Cache la Poudre River Fishing Guide & Report

Cache la Poudre River from mountain view

Cache la Poudre River is a French derivative meaning “hide the powder.” The river got its name during an incident that occurred in the 1820s. 

The story began when a group of French trappers was caught in bad weather while going to the Green. To escape the ravaging snowstorm, they hid their gunpowder or Cache la Poudre along the river bank. 

The cache of powder was intact upon their return to the river in the spring. When the locals heard the story, the river became known as Cache la Poudre. 

Cache la Poudre River has a long stretch of water throughout Colorado. The US National Park Service named this river a Wild & Scenic River. It also boasts two separate sections that the Colorado Division of Wildlife recognized as Wild Trout Waters. 

The headwaters emerged from the Front Range in Larimer County, on the northern portion of the famous Rocky Mountain National Park. The water from the Poudre Lake flows eastward in the Rocky Mountain through the Roosevelt National Forest. 

The water flows from the foothills in the northern part of Fort Collins. The water flows eastward, traversing the plains, passes the north part of Greeley, and finally flows towards the South Platte River.

During summer, anglers and tourists flock to the river to spend activities like fly fishing, rafting, kayaking, white water rafting, and tubing. The river is home to brook trout, brown, cutthroat trout, and rainbow trout. 

Rumors spread like wildfire regarding the presence of Kokanee in the river, but it was unverified until these days. 

This article will give you all the details you need to succeed in your fly fishing activity on the Cache la Poudre River.

Fish Species in Cache la Poudre

Before heading to the famous Cache la Poudre River, familiarize yourself with the fish species to hunt. Trouts inhabit the river. You can find different varieties and sizes of trouts occupying the area. These are arctic grayling, cut-bow trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. 

When looking for trout, anglers throw their rod near the Rocky Mountain National Park. The best spot to find the trouts is near the river’s headwaters. Smaller fish could reach up to 12 inches. Big fish could reach up to more than 20 inches.  

What are the Special Regulations in Cache la Poudre River?

First-timers in the Cache la Poudre River must know the special regulations when fishing in the area. The Colorado Division of Wildlife imposes restrictions on lures and flies only and strict implementation of catch and release fishing rules. 

The special regulation covers the waters in The Indian Meadows Section and the Hatchery Section. It also covers a slight tail water stretch on the North Fork that flows from the Seaman Reservoir towards Cache la Poudre main fork.

Where to Fish in the Cache la Poudre River?

Cache la Poudre River is accessible by hiking the different routes. Take the trail off the Trail Ridge Road, going to the north along the bank through the national park towards the Comanche Peak Wilderness. The headwaters are an excellent spot to fish. 

Cache la Poudre River is accessible by hiking the different routes. Take the Trail Ridge Road to the north along the bank through the national park towards the Comanche Peak Wilderness. The headwaters are an excellent spot to fish. 

The central highway north of the national park is Highway 14. This route connects North Park and Fort Collins. Follow the trail from Highway 15 to Highway 287, which is 48 miles journey. 

You will not get lost during your travel because there are many spots along the highway. 

Although there is private land along your route, most are public lands. Picnic areas, trailheads, turn-outs, and campgrounds are mainly under the US Forest Land. You can also access the Bills State Wildlife Area, Poudre State Wildlife Area, and the state fish hatchery.

When to Catch Fish in Cache la Poudre?

Fishing in Fort Collins is not ideal when there is a low water level. Anglers troop to the Cache la Poudre any time of the year. Ice covers some parts of the river, so trouts seek refuge in some river areas. But still, you can find bikers and anglers frequent in the canyon area and the Poudre Trail.

Early summer and late spring are the best time to fish in the river as there are plenty of trouts and other fish species. Fishing in the winter is excellent for small nymphs, while summer is great for terrestrial and dry fly fishing. Load your bag with a water bottle and extra clothes to go there during summer. 

Types of Trout:

Trouts come in different types: cutthroat, rainbow, golden, brown, lake trout, brook, Dolly Varden, bull, tiger trout, splake, palomino, Gila trout apache, and marble. 

Cache la Poudre Hatches:

  • Red Quill: June to August
  • Midges or Chironomids: All year long
  • Green Drake: June to August
  • Mayfly Nymphs: June-August
  • Tricos: August to October
  • Caddis: May to September
  • Drakes: July to August
  • Stoneflies: April to July
  • Pale Morning Dun: July to August
  • Blue Winged Olives: April to October

Tips for Fly Fishing in Cache la Poudre 

La Cache Poudre has two areas for fly fishing, the Trophy Trout and Wild Trout Waters. The special regulations impose the use of lures or fish flying only in these areas.  

Try walk-wading along the river bank to experience the best fly fishing vacation. 

You can also take a boat to float fish in the farthest river sections. Explore the river to find different water types to catch trout. 

Numerous brown and rainbow trouts are plying in the river while casting nymphs and dry flies. Use a 9×4 fly rod with a floating line to catch small nymphs and dry flies. The standard tippet size for a 9-foot leader is 3″x 5″ inches.   

How to Get There?

Plan your itinerary if you travel to Cache la Poudre. If you take a plane from your place of origin, the travel time from the Denver airport to Fort Collins is one hour. Locals travel to Fort Collins by bus. 

The first bus trip is at 5 in the morning, and you will arrive in the area in less than an hour. Cabins, inns, vacation rentals, and campgrounds for rent are available around Fort Collins. Book your accommodation online before driving to the area.  

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