Cache La Poudre:
The Poudre, as it's known around here, starts high
in the mountains on the Western Slope of Rocky Mountain
National Park, flows north into Long Draw Reservoir,
then tumbles down a canyon until exiting onto the plains
near Fort Collins.
It is a small river throughout its length, no more
than 40 feet wide at its greatest, and has to be the
slickest river in the United States. This freestone
stream is one of the prettiest rivers in Colorado,
and you'll see mule deer and even bighorn sheep as
you wind down the canyon.
Flows range from a high of 800 CFS during peak runoff,
to and average summer flow of 300. Recent droughts
have brought flows down to under 100 CFS in the summer,
raising water temperatures and forcing fish to congregate
in deeper pools. If you find the water to be over 70
degrees, please don't fish it. The oxygen levels in
the water are so low that even briefly playing a fish
has a high likelihood of killing the fish you release.
The fish in this river run 9-12 inches with a few
over 14 inches. There are two sections designated as
Wild Trout Water, most fisherman do practice catch & release
The hatch chart for this stream is the same as the
- Midges: Year Round
- Baetis: April / May & September / October
- Green Drake: July / August
- Red Quill: July / August
- Caddis: June through September
- Terrestrials: July through September
- Stoneflies: June through August
Winter fishing can be tough because the stream is
in the bottom of a canyon that gets very little sun,
and the water level is a trickle. However, midges are
around all year, and you're likely to get some interest
if you can find some open water on a warm January day
by drifting a small, dark midge nymph.
By April, Baetis have joined the Midge hatches. Olive
comparadun, parachute adams and blue duns can be added
to your Griffith's
Gnat and midge patterns.
Flows increase as runoff begins in Late May and June,
but cooler temperatures and overcast days are good
times to take a run up the canyon to see if the caddis
are coming off. If you don't get a strike on the typical
high-riding caddis patterns Goddard or Elk
Hair) let the fly get waterlogged and fish
it in the surface film. You'll be surprised at how
many more strikes you'll get.
During summer, Green Drakes and Red Quills will come
off in the afternoon, so don't leave home without some
of these patterns in 14 to 18. As with most of these
streams, terrestrials come off in July and August.
Don't leave home without a few #14-16 ants, #12 crickets,
or some #10-14 hopper patterns. Here's a free tip--try
a hopper with a yellow body on some of the deeper pools.
Just don't yank the fly off the water when you see
those big jaws opening below your fly!