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Colorado Big Thompson

Characteristics updated 9 months ago
Flow updated 15 minutes ago
Available Segments 3

Exploring the Big Thompson River in Colorado: An Angler's Paradise

Welcome to the Big Thompson River, an angler's paradise in the beautiful Colorado landscape. This high-level guide provides concise and informative information on fishing the Big Thompson, addressing challenges, the preferred season, ideal flow rate, river access, and more. River stewardship, sustainability, and conservation are top priorities, promoting the practice of Leave No Trace principles. Additionally, we highlight three of the highest-rated local fly shops and guides, ensuring you have access to reliable and expert assistance for your fishing endeavors.


The Big Thompson River offers a diverse fishing experience, but anglers should know specific challenges. The river's fast-flowing waters can be unpredictable, requiring careful navigation and sturdy equipment. The river's fluctuating water levels can also impact fish behavior and accessibility to various areas. It's essential to stay updated on river flow data and plan 

Preferred Season

The preferred season for fishing on the Big Thompson River is late spring to early fall. During this time, the river comes alive with abundant insect hatches, attracting various trout species, including browns, rainbows, and cutthroats. The mild temperatures and pleasant weather make it an ideal time to explore the river's breathtaking surroundings and cast your line into its crystal-clear waters.

Ideal Flow Rate

To optimize your fishing experience on the Big Thompson, an ideal flow rate is around 100 to 300 cubic feet per second (CFS). This flow rate balances manageable water conditions and active fish populations. offers mean temperature and CFS rates, ensuring anglers have up-to-date information to plan their fishing trips effectively.

River Access Issues

While the Big Thompson River offers excellent fishing opportunities, it's important to note potential river access issues. Access points can be limited in certain areas, and private property may restrict access to river sections. Familiarize yourself with public access points and respect any signage or regulations to ensure a positive fishing experience while preserving the river's natural environment.

Local Fly Shops and Guides

  • Rocky Mountain Anglers - Experience the Big Thompson River with skilled guides at Rocky Mountain Anglers. Their commitment to sustainability and conservation shines through their informative excursions.
  • Front Range Anglers - Front Range Anglers pride themselves on their conservation efforts and personalized fishing experiences. From novice to experienced anglers, their guides will ensure an unforgettable time on the Big 

River Conservation

River stewardship, sustainability, and conservation are vital components of responsible angling on the Big Thompson River. To deepen your understanding and contribute to ongoing conservation efforts, we encourage you to visit the nonprofit organization Running Rivers. Learn more about their initiatives and how you can get involved by visiting their website.

Characteristics & Metrics

⋅ Nov 05, 2023
Late fall flows... The water is getting skinny but straightforward and spooky.
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Current Flow

Big Thompson - Colorado
Gage Station Temp
(ft ³/s)
(ft ³/s)
big thompson bl moraine park nr estes park, co n/a 5.77 Ice
* Mean data is from Tuesday - February 20, 2024
** Updated 15 minutes ago
*** streamflow is the volume of water flowing past a given point in the stream in a given period of time.(USGS)


* Based on YTD -- 2024
** Toggle legend names for an uncluttered view


* 3 segments listed for the Big Thompson
Name Fishy Updated
Just Below the Dam · Pretty Darn Fishy over 2 years ago
Rock Canyon Road · Pretty Darn Fishy over 2 years ago
Sleepy Hollow Park · Fishy over 2 years ago


TroutLeader Image

Jul 05, 2021

TroutLeader Image

Aug 07, 2021


Craig Hoffman

over 2 years ago

The river felt relativity empty today. Slightly smoky, but you could still see the blue sky. :)
Craig Hoffman

over 2 years ago

Fishing buddies. 2 bull elks

Known Fish

Known Fish of the Big Thompson
Type Species Up To
Trout Brown 10 in.
Trout Rainbow 10 in.
* Fish likely to be found. Size is a approximation.