Fly Fishing Boulder
About a 30-40 minute drive West of Boulder through the quaint town of Ward, Brainard Lake lies at an altitude of about 10,300 feet. The lake is a short walk from the nearest road and parking lot, so bring a flashlight and don’t be afraid to fish through the evening rise. Look for the best fishing near the inlets of Mitchell and South St. Vrain creeks on the west end of the lake.
South St. Vrain Creek
Three sections of the South St. Vrain are interrupted by Long Lake, at 10520 feet, and Brainard Lake at 10,300 feet. The portion above long lake is a relatively low grade with widths around 15-20 feet, at lest once you get a few hundred yards above Long lake. If you keep going, you’ll eventually come to Lake Isabelle, where the headwaters of the creek are formed from the Isabelle glacier, another mile north of the lake.
Between Long lake and Brainard lake is a section of creek about 3/4 of a mile long, and then continues below Brainard lake another 6 miles before reaching private property. The creek has cutthroat, rainbows, brown trout and brook trout.
Sitting above Brainard Lake at 10520 feet, Long Lake covers about 40 acres. Float tubing and shore fishing can both be effective here.
Middle St. Vrain Creek
Close to Ward, CO, the banks of this section of the creek are covered in moss and wildflowers. Aspens line the banks, as do old-growth evergreens. Streamside hiking can be slow due to the thickness of the vegetation. This section of the creek is narrow with close lying brush, making an 8 foot or smaller fly rod essential. You’ll find primarily Brown Trout here, but other species are present as well.
Left Hand Canyon
Fly Fishing Boulder means that you have a few close place to choose from, and Left Hand Canyon is one of them. Only a 10-15 minute drive from the heart of Boulder, Left Hand Creek offers fun close fishing in a rocky stream bed. Willows and sunflowers are abundant making the vegetation different from what you’ve been seeing in the higher elevations.
Middle Boulder Creek
A 20 minute drive up Canyon Boulevard into Roosevelt National Forest. Small wild brook trout hang close to the banks and other shelter. Casting here is good due to sparse stream side vegetation, so your 9 foot fly fishing rod (or longer) will do well here.
South Boulder Creek
This creek runs through Walker Ranch, now one of the Boulder County recreation areas. The hike downhill from the parking lot to the creek is pleasant, but you’ll definitely notice the elevation change on the way up. Walker ranch is open to cyclists except on Wednesdays and Sundays, so you can plan your hike if you want to avoid them. Parts of Boulder Creek are up to 40 feet across, so casting is not an issue. Both Browns and Rainbows can be found here.
Fly Fishing Boulder can be a rewarding day of fishing if you plan your day well. Plan for mountain weather in the higher elevations, and stop back at one of the local brewpubs after your day of fishing. Get lots of rest because tomorrow you can Flyfish Boulder all over again!