Fly fishing is a BIG deal in our home state of Colorado. Thousands of people venture out each your for some fly fishing Colorado style! Whether you are a local or an out of towner it’s great to know a bit more about what will (hopefully) be at the end of your line.

A little bit of info for your Colorado fly fishing adventures! This excerpt taken from The Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing over at 5280 Magazine.

Catch all of these trout in one day to complete the quintessential (and hypothetical) Colorado stringer.


Characteristics: Cutthroats are distinguishable from other trout by two prominent red swaths on the lower jaws; light spotting on the backs and sides; heavier spotting on the fins; greenish-brassy coloring; and sometimes orange or red bellies.
Size: In Colorado, cutthroats rarely grow larger than 12 inches.
Colorado Habitat: Clear, cold headwater lakes, streams, and small rivers with deep pools, big boulders, and undercut banks.


Characteristics: Rainbows have multihued coloration with blue, green, or yellowish bodies, pinkish bands running from the gills to the tails, and black spots.
Size: The average size of a rainbow is between 12 and 16 inches, but they can grow to 26 inches in the Centennial State.
Colorado Habitat: Cold headwaters, creeks, cool lakes, and small to large rivers with an array of riffles and pools and aquatic vegetation.


Characteristics: Browns are brownish-yellow to dark brown with varied spotting patterns; their tail fins are not forked and have few to no dark spots; and there are no white edges to their pelvic or anal fins.
Size: Brown trout in Colorado are usually 13 to 17 inches long but can grow to 26 inches or more.
Colorado Habitat: Browns are often found at lower elevations in streams and rivers and can sometimes better tolerate warm water.


Characteristics: Brookies have dark olive green backs covered with squiggly lines; sides speckled with reddish-orange spots surrounded by blue halos; and rust-colored fins with white edges.
Size: In Colorado, brook trout can reach 12 to 14 inches and weigh about half a pound.
Colorado Habitat: Cold, well-oxygenated waters, preferably with gravel bottoms; their presence is an indicator of pristine water.

—Inset images courtesy of iStock

Check out the rest of The Beginners Guide to Fly Fishing over at 5280 Magazine.

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