Colorado’s Gold Medal Fishing Waters

About Gold Medal Fishing ColoradoWaters

These designated fishing areas are home to 322 miles of  Gold Medal fishing waters and offer top locations for large trout fishing.  Colorado offers some of the best trout fishing in the world, from pristine mountain streams and rivers to breathtaking lakes. These picturesque gold medal fishing areas teem with Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat, and Brook trout throughout the state.

What Classifies Gold Medal Fishing

Designated by the Colorado Wildlife Commission, fishing destinations of the highest quality are awarded the “Gold Medal” distinction when the waters can produce at least 60 pounds of trout per acre and a minimum of 14” or larger trout per acre. Before planning your Colorado fishing trip, check for local regulations and private lands. Fishing is year-round in Colorado; learn more about ice fishing. Beginners and expert anglers will enjoy a serene day surrounded by Colorado’s scenic beauty.

Gold medal fishing, Brown Trout in Arkansas River

Gold Medal Fishing Waters - Colorado Rivers

Arkansas River

With over 102 miles of gold medal fishing along the upper Arkansas River in Colorado, you can be sure to find a peaceful spot along this stretch! With the longest stretch of Gold Medal River, anglers can expect outstanding trophy trout anywhere along this renowned fishing location.

North Platte River

Accessed only by raft or kayak, this legendary river offers some of the best trout fishing in the West. The Colorado section starts in the grassy meadowlands of North Park and flows northwest to the Wyoming border. Slow, meandering streams across the valley floor offer some of northern Colorado's best fly fishing for brown, brook, and rainbow trout.

South Platte River

With a section of this river known as the "Dream Stream," the South Platte River is one of the most popular fly fishing and trout fishing destinations. Beginning in South Park and flowing into downtown Denver, this fantastic river offers an abundance of trophy spawners.

Frying Pan River - Gold Medal Fishing

Renowned for fly fishing and lure trout fishing, this carefully managed river flows with a wealth of large trout. The Gold Medal waters of the Frying Pan run between Ruedi Reservoir and the confluence of the Roaring Fork. Crystal-clear waters, gigantic trout, and incredible mountain vistas have made this one of the most favored fishing locations in the world.

Gold medal fishing - Fly Fishing in Colorado

Blue River

The beautiful Blue River boasts excellent trout fishing spots from Hoosier Pass and flows North through Breckenridge to the Colorado River. Located below Lake Dillon, this magnificent 34-mile Gold Medal Water section of the river is called the Tail Water. It can be fly-fished from Dillon downstream to the Colorado River, through the section between Dillon and Green Mountain Reservoirs.

Roaring Fork River

Nearby to the Frying Pan River, the Roaring Fork offers a lesser-known yet exceptional option for catching trophy trout. In-the-know anglers enjoy monster-sized trout from the upper section's winding high meadow stream and robust lower section currents.

Animas River

Surrounded by stunning mountain views, the Animas River near Durango offers an idyllic setting for fishing. The Gold Medal stretch is between Lightner Creek and Rivera Crossing Bridge, with many opportunities for catching sought-after trophy trout. From this location, you may even catch sight of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which runs through the scenic canyons and along the upper river.

Gold medal fishing, Gore Creek

Gore Creek

This smaller, soothing alpine stream offers a great option for year-round trout fishing, beginning high in the mountains at Gore Lake and flowing down to the confluence with the Eagle River near Vail. Anglers here can complete the trout angler's Grand Slam: brook, cutthroat, rainbow, and browns. The main fishing areas of Gore Creek include the Upper Gore Creek, running north of Vail, and the Lower Gore Creek, running just south of Vail.

Colorado River

For a true Western-type fly fishing experience, the Colorado River offers outstanding opportunities for large trout. The 20-mile Gold Medal Water section flows from the Fraser River downstream to the confluence with Troublesome Creek. Still looking for more fishing spots or to escape the crowds completely? Colorado has 6,000 miles of streams and more than 1,300 lakes and reservoirs for endless fishing opportunities. Check with a local outfitter or guide to access private waters and maximize your fishing trip.

Rio Grande River

The mighty Rio Grande flows south from the dramatic San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. This well-known river's Gold Medal Water section lies in the San Juans between the towns of South Fork and Del Norte, with plenty of opportunities to catch trophy browns and rainbows.

Gunnison River

Running through the Gunnison National Park Black Canyon, the Gunnison River offers some of the best brown and rainbow trout fishing opportunities in Colorado. Access the river via steep and winding roads or backcountry hiking for those in peak physical condition. Anglers can take in some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America.

Gold Medal Fishing Waters - Lakes and Reservoirs

Spinney Mountain Reservoir

This popular reservoir outside of Colorado Springs offers striking views and bountiful fly fishing, belly boating, and trolling opportunities. This Gold Medal fishing water - reservoir is a terrific summertime fishing location, packed with trophy rainbows, cutthroats, and browns.

Steamboat Lake - Gold Medal Fishing

Located near Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Lake State Park is still one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. With ample, secluded fishing spots, premier trout fishing, and a winter bounty for ice fishers, anglers are sure to have an excellent catch from these Gold Medal waters.

Gold medal fishing, Colorado River

North Delaney Lake

One of three high mountain lakes in the Delaney Buttes near Walden is the Gold Medal fishing water designated North Delaney Lake. Well-known as a healthy brown trout population, the state Division of Wildlife collects their eggs here to boost their trout stocks.

By Erin Sendor

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