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Posted: 5/20/2021 2:24:21 PM EDT
The wife and I are headed to yall's way in early June to kick around Northern Co for five days. Thinking about throwing my pack 4wt in my checked bag and doing a little fishing while there. Any local advice would be greatly appreciated so I'm not wondering around aimlessly.  Also, any restaurants, bars, cool stuff you guys could recommend would also be appreciated. We're staying in an AB&B right on the western edge of Estes Park.

I've traveled all over the US but have never been to Colorado, looking forward to it.
Link Posted: 5/25/2021 6:00:53 PM EDT
I've fished the Big Thompson right in town and there are fish to be caught.  Can be crowded, so maybe drive Hwy 34 out of town along the river and try some of the pull offs.

Not sure about restaurants, etc. up there.  A bit touristy for me.  

You need to go into RMNP, too, so check to see if they still require reservations or not, to enter the park.  You'll see big herds of Elk as you get up above treeline.  Driving over Trail Ridge Road and down into Grand Lake would be my recommendation.  Big fires in Grand Lake last year, but the town is fine.
Link Posted: 5/27/2021 2:48:01 PM EDT
Thank you for that, I'm trying to research as much as possible. I'll look into park reservations as well.
Link Posted: 5/27/2021 10:48:36 PM EDT
Run off is likely to be very high during the first couple weeks of June which makes fishing swift water difficult. The Big Thompson has some good meadows in the park that would be fish able.  Alternatively look for some relatively low elevation lakes to fish. The high alpine lakes will likely still be frozen, but something below 10k feet might be fishing really well in early June.
Link Posted: 5/28/2021 9:01:38 AM EDT
Thank you, I'll keep that in mind.
Link Posted: 5/28/2021 7:53:46 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By powderhound:
Run off is likely to be very high during the first couple weeks of June which makes fishing swift water difficult. The Big Thompson has some good meadows in the park that would be fish able.  Alternatively look for some relatively low elevation lakes to fish. The high alpine lakes will likely still be frozen, but something below 10k feet might be fishing really well in early June.
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Twin lakes (Leadville - 10,000' elevation) and Granby have not had ice for weeks, so I think he's safe at 10k'.

If you are heading up and over to Grand Lake area, might as well fish the Colorado river - it's headwaters are in RMNP and downstream of Shadow Mountain Res and Granby all the way to Kremmling (and further) are great trout fishing areas.  But now you are starting to go a longer ways from Estes Park.
Link Posted: 5/28/2021 11:55:18 PM EDT
Probably true, but I've definitely hiked into some alpine lakes in June (at tree line, which is around 11k) hoping to do some fishing and found them completely frozen over. However being set in alpine bowls they don't get much sun.   A few years ago in the San Juan's made it to a lake at 12,500 ft still frozen on the 4th of July.
Link Posted: 5/30/2021 2:34:02 PM EDT
WWolfe is correct on all counts.  I've fished that stretch of the river just below the Shadow Mountain spillway and it is excellent.  Took my kids and some light spinning tackle, using white curly tailed plastic grubs, and caught more lake trout in 20 minutes than we could keep.  Had trout on the grill that night.  The only problem with fishing down there is that it is boggy in places so waders are almost a must.  Have fun and be safe.

Shadow Mountain Lake
Link Posted: 6/4/2021 11:24:43 AM EDT
Thank you guys for the info. I know here in NC we have some places that are fly fish only, any of that out there? I'm ok with that but it sure would be nice and easy to just take a spinning setup. I'm planning on renting waders out there instead of taking mine.

We will be landing in Denver on the 10th, still trying to line all my ducks up.
Link Posted: 6/4/2021 8:33:16 PM EDT
Most areas are catch and release with artificial flies/lures only.

I struggle with fly fishing and typically with spin fish rivers.  Not quite your Colorado-approved fishing method, but you can cover a lot of water with a spinning setup.

For a spin setup, typically 4 lb test and various lures including rapalas (black/gold or rainbow) plus mepps and maybe a gold kastmaster.

Link Posted: 6/5/2021 11:54:36 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By WWolfe:
Most areas are catch and release with artificial flies/lures only.

I struggle with fly fishing and typically with spin fish rivers.  Not quite your Colorado-approved fishing method, but you can cover a lot of water with a spinning setup.

For a spin setup, typically 4 lb test and various lures including rapalas (black/gold or rainbow) plus mepps and maybe a gold kastmaster.

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The stretch of Colorado river that I referenced below Shadow Mountain spillway can be fished by either spinning rod or fly rod.  Limit of lake trout in that same area is 4 per day per person.  Here is link to Colorado's 2021 fishing regulations.  A lot to read but it will answer most of your questions.  Have fun - be safe.  

CPW Fishing Regulations for 2021
Link Posted: 6/5/2021 12:35:54 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By fishinnut1986:
Thank you guys for the info. I know here in NC we have some places that are fly fish only, any of that out there? I'm ok with that but it sure would be nice and easy to just take a spinning setup. I'm planning on renting waders out there instead of taking mine.

We will be landing in Denver on the 10th, still trying to line all my ducks up.
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To answer your questions more specifically, yes there are some rivers/lakes or even sections of some rivers that are fly fishing only, also catch and release only.  Like the Blue River between Dillon dam, up to the town city limit.  North of that city limit the rules change and you can keep 2 allowable trout that are at least 16".   If you're going to fish in a national park (like RMNP) there are also federal fishing regulations that may be different than Colorado state regulations.  Those federal regs can be found at:

National Park Fishing Regs
Link Posted: 6/7/2021 2:25:19 PM EDT
Thanks guys. Right now I'm leaning towards just renting rod, real, waders, etc. at one of the shops in Estes Park. I'd flip shit if TSA broke my St. Croix pack rod.

Am I reading the regs correctly? Up to three commons hooks per line, I take that as meaning one treble hook or three single hooks? So a Rapala floating minnow with two treble hooks would be a no go? Also, I didn't read anything referring to "barbed" hooks. I guess barbed hooks are a go?
Link Posted: 6/16/2021 1:31:28 PM EDT
Got home yesterday, we had a great time out there. Caught a couple trout, brown and rainbow. Really didn't fist too much as we were trying to see everything over the course of five days. Went on some beautiful hikes in the RMNP and saw every animal we wanted to other than a bull moose. I actually walked up on a baby moose sleeping beside the river north of Grand Lakes in the meadows, we split before momma showed up. Speaking of meadows, the meadows driving down to Bear Lake are probably the coolest landscape I've ever seen in my life. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks again for the help!
Link Posted: 6/16/2021 1:34:22 PM EDT
Glad to hear you had a good time.  My buddy lost his cabin in the fire last fall near Grand Lake.  He has moose on his property all the time.  Such a great place.

Pics of trout not showing up, though...  
Link Posted: 6/16/2021 2:33:05 PM EDT
Ha, should’ve known!

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My wife took this picture of me walking out into the meadow, thought it was pretty neat. Hundreds of elk feeding out there too.

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Link Posted: 6/16/2021 2:40:51 PM EDT
Just north of Grand Lake past the burned up area, this is where we had the run in with the “baby / calf?” moose.

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Also ate lunch at the Stanley Hotel.

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You guys live in a beautiful area of the world, I wouldn’t move from NC but sure as hell will be back when my two boys get a little older.
Link Posted: 6/16/2021 3:33:00 PM EDT
Very nice.  CO is a great state, despite issues in Denver, etc.  You could spend 6 months and not see some of the best parts.
Link Posted: 6/16/2021 3:39:12 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By WWolfe:
Very nice.  CO is a great state, despite issues in Denver, etc.  You could spend 6 months and not see some of the best parts.
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Yes it is. We tired to cover as much ground as we could with a good mix of driving and hiking. We ate lunch in Boulder heading to Estes from Denver. All I can say is... it's quite different in Boulder. Also very gay
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