Part 2: The 5 Places You Must Fish in Colorado This Year

Welcome to the second part in our series on places you must fish in Colorado this year. Here along the Front Range and throughout the state, we are fortunate to have an incredible variety of fly fishing opportunities. If you haven't fooled a bass, carp or a pike on the fly, we have a few awesome suggestions for you.

Last week we explored high country opportunities in alpine lakes, headwaters streams and beaver ponds. Colorado’s cutthroat and brook trout country is the perfect place to spend a hot August day. If you missed it, go check out the previous post.

Part 2: Warm Water Fly Fishing

We know. You love trout. We do too. But if you’ve never taken the time to fish for warm water species here in Colorado, you’re missing out. Here around the Denver area, we enjoy fishing for a wide range of fish in local lakes, reservoirs and even neighborhood ponds.

In fact, the variety of fly fishing opportunities available around here was one of the motivations behind our annual Mile High 25 Fly Fishing Tournament. Many of the 25 eligible species are found right here in the Denver area.

Bass Fishing

bass on the fly

Bass on a fly – this should be on your to-do list. Bass are easy to find in the Denver area or across the Front Range. They are aggressive, hard-fighting fish. And you don’t have to travel far.

Most of our major Front Range reservoirs are home to healthy smallmouth and largemouth bass populations. Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Quincy and Aurora Reservoirs are just a few. These waters hold some hefty smallmouth. Largemouth are even easier to find. In addition to the major reservoirs, most smaller lakes and even neighborhood ponds less than an acre in size can hold sizeable largemouth bass.

Common Carp Fishing

carp on the fly in Colorado

Common carp are plentiful in the South Platte River all the way through Littleton, Denver, and further north. These fish get big – really big. They are opportunistic feeders, but they are easily spooked. Carp fishing is a challenge that’s worth taking on. Hook one of these fish, and you’ll be obsessed.

In addition to the South Platte, look for carp in many local lakes and ponds. Just note that there’s a big difference between common carp, and their cousins, the grass carp. While insanely large, grass carp are pure herbivores and won’t take typical common carp flies. You’ll know common carp when you see them foraging along the bottom and in muddy flats for crayfish, freshwater clams, leeches and worms. Their tails will often break the surface as they feed in shallow water.

Panfish, Pike, Wiper, and More…

Denver Pike Fishing

Warm water fly fishing opportunities are almost too varied to list. While bass and carp are two of the most popular, it doesn’t end there. Other great species to catch on a fly around here include wiper (walleye-striped bass hybrid), northern pike, and panfish, like crappie and bluegill. If you need ideas, come visit us at the fly shop!

The Gear

Fishing for bass requires the need to throw heavy flies. And hooking a carp in the Denver South Platte is no joke. Bring along your 6-weight at a minimum. A 7-weight or 8-weight fly rod wouldn’t be overkill. Go with an aggressively tapered fly line that’s designed to fish large flies, like the Scientific Anglers Titan Taper.

Last week, we mentioned packing a 3-weight for your high country fishing. Here's another great excuse to bring it along. Crappie, bluegill and perch can be a ton of fun on that 3-weight!

There are a wide range of effective fly patterns for bass, carp, panfish and pike. If you need help picking out a few, come see us at the fly shop or give us a call at 303-794-1104.

What Not to Forget

Don’t forget you’ll need a parks pass for any Colorado State Parks, like Chatfield or Cherry Creek Reservoirs.

Don’t forget the net. This can be especially helpful for landing carp. The Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length Net is one of our shop favorites for handling a rowdy carp.

Stops Along the Way

These waters are local, so stop by and see us at the fly shop! We’ll help you prepare for an awesome day of warm water fly fishing. If you're reading this from afar, don't hesitate to call or shop online! We've got flies, nets and toothy critter leaders all available at


fly fishing


fly shop

South Platte




front range

Mile High 25






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