Blue River Colorado (Below Dillion Reservoir)

The Blue River is a gin clear tailwater that starts below Lake Dillon in Silverthorne, CO and makes it’s way to Kremmling, CO where it meets the Colorado River. The Blue is known for many fishing options and is an easy destination located just off of I-70. Seriously, you drive over it! Though fairly pressured and technical as it comes, the Blue River is a great fishery for many reasons.

The upper stretch of the Blue is about as “urban” of fishing as you can get in the Central Rockies of Colorado. By that we mean it pretty much runs through a strip mall however, it’s still absolutely beautiful and you are still surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks. The fishing can be very good if you are competent with light tippet, spotting fish and making soft approaches and drag-free drift. Local shoppers at the Silverthorne Outlets stand on bridges and help you spot fish and love to participate so be prepared. If you want a chance at a large fish in Silverthorne but don’t want to deal with the onlookers, plan to fish during inclement weather, early in the day or late in the evening… even night!

For a more intimate experience, follow CO Rte 9 north towards Kremmling. There are multiple pull offs along your way that all offer opportunities for serenity, gin clear water and beautiful trout. These areas have large signs calling you in so they are hard to miss and easy to access. Many thanks to CO Parks and Wildlife for their efforts. Eventually your treks will take you to Green Mountain Reservoir. The Blue River about Green Mountain can be a really great place to go in the Fall when the Kokanee Salmon are running and the brown trout are making their annual trip upstream looking for spawning gravel. Though we don’t condone fishing for spawning trout, fishing the deep resting holes and prespawn fish that aren’t on redds can be extremely productive.

Below Green Mile Reservoir is a 3 mile canyon for the adventuresome angler. This stretch is not for the faint of heart. Because of the hard/limited access, this water sees far less pressure than the upper however it is best to go with someone who knows the trail and water to help you make it there and back safely. Don’t fish it alone, don’t wear felt and if you aren’t in good physical shape, focus your efforts upstream. This water is ideal for late Summer and Fall as Spring run off and in-frequent water releases can leave an angler stranded. Leave the dog at home, bring plenty of water and have a ball with your co-fishermen.
If you have the pleasure to float below Green Mile Reservoir, you should be fishing with a very experienced oarsman who knows the water well and respects the private ranches downstream. Prepare for a long day as you won’t be getting out of the boat for almost the entirety of the float. Bring large streamers, strong tippet and your game face as any trip could include the trout of a lifetime. We cannot stress enough to abide by all private land laws and don’t push your luck. A big fishing isn’t worth losing your fishing license in Colorado.

The Blue River is a beautiful tailwater with a mix of all different types of fishing character – urban, mountain creek and deep canyon. Because it’s a bottom release tailwater, the river stays cold during the hottest Summer days and very comfortable for the fish through the Winter. If your local river is frozen over in February, the Blue is for you. If your freestone streams are getting too warm to spend a full day in August, think the Blue River. Want to give night fishing a try?  High water got you down in June? I think you know where I’m going with this. The Blue has something for everyone.

When fishing the Blue River, don’t show up without a plethora of midges and your trusty Mysis Shrimp. As these fish are pressured, some fish might require multiple fly changes to garner some interest. Long leaders with light tippet with small foam or yarn indicators provide the stealthiest approach. Through the upper stretches, walk far from the bank at a slow pace and keep your eyes peeled for any movement. These fish blend in quite well, even for their size. Once you find a fish to approach, keep making your drifts, switching flies every few dozen casts. When it spooks, it’s time to move on to your next target. It’s also ok to think outside the box a bit too. If everyone is fishing size 24 thread midges on 7x, slap a hopper/dropper on ’em. It never hurts to think outside the box and you might surprise yourself and your cohorts.
For flows, fishing reports and pertinent updates, please reach out to Element Flies or your local fly shop like Minturn Anglers who guides it and knows it well.