The Pikes Peak Region is a favorite destination for anglers on the fly. We have some of the most beautiful trout streams, such as the South Platte River and the Arkansas River, which are easy to get to and enjoy without traveling for hours. If you prefer the still water of lakes and reservoirs, we have many to choose from and several are located on Pikes Peak – both the north and south slopes. If you don’t mind a hike and ike to get away from people and into the woods, our backcountry contains numerous small streams, such as Beaver Creek, Grape Creek, Four Mile Creek and more with browns and brookies eager for your dry fly.
We are fortunate that fly fishing is year-round in our region as our winters include some very mild days and our tailwater streams don’t freeze completely. Spring is a lovely time of year to break out the fly rod but good information about runoff from the local fly shops is helpful so you don’t end up in an area of off-color water, high flows, or blown out small streams. Of course the summer is the most popular time to fly fish here, and don’t overlook the fall! During the brown trout spawning season, fishing can be terrific – just make sure to leave actively spawning fish alone and be careful not to disturb the redds – teir spawning beds.
Before You Get Started
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles for Fishing
Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Know the local fishing and boating regulations for the area where you’ll fish. Obtain licenses and stamps and have them with you.
- Use a personal flotation device where required and/or appropriate.
- Learn to identify the different species of fish in the area where you’ll be fishing.
- Obey the limits on size and quantity of fish you are allowed to keep. Abide by regulations concerning types of bait and tackle permitted where you are fishing.
- Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
- Plan your trip to avoid times of high use.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Durable surfaces include rock, gravel, water, established trails and campsites, sand, or snow.
- Concentrate use on existing trails, campsites, and boat launches.
- Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
- Avoid trampling aquatic vegetation when wading. Refrain from wading in spawning areas when possible.
- Enter and leave water sources at places where the banks are low or where there are gravel bars.
- In pristine areas disperse use to prevent the creation of new campsites and trails.
- Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Dispose of Waste Properly
- Pack it in, Pack it out. Inspect your camp and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all monofilament fishing line, leftover live bait, and bait cups.
- Avoid using lead sinkers and jigs. If lead sinkers are found, pack out for proper disposal.
- Use established bathrooms when available. If not available, deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep and 200ft away from water sources.
- Check with local land managers for regulations on disposal of fish entrails. Pack out entrails when possible. If not possible, burial, deepwater deposition, or moving water deposition are acceptable options in most areas.
- To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
Leave What You Find
- When practicing “catch and release”, use barbless hooks and be sure to not injure the fish. Do not fight a fish to exhaustion, use a rod and line of sufficient strength, avoid suspending fish out of water by the fishing line. Keep fish in water when handling for release and do not touch gills.
- Carry and use needle-nose pliers or hemostats for hook removal.
- Take care not to introduce non-native species to water sources and surrounding areas. Pack out all un-used bait and dispose of properly (e.g. worms, minnows, leaches) and properly wash all equipment between fishing trips.
- Avoid transferring fish from one watershed to another.
- Preserve the past: observe, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Campfires can cause lasting impacts. Use a lightweight stove for cooking when possible.
- Where fires are permitted use established fire rings, mound fires, or fire pans and consider bringing your own firewood.
- Keep fires small and use only dead and downed wood that can be broken by hand.
- Burn all wood and charcoal to ash. Ensure that fire is completely out and properly dispose of cold ashes by scattering or packing out.
- Respect fish by humanely dispatching catches you are keeping with a quick blow to the back of the head with a rock or other solid object.
- Refrigerate or eat fish quickly to avoid wasting them. Check local regulations on using stringers.
- Use caution when cooking fish in bear country.
- Never feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
- Control pets or leave them at home.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
- Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
- Non-motorized crafts usually have right-of-way over powerboats: slower boats should keep to the right.
- If using a radio keep volume low or wear headphones, let nature’s sounds prevail.
- Pick campsites that are away from shoreline or trails and avoid crowding other visitors.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. For more information, visit www.LNT.org.
To fly fish the Pikes Peak Region, it is recommended that you use a 9' 5 weight rod - a good all around rod choice size for trout fishing. A heavier rod, perhaps a 6 weight, would be great for stillwater and a lighter rod such as a 2 weight would be great for our small streams.
Waders and boots are needed for many of our rivers and some local fly shops rent them out (see below). Although we recommend using non-felt sole boots to avoid transporting harmful aquatic critters from one location to another (such as New Zealand mud snails), Colorado does not have any regulations against felt. You can comfortably wet wade our small streams with quick-drying pants and wet wading shoes or closed toe sandals.
Where to Go
Beaver Creek’s headwaters begin at the top of Pikes Peak. The creek cuts its way down to the Arkansas river with most of its water pumped into Brush Hollow Reservoir. Most of the stream travels through a rugged canyon known as Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area. The lower access to the canyon is through Penrose. The lower canyon is carved […]
The section below Skaguay Reservoir is a long, gentle meadow that runs almost 3 miles before it drops into an untamed, un-trailed, harsh canyon that few venture into. This is a popular fishing, hiking, backpacking area so you will see a number of people on the trail, especially on the weekends. This is an easy-to-get-to […]
Chalk Creek runs through the Chalk Creek valley about ten miles south of Buena Vista and joins the Arkansas River at the town of Nathrop, Colorado. There are many pockets and stretches of fishable water all the way up the heavily wooded canyon. Easily accessible from a paved and dirt road. Mostly easy hiking on […]
Tarryall Creek is mostly private ranches, but there are a few spots where the public can access the creek. One spot that anglers can fish is the tailwaters below the dam and diversion. There are some nice pools and good shore fishing. Public land exists for about 1/4 mile from the dam downstream.
Local Fly Fishing Blogs:
To get some real time, local info on fly fishing, check out these blogs:
The Angler's Blog
Local Fly Fishing Groups:
Guided Fly Fishing:
Many people find that the best way to learn about local waters and the techniques required to catch those fish is to take a guided fishing trip. Our local shops offer a number of options to suit the individual, family, or company outing. Click on "Guides" above for the outfitters who are permitted to guide our local waters.
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