Fishing the Fall: Quiet Waters, Cooler Temps, and Hungry Fish Will Likely Make You Fall in Love with Fishing this Time of Year

We love hiking and biking as the aspens change, but fall is also the perfect time to grab your fishing gear and explore the waters in our neck of the Rockies: access Grand County's 1,000 miles of streams and rivers, almost 1,000 acres of high mountain lakes, 11,000 acres of reservoirs, and various well stocked ponds as you enjoy the vibrant fall foliage set against the backdrop of snow-dusted mountains. 


Whether you're wading, floating, boating, or fishing from shore, fall can be the perfect time to fish. The season brings a welcome reprieve from the summer heat as cool mornings and crisp air settle in. With the cooler temperatures comes a drastic decrease in crowds (and of the horse fly and mosquito population!).  Fewer people on the water translates to a less-pressured fish population, increasing your odds of success. The cooler weather also means cooler water, and water temperatures in the mid-fifties are ideal for trout metabolism. Read: the fish are hungry this time of year! And the cool water leads to the brown trout spawn; pre-spawning season in late September and early October can bring some of the biggest catches of the year.  Not only that, but the smaller, clearer water in fall makes it a great time for sight fishing and usually makes wading and paddling a lot easier. Couple all that with the fall scenery, and a day fishing the local waters is worth planning for. 


The opportunities to explore some great fishing in Grand County are seemingly endless. Our access to public water and so many miles of "Gold Medal" designated areas are abundant, making fishing here easy to enjoy. Check out a detailed fishing map of the county here

Rivers & Streams

The Fraser River runs from Berthoud Pass all the way to its confluence with the Colorado River just west of Granby. It's 32 miles wind through the canyon and offer ample opportunity to catch trout. Some of its best fishing is mid-September to mid-October, and many have the best luck with dry flies, nymphs, and streamers. The headwaters of the mighty Colorado River offer abundant fishing opportunities as well. Soak in the breathtaking scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park, or head a little further downstream and try your hand closer to Hot Sulphur Springs and Parshall. 


Try your hand fly or spin fishing on one of the many creeks in the valley. Intimate, small stream fishing as golden aspen leaves seem to rain around you is nothing short of magical. St. Louis Creek just outside of Fraser, Vasquez Creek just outside of Winter Park, and Willow Creek near Granby all feel like a world away. It's easy for hours to feel like minutes along our remote and pristine creeks; before you know it, the sun will be going down! 

Lakes & Reservoirs

Accessed by boat, waders, floats, or the shore, our lakes and reservoirs are ideal places to cast a line. Meadow Creek Reservoir, just outside of Fraser, is a 50-acre remote high-mountain reservoir that exemplifies the beauty for the area. Paddle out on your (non-motorized) raft, toss a line from the shore, or wade out in your float to catch some brown, rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout. Monarch Lake, at the end of the county road that parallels Lake Granby off Highway 34, is another gem (especially in the fall as the aspen groves that surround it burst with color). Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Lake, Grand Lake, Wolford Reservoir, and Willow Creek Reservoir are also all open to the public and make some great fishing for both trout and salmon! 


Several ponds are open to fishing throughout the valley. Adjacent to Safeway in Fraser are two ponds stocked by The Fraser River Valley Lions Club, with the North Pond reserved for children 14 and younger and the disabled. A little closer to Winter Park are a couple of ponds in Cozens Ranch Open Space. The easy access makes it easy to squeeze in a quick hour on your lunch break! Granby's Kaibab Park also has a stocked fishing pond for youth. 


Be sure to check out Colorado Parks & Wildlife to find the most up-to-date information on fishing licenses, seasons, and regulations. And bring layers! You never know what the weather will do this time of year--you could be wearing a down jacket one minute and a tank top the next! Regardless of the temperature, we hope you get a chance to enjoy the crisp air alongside (or waist deep in) Grand County's fresh mountain water this fall. 

Posted by Angela McDonough (Sandstrom) on


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