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Yampa River Fishing

The Yampa River in northwestern Colorado has every characteristic of a first rate stream. It has great variety, offering great trout fishing as well as excellent fishing for bass, pike, and catfish. The Yampa above Stagecoach Reservoir is really no more or no less than a typical mountain trout stream, and there are plenty of small rainbow and cutthroat trout to go around. Below Stagecoach Reservoir, it becomes a tailwater fishery, and the section from the dam to Steamboat Springs is the best known, and the most heavily fished part of the river. This part of the river provides great catch and release fishing for huge rainbows and browns. This part of the river is the only section where you are likely to see out of state fisherman. From Steamboat to Hayden, the river is really at its best. This entire section holds both world class populations of trout, and northern pike. Water temperatures, and habitat are just about perfect for both species. This area isn't heavily fished, and the both trout and pike can be quite easy to catch. Between Hayden and Craig, the Yampa begins to become a warm-.water fishery. The upper half of this stretch has some pretty good trout fishing, but the closer to Craig you get, the lower the populations. Fishing in the town of Craig is possible, as there are several access areas. Here, you will find lots of big smallmouth and pike, and the trout fishing can be anywhere from quite poor to fairly good. This far downstream, the best trout fishing will be best in the spring. Below Craig, the Yampa becomes a warm-water river. The ten or fifteen miles below Craig holds many smallmouth and pike , as well as a small trout population. Soon, the river becomes very silty, and catfish replace the smallmouth and pike.

Access is easy along the Yampa River. Every section of the river listed above has ample wading access, so finding a place to fish isn't a big problem. From Stagecoach to Streamboat Springs, fly fisherman tend to do best, and midging is often the way to go. It should be pointed out that spinners and spoons can work well here. Below Steamboat, most trout are taken on spinners or worms, although fly fisherman can still do well. Rapalas work well for the smallmouth, and mouse and frog imitations in a variety of colors work well for the pike. Make sure not to trespass, as some locals can be less than forgiving, and if you do, you are truly taking a risk.

Fishing Guides for the Yampa River
Bucking Rainbow Guide Service:


Flyfish on the Yampa River in some of our favorite spots right here in downtown Steamboat. The Yampa is public from the ski area on down through the old town of Steamboat. It provides some great fishing opportunities for experts and beginners alike.

Phone: 970.879.8747 Toll Free: 1.888.810.8747 Fax: 970.879.4102

Address: P.O. Box 774832 Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Contact: John Duty Days of Operation: Seven


Steamboat FlyFisher

Steamboat Springs is very fortunate to be in such close proximity to so many miles of productive public water. In addition to seven miles of public access on the Yampa through town, there are three more excellent public sections on the Yampa within 35 miles of town. In the Pleasant Valley area South of Steamboat, anglers can enjoy the Tailwaters of Stagecoach Reservoir, a 3/4 mile public section of the Yampa River. Moving downstream, the Sarvis Creek State Wildlife Area is another great 2 mile section of public water. Just South of town, near the Haymaker Golf Course is the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area, which offers 2 miles of public access on the Yampa. If Steamboat is an area that you visit frequently, going on a guided trip to the public area is a great way to learn the water, so that you could return to these areas and know what flies work well, where to park, and what techniques work best.

Steamboat Flyfisher

35 5th Street, Unit 102

Steamboat Springs

Colorado 80487, USA

+970-879-6552; 1-866-268-9295


Straightline Sports

Straightline prides itself on it's guided fishing trips because we've been doing them for so long. All of our guides are dedicated anglers who spend year round searching for the trophy trout that inhabit the Yampa and Elk rivers. We book trips for all seasons. Just give us a call to book your next trip! 970-879-7568

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 774887

Steamboat Springs, CO 80477

Physical Address:

744 Lincoln Ave.

Steamboat Springs, CO 80477




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