ORVIS GUIDE TO ADVENTURE
Colorado Travel Guide
From its snow-capped summits and verdant valleys to its high desert and shortgrass prairie, Colorado is home to exceptional outdoor recreation in every direction. Planning a wingshooting or fly-fishing trip to Colorado can be a bit overwhelming. “Where should I fish?” “When should I visit Colorado?” It’s a big state with unique regions separated by peaks reaching more than 14,000 feet high, making travel from one corner to the other difficult, if worthwhile. If you’re visiting Colorado for a limited time, it helps to focus on one region and to know what you want to do before you visit. Fortunately, fly-fishing and wingshooting opportunities are plentiful, so wherever you end up, you’ll enjoy some of the best trout and game bird experiences available in the United States.
Colorado Eastern Plains
The Eastern Plains of Colorado are part of the Great Plains of the Midwest. This area of the state features shortgrass prairie, agricultural lands, the foothills of the Rockies, and the Front Range Urban Corridor, home to most of Colorado’s residents (including Ft. Collins, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo). The agricultural and prairie lands are home to pheasant, greater sage-grouse, and quail. Being at lower elevation, the rivers which drain the Rockies to the east are bigger and slower when they reach the Eastern Plains. This makes it primary habitat for big brown trout. The big towns in this area make perfect jumping-off points for easy day trips to the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River, or the Cache la Poudre.
The pristine mountain waters of the Rockies hold some of the best opportunities for fly fishing in the lower 48 states. A mix of free-flowing mountain torrents and well-managed tailwaters provide the perfect mix of trout fishing habitat to give anglers nearly endless choices for targeting browns, rainbows and native cutthroat trout. With a plethora of ski resorts dotting the mountain landscape, visitors will find an array of lodging options. And with summer being the “off-season” for skiing, anglers should be able to find some good deals during fishing’s peak months. Most destinations here are best accessed by flying into Denver, or one of the big resort towns’ smaller airports.
The Western Slope
Looking for chukar or Hungarian partridge? The Colorado Plateau’s high desert terrain provides ample coverage for these game birds. You’ll find even higher numbers, along with pheasant and grouse, at one of Colorado’s wingshooting lodges in this region. As with the rest of the state, the trout fishing is prolific and varied. From the Rio Grande to the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers, big browns, tough rainbows, and agile cutthroats await carefully presented dry flies throughout the year. Grand Junction Regional Airport provides easy access to much of the Western Slope and Plateau region of Colorado.
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