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Fly Fishing The Lower Colorado River – Colorado

Fly Fishing The Lower Colorado River – Colorado

The lower Colorado River is a wonderful stretch on the western slope of Colorado. When referring to the “Lower C”, people generally mean Glenwood Canyon and below.

Sections of the Lower Colorado offer some very large trout, as well as wonderful float fishing opportunities. Since the Lower Colorado is such a big river, it is much easier to fish out of a raft or a drift boat. However, you can also wade fish here if you know where the fish are holding.

This article will go over the main stretches on this section, and all the other info you should know before you come here. If you are planning a trip to the Glenwood Springs area, the lower C is worth checking out.

This stretch is where I do most of my fly fishing, and one of the main reasons I still reside in Glenwood Springs.

Stretches On The Lower Colorado

There are many good floats to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a short day or a long float, you can find it here.

Grizzly Creek To Two Rivers Park

This is a beautiful float that is about 6 miles long. You get to float through the final miles of Glenwood Canyon, and you end up right in the town of Glenwood Springs.

This section has plenty of large fish, and it isn’t too hard to row. Class II rapids are the most difficult in this section.

The Grizzly Creek float can provide great streamer fishing, as well as hopper dropper fishing during the summer months.

Although this section does fish well, be prepared to see plenty of other boats. It is a popular stretch for commercial rafters and private boaters, and less popular for fishing. Be ready to share the water with other boats.

Two Rivers Park To South Canyon

This section has some amazing water, and is known for holding large fish. It is about 5 miles, which makes this a good half day float.

The main thing to watch out for is the South Canyon rapid. This rapid is quite large, and has sunk and flipped plenty of boats over the years. Make sure that you have enough speed to get through the waves, as boats often flip here by sliding back down the waves. You can also stay left of the rapid for a more gentle ride.

Keep in mind that South Canyon ramp closes during the winter, and this float cannot be done during the colder months.

South Canyon To Dino

This is a nice short float if you’re looking for a quick trip. It offers plenty of good holding water, and its a pretty easy row – there aren’t any big rapids on this stretch. This float is about 3.5 miles long.

After you get out of the canyon, the river opens up as you head towards New Castle. This stretch has plenty of deep holes that you can stop to fish.

Dino (Tibbets) To New Castle

This is another real quick, half day float. It fishes well with nymph rigs, streamers, and hopper dropper setups. If you just have a few hours to get out, the Dino to New Castle Float is a good choice. It is only about 3 miles long.

New Castle To Silt

This is probably the most popular stretch, and anglers come from all over to fish here. New Castle to Silt has long, deep pools, and plenty of runs and riffles. It is also extremely easy to row, as there are virtually no rapids on this stretch.

This float can take about 6 hours, as it is 7.5 miles long. Be prepared to see plenty of other boats, as many people know about this stretch.

Silt To Rifle

This stretch is quite long, at over 9 miles. There are many braids on this stretch, and you don’t want to go down the wrong one. It is best to float here with someone who is experienced on this stretch. However, the trout here can grow very large. There are way less fish than the other sections – but they get big!

Float Fishing Vs Wade Fishing

Due to the Lower Colorados size, it is much easier to fish here out of a boat. Even in the winter, this stretch still flows at 1,000 cfs or more. If you have access to a raft or a drift boat, that is definitely the best option. There are also plenty of good float guides in the area that can take you on a float here. We recommend Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs.

Wade fishers can also be successful on this river, but you’ll have to know where the fish are holding. Certain spots are better than others, and wade anglers can often be intimidated by the size of the Lower C.

The Lower Colorado is also one of the only rivers in the state where you can float in the winter. The warmer temps and heavy flows allow float fishers a wonderful winter fishery. However, during December and January, there can be large ice chunks and slush floating down the river.

Best Months To Fish Here

The Lower Colorados clarity can be a real issue. Since there are so many tributaries to this section, it can often be muddy from late spring into the summer. During the Grizzly Creek fires and mudslides afterwards, this section has certainly taken a beating. It also suffers from warm water temps in the summer, and we have seen some serious fish kills the last couple years.

My favorite months to fish here would be February, March, April, July, and then from September through the winter. May and June are runoff season, and the Lower Colorado gets really muddy and too high to fish. August is generally too warm, and the river has closed in August the past few years – as we have seen water temps as high as 75 degrees. However, from September through the winter really picks back up.

Since this river is so temperamental with conditions always changing, it is best to check on conditions before you go.


The Lower Colorado is a wonderful fishery, but it has suffered in recent years. Fires, mudslides, water temps, and an increase in fishing pressure have taken a toll on this fishery. If you do make it down this way, make sure to be a steward of the river and treat the fish well.