Big Thompson River Fly Fishing | Information

Big Thompson River Fly Fishing | Information

Starting way up high in the Rocky Mountain National Park the Big Thompson makes it’s way east. Flowing throught the Big Thompson Canyon it parallels U.S Highway 34 to the town of Loveland. It eventually makes it’s way to the South Platte River. The Big Thompson is not a large river by our standards. The Thompson is home to Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout. There is plenty of public access on Highway 34 from Loveland to Estes Park. Starting in spring to early fall you can find plenty of trout eager to take your dry flies. With that being said the Big Thompson River is classic western pocket water. Using a double nymph rig is the way to go for numbers.

Hatches for the Big Thompson River:

Midges: All year long

Stoneflies: April-July

Blue Winged Olives: April-October

Caddis: May-September

Pale Morning Dun: July-August

Drakes: July-August

Red Quills: August

Tricos: August-October

Flies to use on the Big Thompson River:

Midges: (Dries) #18 Old Town Midge, #18 Highlander Midge and #18 Mullet Midge. (Nymphs)  #20 Glass-O-Wine. #20 Ouzel Midge and #20 Mavis Midge.

Blue Winged Olives: (Dries) #18 BWO Cripple, #18 2nd Chance and #18 PEC. (Nymphs) #18 J’s BWO Emerger, #18 Mavis PT and #18 PT Loser.

Caddis: (Dries) #14 EC Caddis, #14 Caddis Grey. (Nymphs) #16 CLP Caddis, #16 Mavis Caddis and #16 Caddis Hundidos.

Stoneflies: (Dries) #12 Instigator. (Nymphs) #12 Blackout Stone.

Pale-Morning Duns: (Dries) #16 PMD Cripple and #16 PEC. (Nymphs) #16 J’s PMD Emerger, #16 Mavis PT and #16 PT Loser.

Drakes: (Dries) #12 Drake Cripple.

Dirt Bag Guide Flies: #20 97oh, #16 Electro Penguin and #20 All American.

Gear for Fly Fishing the Big Thompson River:

4wt or 5wt Fly Rod.

9ft or 7.5ft leader in 4x or 5x.

5x or 6x tippet.

Floating line to match rod weight.

Breathable waders with a wading belt and felt wading boots. Although wet wading is an option in the heat of summer. Wading staff is advised if you are a little uneasy with your wading skills.

Liarflies: Big Thompson River Fly Collection is a good way to get the go to flies. Our Big Thompson River Fly Fishing Guides will hand tie a dozen (6 patterns 2 each) custom trout flies to match the current fly-fishing conditions on the Big Thompson River.

Polarized Sunglasses, Sunscreen, Liarflies Hat, Rain Jacket, extra clothing in-case you go swimming.

A Colorado Fishing License.

Nearby Fly Fishing Opportunities:

Cache La Poudre River, North Platte, St. Vrain, Red Feather Lakes, North Fork of the Poudre and the Rocky Mountain National Park.


Loveland to the east and Estes Park are the closest cities. Limited camping along the river. Estes Park or Loveland is going to be your best bet for getting a sit down lunch or dinner. Loveland is home to some quality fly shops. These are some great places to stop in and get the local knowledge.

Big Thompson River Fly Fishing | Information
Big Thompson River Fly Fishing | Information