Best Co Front Range Fishing runs to float? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-24-2015   #1
 
Littleton, Colorado
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Best Co Front Range Fishing runs to float?

Hey All, new to MB and rafting. Have a 14' Aire SDP with fishing rig. Curious on what's the best stretches you like to float and fish? Only looking for class I & II water.

Been a fly fisherman for years. Now time for the real deal and excited to be floating vs walking down the river.

Thanks for any insights!
Scott


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Old 07-24-2015   #2
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande
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Old 07-24-2015   #3
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Upper CO from State Bridge down scratches the itch. Lower Blue below Green Mtn when releases are between roughly 750 and 1400 CFS. Gray Reef section of N Platte west of Casper. N Platte around Saratoga. Never done the Ark, but I know there are class II sections. The Eagle around Wolcott. These can all be long day trips except for mYbeGray Reef.

It's taken
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Old 07-24-2015   #4
 
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Was gonna say it's taken me awhile to realize how solid the fishing can be on the Upper CO, even with the intense traffic it receives.
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Old 07-24-2015   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
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There is a substantial difference between state bridge down and the lower blue but if you aren't completely useless on the oars the lower blue should offer no issues. Easiest runs on the arkansas are from big bend to rincon but that entire river is float fishable and worth exploring. The Roaring Fork from Catherines all the way to 2 rivers is pretty easy at normal fishing flows. As others have said the north platte is a brain dead day for an oarsman but good fishing. Would compare that difficulty with the colorado sections mentioned.

At fishing flows few rivers in Colorado are really that difficult or pose serious threats to flipping. Start it off easy with the ones mentioned and work your way through the rest. A class 3 for a whitewater boater in May is much different than when we put a fishing rig on that same section with 10X lower flows in July. Half of the rapids you read about are not even discernible when you take a fishing raft through it during the summer.

I would also agree that over time I have come to appreciate the fishing on the upper colorado. For the traffic and flack it gets for being so busy, the fishing on that river is still excellent and in my experience fairly consistent throughout the year.
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Old 07-24-2015   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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not much farther the Eagle from Edwards going West...probably the last few days the "upper" Eagle (not really the way upper stretches) from the water treatment plant will have enough water to float...close or below 300cfs is too rockgardenish to float..."climbing rock" campground put in (actually another name and just downstream from Wolcott) and downstream (to Eagle, Gypsum, and West) will still be floatable longer....Class III "trestle" rapid can be a little tricky in the upper stretch, Dead Cow (Class III) between Wolcott and Eagle is now mostly wave train with a couple of rocks to avoid....both can be scouted from the road pull outs...fly shops can be of help with info and maps (though they tend to say don't do the Eagle as first fishing floats yourself...I think they want your business, more than anything to be scared of)...honestly the Eagle is mostly read and run, though mildly technical in lower water...expect to get caught on a shallow rock or two and maybe get out of the boat and push/pull...a lot of private water on the upper Eagle, but no hassles unless you actually pull out onto shore or get out and wade ...the Eagle is not exactly undiscovered but ..good fishing...all the local flyshops have websites, a guy by the name of Patrick does shuttles for semi fair prices....if you want to talk about it: [email protected]
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Old 07-24-2015   #7
 
Monte Vista, Colorado
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Best Co Front Range Fishing runs to float?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lmyers View Post
Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande

Minus the bridge and rock garden right after the put in...both are rather sketchy right now. Sending a noob at that bridge could spell trouble...


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Old 07-25-2015   #8
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLVCampo View Post
Minus the bridge and rock garden right after the put in...both are rather sketchy right now. Sending a noob at that bridge could spell trouble...


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I've floated this stretch really high before, but with a kayak and don't remember any bridges that were problems. Maybe one with a couple pilings to avoid. Seemed like the rock garden was a 3 at really high flows, but a very simple 2 at normal flows...but I'm certainly no expert on it, only been down a few times.
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Old 07-25-2015   #9
 
Monte Vista, Colorado
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To me, only one float on a section of river seems insufficient to recommend it to a new raft owner, especially since you hit it in high water.

Yes, the rock garden is only a solid two right now, but that didn't help the R2 IK that got pinned a few weeks back in similar flows. They thought it was going to be cake as well. Poor folks had no pin kit to free their IK.

The bridge is immediately following the put-in at WW. Strainers left and right with a bridge positioned at a tricky angle in the current. There is a reason the locals and local guides call it "Killer Bridge". Newbies run it...some make it through...some don't.

Now, if you knew the river better, you would know there are three put-ins below WW which avoid the bridge and the Rock Garden. I'll let the OP PM me if he wants that information.

All that said, it's getting a little boney for a 14'er on the Rio right now. I took my Storm out and tapped bottom in a few places, even sticking to the deeper currents.


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Old 07-25-2015   #10
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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I didn't say once, I said "a few" times. Thinking back, I believe I have done it 4 times... Perhaps coming from Monte Vista this is a tough run, coming from BV this is beginner water. We start people on the Milk Run here. If the op isn't comfortable with the bridge he can float Pallisade to South Fork. Gold Medal water that is worth the drive imo.
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