Rocky Mountain National Park:

Your guide to fly fishing, hiking and camping.

Rocky Mountain National Park brook trout

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is a great place to spend the day fly fishing on clear mountain streams for native cutthroat trout. Most of the fish are eager to take a dry fly and there seems to be a fish in every hole.

I fish a 9' - 2 weight Temple Fork Outfitters Pro series rod most of the time, but make sure you bring something you can still cast if the wind picks up.

The park covers 415 square miles and hosted over 600,000 visitors in July of 2009. This makes for a lot of summertime traffic.

The best way to find a new favorite spot is to look at a Map of Rocky Mountain National Park and head off to one of the lesser traveled lakes.

Before I get into the park I always stop at one of the Rocky Mountain National Park Fly Shops to replenish my selection of flies. The first shop you will see, Kirk's has got some of the best selection of all things fly fishing. Clothes, mugs and shirts are just the beginning and it is right on the way to the park.

Also when it comes to cabin rental Colorado has a large selection for everyone. It is an inexpensive way to stay and can get you close to the water. For more information about where to stay and what else to do at Rocky Mountain National Park, you can check out Best Colorado Vacations Ever.

North East Area:

Beaver Meadows: West of Estes Park, US Hwy 36
Fall River: West of Estes Park, US Hwy 34

The Rocky Mountain National Park headquarters is on the left side of highway 36 just after the RV park. This is where you can get your back-country permit for overnight camping in the park. Check out the RMNP camping page for more information on camping in the park. You can also look into some pack fly rods to condense down what you pack in.

From this entrance of the park the most common destination is Bear Lake. This is an easy hike that brings a lot of people in both the summer and winter. To avoid the crowds of Bear Lake a good place to fish in this area is Glacier Creek. You can start from the Sprague Lake parking area and move on into Boulder Brook. This is small stream fishing so be ready to do a lot of climbing.

In the more northern area of the park there are several rivers that are worth exploring.

Cow Creek - To get to the Cow Creek trailhead from Estes Park, take Devils Gulch to McGraw Ranch Road and park at the McGraw Ranch Research Facility. There is very limited parking so you will have to be there very early to get a spot. This is a 6.1 mile round trip to Bridal Veil Falls.

Roaring River - Start at the Lawn lake trailhead and head to Ypsilon Lake which is 8.75 miles round trip.

Moraine Park/ Big Thompson River - The easiest way to get to Moraine Park is to enter from the Beaver Meadows entrance and take Bear Lake road down to the Cub lake or Fern lake trailheads. This is a very busy area in the summertime so have other options ready in case there is no parking.

The Big Thompson river flows down Forest Canyon for about 8 miles and on into Estes Park. As with the other main rivers in NoCo I will follow my river to it's headwaters but that will have to wait until next summer.

Lilly Lake - Lily Lake is off of Mary's Lake Road and Highway 36. This lake is right off the road and offers easy lake fishing for native cutthroat trout. The lake is inside Rocky Mountain National Park but you do not have to pay to fish there.

Park Hours

Open daily

October 25, 2009 through April 24 2010
  - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

April 25 through June 19
  - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

June 20 through August 28
  - 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

August 29 through September 6 (Labor Day),
  - 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

September 7 throught October 23
  - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

October 24 through early spring 2011,
  - 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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