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Rocky Mountain National Park

by Rob R

The Big T

The Big T

I was in the park Sep 1st - 9th and fished Fall River, Moraine Park (Big Thompson), Glacier Basin (Glacier Creek) and Wild Basin (N St Vrain). I caught what is considered the park grand slam which includes cutthroats, browns, brookies and rainbows. The water conditions were clear and somewhat low for this time of the year. I did make it over the divide to the west side of the park to check out the Colorado River headwaters but it was very low and slow running. I did manage to catch a brook trout before calling it quits. I also took a short hike to Tonahutu creek but did not fish it.

I can't say that I would go back to the park for future trips. It's just too crowded. I used to live in Denver during the nineties and I remembered why I never took many trips to Estes Park and RMNP. Too many tourists for my liking. The fishing was fine otherwise.

There is public water and private water outside the park. Sometimes it's hard to tell if you are on private because it's not always clearly marked. Right now the stream access law in CO is the landowner owns the streambed and wading the private streambed is trespass. If you are floating over it, you are generally ok. Right now there is a federal court case which hasn't been decided, "HIll vs Warsewa" which may change the stream access law to favor the fisherman or it may not, so who knows.

Comments for Rocky Mountain National Park

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Sep 16, 2018
I agree
by: Tom Davis

I too lived in Denver in the 90's and only went to RMNP once. Too many people. I had little kids so I couldn't hike to get away from the people. It's a pretty place though.

Sep 17, 2018
Nice Looking Fish!
by: Les Albjerg

I fished RMNP twice in the early 2000's. I was working on a Certificate in Medical Ethics and "had to" spend two weeks at Camp St. Malo near RMNP. It was as you say crowded in the park, but I found the fishing to be very good.

Once I got off the beaten path, I found solitude. When I start complaining to myself about crowds, I think of the Japanese YouTube Videos I have watched where a day's fishing cost more than my yearly licence in Idaho, and especially the one where you are only allowed about a 500 yard section of stream and once you have caught and released 10 fish your day of fishing is done!

The other good thing about the National Parks is they do draw a lot of people away from many of the great fishing places just outside of the Parks. It sounds like you had a good time in spite of the crowds. So maybe next time a little more research, and fishing outside the park will yield the solitude you are looking for as well as great fishing.

Sep 17, 2018
RMNP still beautiful
by: Jenny AskeyD!

I have been fishing in RMNP for over 40 years and have definitely seen the uptick in crowds, both tourists and newly arrived residents. It takes some forethought and planning, but there are still amazing places to fish in the Park, which hosts a mostly thriving population of native cutthroat. Surprisingly, many people who go to the backcountry don't actually fish, so one sometimes has lakeshores all to oneself.

Sep 18, 2018
Onx Maps
by: Les Albjerg

One of the best investments I have made is buying the Onx Maps chip for my GPS. I have the one that shows the land owners. I have found that more often than not, if I make a friendly approach to a landowner, promise to practice catch and release on their property, and also offer to clean up any trash I find along the stream, I get permission to fish. I have also discovered several ways to often navigate public land around private land leading me to unfished waters. Twice last year, I had Ranchers ask me how I got to the public land. I showed them on the Onx and they just laughed. By the way, both of them gave me permission to cross their land thus saving on one of the ranches a mile and a half of walking!

I have found a friendly approach usually works, get their name and address, send them a thank you card and a small gift. You will have a new place to fish that isn't hammered all of the time. One Ranch I fish in the winter, the Rancher didn't even know his stream had fish in it. He isn't a fisherman.

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