Still hungry for more Gold Medal waters to explore in Colorado? Below you’ll find six more Gold Medal spots you’ve got to fish this summer. Whether you find yourself in the southwest, central, northern, or even western part of Colorado, there’s Gold Medal water for you to check out. From the epic South Platte River to the gorgeous Steamboat Lake, you’ll leave these places a very happy angler.
8. South Platte River
The best part of the South Platte River? There are three sections of Gold Medal water to choose from. The first section is the twenty miles between the bridge on Colorado Highway 9 (just north of Garo) to Spinney Mountain Reservoir. The next section is the four miles between Spinney Mountain Reservoir and Elevenmile Reservoir, appropriately known as the “Dream Stream.” The final section is both the stretch from Cheeseman Reservoir Dam to the upper boundary of Wigwam Club and the lower boundary of Wigwam Club to Scraggy View picnic ground. With so much water to fish, the opportunities to reel in a big trout are stacked in your favor.
Pro Tip: If your schedule permits it, try to head out on a weekday. This river has a reputation of being pretty busy on weekends.
9. North Platte River
Draped in the history of pioneers using this river to head west, the North Platte river is also known for legendary fishing. The river in its 550 mile entirety begins in Colorado and flows up into Wyoming. But the section we are most concerned with is the four and a half miles of water that cuts through Northgate Canyon, starting at the Routt National Forest boundary and ending at the Wyoming border. This Gold Medal section of water is perfect for hooking into a fighting brown trout or a beautiful rainbow.
Pro Tip: Except for the half-mile bordered by the GInger Quill Ranch, everything else in this Gold Medal section is public access.
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10. Spinney Mountain Reservoir
This is another Gold Medal lake filled with rainbow, brown, and cutbow trout. But the biggest treat in this lake is the northern pike. I guarantee you, once one of these cruise missiles hones in on your fly, you’ll be hooked on this lake forever. This 2,500 surface-acre reservoir is massive, so don’t be afraid to wade along the shoreline if one area isn’t doing it for you. A trolling boat is also extremely helpful when you want to motor around the lake looking for that elusive pike. And if for whatever reason the fish aren’t biting (highly unlikely), then Elevenmile Reservoir and portions of the South Platte River are close by.
Pro Tip: Thunderstorms can often come out of nowhere and create forty mile per hour gusts and five foot waves on the reservoir, so always be on the look out.
11. Steamboat Lake
Last of the Gold Medal lakes, but certainly not least, Steamboat Lake is a 1,050-acre reservoir that combines beautiful scenery with fantastic fishing. Rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout cruise the many bays and channels that feed into this lake. You have the best chance of hooking a large cutthroat trout in early spring. But check the weather before you head out because snow can be a possibility in spring. As spring gives way to summer, phenomenal bug hatches can occur all over the lake, resulting in many trout at the end of a line.
Pro Tip: The lake is in a state park so don’t forget to bring cash for the entry fee if you don’t have an annual State Park pass.
12. Rio Grande River
Between the San Juan mountain range and the epic fly fishing rivers, sometimes it feels like Southwestern Coloradans have all the luck. And fishing on the Gold Medal waters of the Rio Grande certainly reinforces that belief. The twenty mile stretch of water between South Fork and Del Norte is home to an incredible number of brown trout. Float fishing this river in early summer is the way to go. As you happily float down this river, you can cast big flies like salmon flies and golden stones that will entice a brown trout out of hiding.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to land big browns, head out on a guided float with a local fishing shop. The river has quite a few private property stretches, so a professional guide shop can get you to spots you wouldn’t otherwise get to.
13. Roaring Fork River
Conveniently located close to the Fryingpan River, the Roaring Fork, or the “Fork” as locals call it, is an Aspen favorite. From Basalt to Carbondale, this 13-mile stretch of river is Gold Medal water. The long stretches of slower moving water and deep pools means brown trout are just waiting for you to catch them. Known for big hatches of Green Drakes, caddis, and many other bugs, you’ll never run out of options to catch trout.
Pro Tip: If you ever get bored fishing the Roaring Fork River, check out other rivers nearby (Colorado, Fryingpan and Crystal).