulloffs is right above the Boulder Canyon tunnel. Take a quick left into the dirt lot, and work upstream or downstream. There is another good lot just above here, right before Sugarloaf road. Above here, the Boulder Falls lot offers some good fishing as well. Another good area is the road to Sport Park climbing area. This little back road offers some really good pools and runs.

There are so many pull offs in the canyon stretch, so take the time to explore the different water. Most of these lots are public, as long as there isn’t a house or private property there.

Flies To Use On Boulder Creek

Throughout the summer and fall, dry dropper setups work best. Keep your tippet light, usually 5x works fine. Once the water gets lower, you may have to use 6x tippet. For dry flies, we like to use:

  • Chubby Chernobyls #14-#18
  • PMX’s #14-#18
  • Stimulators #14-#18
  • Beetles/Ants #16-#18
  • Hippie Stompers #14-#18
  • Elk Hair Caddis #14-#18
  • Chubby Sallies #14-#16

For droppers, there are plenty of good options. We like to use tungsten nymphs that get down quickly in the current. Usually we’ll run these droppers about 18 inches below our dry fly. For droppers we like to use:

  • Rainbow Warriors #16-#18
  • Poison Tungs #16-#18
  • Iron Lotus #16
  • Iron Sally #16
  • Perdigons #16-#18
  • CDC Pheasant Tails #16-#18
  • Two Bit Hookers #16

Streamer fishing can also be a good option on Boulder Creek. Keep your streamers small, and stick to mostly leech and bugger patterns. Throughout the town stretch, feel free to use larger streamers or even articulated streamers (2 hooks). Cloudy days will offer the best streamer fishing. Higher water also helps you get more streamer bites. Our top picks are:

  • Woolly Buggers #8-#12
  • Sculpzillas #8
  • Sparkle Minnows #6
  • Mini Dungeons #6
  • Leeches #8-#12

Best Months To Fish

As stated before, Boulder Creek gets lots of shelf ice in the winter throughout the canyon. If you’re going to fish it in the winter, use the town access points which get less ice.

Early spring through the summer is prime time on this creek, and it’s when the dry dropper fishing gets really good. Your most productive months will be July, August, and September. Once October rolls around, the fish can turn off a little with the cooler water temps. However, October can still be productive – as long as it’s not too cold. November through March can be pretty slow fishing, and then it picks back up again.


Overall, Boulder Creek is a great fishery that is close to the Colorado front range. It allows anglers to get into some trout without driving hours into the mountains. For the residents of Boulder, this is their home water that is right in their backyard.

South Boulder Creek is also nearby, which is a wonderful fishery. This creek offers more solitude than Boulder Creek, since it is tucked into the wilderness a bit more.

If you’re in the Denver or Boulder area and itching for some fly fishing, make sure to check out Boulder Creek.