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Our Top 3 Favorite Fishing Floats in Colorado
With so many amazing waters to float and fish in Colorado, we had our work cut out for us to narrow it down to just three! There is so much more to float fishing than just catching fish, so our criteria for narrowing down our list to our top 3 Favorite Fishing Floats in Colorado included:
- Access to large, healthy fish!
- Strong, diverse hatches year-round
- Fun waters to row that require a little action and skill with the oars
- Beautiful scenery to enjoy from the river
The Lower Blue River (aka. Jurassic Park)
The Lower Blue River is famed for its MONSTER fish, its gnarly 55% grade put-in that requires you to repel your raft to the river and its challenging rowing. This is a seasonal float and requires flows between 650 CFS to around 1100 CFS to clear the rocks and bridges along this 14-mile stretch located below Green Mountain Reservoir. The scenery through the first 2 miles of the canyon is unparalleled, and you will have shots at many “fish of a lifetime” throughout the float. The majority of the river's miles wind their way through the famed “Blue Valley Ranch” which is private property, but so long as you don’t touch the bottom of the river or wade, you are free to float and fish! You’ll want to leave your 5 weights at home for this float and bring your 6-8wts instead. The hatches include all the staples from stoneflies to caddis, but the Green Drake hatch in the canyon is among the best in the state!
The Colorado River (Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio)
This river has it all, from party boats to hardcore angling, class three rapids to hot springs, it has something for everyone! Even if you don’t own a raft, the Colorado River is the most guided water in the state, and almost the entirety of both banks are owned by the BLM, allowing anglers to pull over and wade, anchor up, camp wherever they would like. Best floated between 800 – 1800 CFS, this section is home to a couple class II/III rapids and averages 14” to 16” rainbow and brown trout with some topping the 20” mark. It’s truly an experience being on the famed Colorado River. The hatches along this stretch cover all of your Rocky Mountain basics but, in the spring, we get to see the emergence famed of the salmon fly hatch. Floating down the river tossing a size 6 foam dry flies and watching a brown trout smash it off the surface is something you don’t get to experience on many rivers! So, whether you're going to jump off the cliffs and make a splash, drink beer and heckle your friends when they fall out of the boat, or do some serious fishing, the Colorado River is worth floating!
The Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork is an easier float than the first two, but in no way second rate as far as fishing is concerned. The Roaring Fork forms from runoff above Aspen, Colorado, and the inflows of the Frying Pan and Crystal rivers. My favorite section is from the Bob Terrell put into the Iron Bridge takeout. This a perfect little 6-hour afternoon or evening float with plenty of fish. The hatches on the Roaring Fork are abundant with one of the best being the Green Drakes in late summer as well as abundant caddis hatches throughout the summer months. The ideal flows for this river are 600 CFS and up. The higher the flows, the more fun this float will be, and the better the fishing. Typical fish range from 14” to 16” but there are some outliers and you have the chance at hooking into some 20” plus fish.
Floating away the end of summer is the way to go! So load your family and friends up in the car, hook up the raft or call a guide, and check out our Top 3 Favorite Fishing Floats for yourself!