Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On Clear Creek In
At one time Clear Creek was adversely affected by
mining but for the last few years the stream has
remained in good shape and it is rapidly becoming a
favorite of many anglers. Fly fishing Clear Creek
can be very enjoyable. It has a good population of
brown and rainbow trout and in its higher
elevations, cutthroat trout.
Clear Creek begins high in the rockies near the
Continental Divide and Loveland Pass. It flows near
Interstate Highway #70 through old mining towns of
Silver Plume, Georgetown and Idaho Springs. From
the mountains it flows the town of Golden near
Upstream of Georgetown the Clear Creek is a small
stream that flows through BLM land and the
Aropaho/Rosevelt National Forest. The trout run on
the small side and consist of both rainbows and
cutthroats. It can be accessed on the National
Forest Land and off state highway #40 between
Empire and Berthoud Pass.
It picks up water from South Clear Creek before
flowing into Georgetown Lake. The tailwater section
below the lake flows through Clear Creek Canyon
for about twenty miles. Fly fishing Clear Creek
Canyon is usually very rewarding.
Access to the creek is good and easy in most
places although it flows through both private and
public property. When it is near I-70, it can be
accessed from old highway #6 called the frontage
road. From Idaho Springs it flows along state
highway #6. The intersection at I-70 at Clear Creek
Canyon provides access.
Cleaning up the stream has also resulted in several
aquatic insects becoming prolific. There are plenty
of Blue-winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns and
even some Green Drakes. There are plenty of
Spotted Sedges, Little Black Caddis and October
Caddis. Little Yellow and Little Brown stoneflies are
plentiful. Terrestrial insects are plentiful during the
Clear Creek Colorado
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
Except for the Spring runoff, fly fishing
Clear Creek is mostly good year-round.
March, April and the first of May before the
Spring runoff is a good time to fish Clear
Summer is probably the best time to fish
Clear Creek Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is
based on our stream samples of larvae
and nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Blue River and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
Midges are present in Clear Creek and
hatch throughout the year. Imitations of
their larvae, pupae and of the adult work
great and are very important when nothing
else is hatching.
The first mayfly hatches are the
Blue-winged Olives. They start hatching in
April and continue through the month of
May. These are bi-brooded insects that
hatch again in September and October.
Another short and usually not intense
hatch is the Green Drake. These mayflies
start hatching around the first of July and
last on as late as the end of August. Red
Quills also hatch during the same time
period. They can be more important than
the Green Drakes.
Golden Stoneflies hatch starting about the
middle of June and last through August,
depending on the area of the river you are
fishing. Yellow Sallies, or Little Yellow
Stonefies, start hatching in late May and
can last well into August.
Little Black Caddis from the
Branchycentrus genus called Grannom
caddisflies start hatching about the first of
May. It usually last about a month. This
hatch starts in the lower elevations and
During June, July, August and September,
you will find different species of Spotted
Sedges, or net spinning caddisflies. There
are also a few of their Little Sister Caddis.
The Little Sisters hatch during the month
Theres also species of Green Caddisflies,
or Green Sedges, as they are often called.
The larvae of these caddisflies are called
Green Rock Worms. Imitations of them are
very effective from about June through
August. There are few other species of
caddisflies present in the river, but none of
them hatch in large quantities.
Terrestrial insects become important
during the months of June, July, August
and September. Imitations of grasshopper,
ants and beetles are all effective during
these months during this time.
Theres a lots of Sculpin in the river and a
few different species of minnows and
baitfish. The streamers are very effective
when the brown trout start to spawn in the
fall. They also work anytime the river is a
little off color from rain as well as early in
the morning and late in the afternoons.
Fall is a good time and especially for the
Warm, nice winter days are usually good
provided you can access the stream.
Fly Fishing Guide to Clear Creek:
Clear Creek is one of the better trout streams in
Colorado with lots of brown trout. Beginning up
above Georgetown, it flows through Idaho springs
and then through clear creek canyon west of
Golden Colorado before it finally enters town and
flows into Ralston Creek and the South Platte River.
Clear Creek is a typical small freestone creek and
has a large population of trout that will take
streamers, nymphs and sometimes dry flies. The
river is very close to I-70 and gets a lot of pressure
at the prime fishing times of the season.
Clear Creek is actually more of a river than a
creek. It is easily accessible and runs for
many miles. Residents drive by it by the
thousands each day. Much of the time your
fishing it you will be listening to the traffic. The
stream flows along I-70, through the old
Colorado mining towns of Georgetown, Silver
Plume, and Idaho Springs. I-70 leaves it just
east of Idaho Springs. From there it follows
highway #6. It leaves the mountains and flows
through the valley between the North and
South Table Mountains. Coors Beer Company
gets their water from Clear Creek.
Talk to ten different anglers and you will
get ten different opinions as to where the
best water is to fish. What is far more
important, is matching the natural aquatic
insects and other trout foods in the
stream. Trout will focus on eating the most
plentiful and most available food at the
time. This doesn't just mean matching the
hatch. It is far more important to match
what is about to hatch. The trout can see
the nymphs and larvae better than the
adult flies on the surface of the water.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on each
of these other fine trout
streams. They include
descriptions of the
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing guide,
a fly fishing report,
flies, fly fishing gear
and equipment, USGS
stream data, local
weather and much,
Headlines: The lower section of
the creek is a little warmer than the
upper sections. We recommend
fishing in the early afternoons for
the best result. There are some
Blue-winged olives and lots of
midges hatching on the mostly
cloudy days. The Sculpin streamers
should continue to catch the larger
trout. Check the Clear Creek fishing
report linked above to get the latest
strategies and fly suggestions.
Map of Clear Creek
10/16/15 Great conditions continue. There is some rain coming and stream levels will change,
so be sure to keep a check on them. Two good reports of good catches came in last week.
October Caddis are the main thing to imitate at this time. Little Yellow stoneflies, Spotted and
Green Sedge Caddis, Blue-winged olives, Dark Red Quills and a few more insects are hatching.
10/30/15 The October Caddis remains to the be center of attention for the trout. They arae
taking the egg laying females from the surface in the afternnons. Fish the pupa imitation during
the hatch. Blue-winged Olives in two sizes have begin to hatch again, especially on cloudy,
overcast days. Be sure to what the stream levels, there is more rain the first of next week.
10/30/15 Conditions are great right now. They couldn't be any better for this time of the year,
yet few anglers are fishing. Blue-winged olives are hatching good and October Caddis
continuing to hatch in some sections of the creek. Brown trout are getting ready to spawn and
aggressively taking streamers like our Brown Sculpin fly.
11/06/15 Clear Creek is getting colder and it's about time. Stream levels are fine and should
remain that way for the next week. Hatches are reduced to Blue-winged olives and midges. Little
change will occur in this respect for the next few weeks. Don't forget about the Brown Sculpin
streamer. it is working great on the spawning and post-spawn brown trout.
11/13/15 Stream conditions are very good right now and there isn't any reason they should
change. Melting snow can dingy the water and change the level to some degree but odds are
not much in favor of any big change. Hatches are but do exist, mostly Blue-winged olives and
Midges. Fish the midges in tandem with the larva on the bottom and pupa up the tippet a few
11/20/15 Clear Creek is in good shape. There has been plenty of snow lately, and it has had
little effect on the water except to make it a little colder and off color at times. It is clear now as
the name implies. The water is forty degrees at best by should stay in the low forties the next
week. Midges and little BWO are the insects to imitate.
12/04/15 The creek is in very good shape in all sections. We recommend fishing the lower
sections which are a little warmer. We will be adding some winter stoneflies later on but for right
now, Midges are the only insects you need to be concerned imitating. We usually recommend
fishing the larva imitations and pupa imitation in tandem with the pupa fly about a foot above the
12/11/15 The creek is getting cold in the upper sections. We would not recommend fishing the
upper part. You will find the middle section marginal but you can catch trout there. The
temperature of the water in the middle section is about 40 degrees. The lowest sections ot Clear
Creek is your best choice at this time. Notice we have added Winter Stoneflies to the list.
12/17/15 The water is cold, averaging in the mid forties,. Fish the slow moving to still water
pockets, deep holes in the stream and pools out of the current. Trout won't hold in fast water at
that temperature or they will expenk more energy that they can replace with food. Midges are
the main thing you should be using.
12/25/15 Conditions on Clear Creek aren't bad, at least nothing to compare with many other
streams in the state. There is a winter storm warning through tomorrow, as I'm sure most of you
are aware of. It will be clear and cold for the following few days. Fish the lowest end of the creek
that hold trout using midges and Winter stonefly nymphs. You should be able to catch trout in
the slack water. Avoid the fast current. Check out the above linked
01/01/16 New year is starting out good on Clear Creek. The stream levels are in good shape
and the water clear but not so cold. The weather is warming up some from what it was this past
week. You should be able to catch some trout provided you will use midge larva and pupa
imitations and/or little Winter stonefly nymphs.
01/08/16 Snow is still falling but ending tomorrow. The skies will be clear and it will be cold. It will
get a little warmer by the first of next week but the water temperature is still likely to be no higher
than 37, even at the lowest elevation of the creek. I'm not saying you can't catch trout but I am
saying it will be tough. It does beat sitting on the couch getting fat.
01/15/16 The weather is actually a little warmer than last week but there is snow in the forecast
every day for the next week. Conditions are actually pretty good for this time of the year. Fish
the lower sections of the creek for the warmest water. Midges and winter stonefly nymphs are
the choice flies. The White Bellyi sculpin streamer works good with the cloud cover.
01/22/16 The creek is in about as good of a condition as it could be in for the middle of January.
It isnt't frozen over but there is some ice along the banks. Fish the lowert section of the creek for
the warmest water. Midges and little Winter Stoneflies are the only things that may hatch. The
water is about 37 degrees in the warmest sections.
01/29/16 The weather was a little warmer this last week but it only raised the water temperature
about one degree because of melting snow. There is snow in the forecast this week every day.
Fish the lowest end of the creek for the warmest water but it is only 35 to 37 degrees. That
makes it tough to catch trout.
02/07/16 Clear creek is going to have clear weather for a change. There is no snow or rain in
the forecast for the next few days, just cold weather. As mentioned last week, the water is 37
degrees at the highest but that is warm enough to catch trout if you fish the slow water in holes
in the bottom of runs and pools out of the direct current.
02/12/16 The creek is in good shape level wise but the middle and upper sections will still be too
cold to fish. The warm weather will be melting a lot of snow but that will keep the level up and
stain the water. Fish the lowest section using midge larva and pupa and winter stonefly nymphs.
The holes in the bottom of the runs and pools that are out of the main current is usually where
the trout hole.
02/19/16 Clear Creek is still in good shape level wise. Some of the water is stained from melting
snow. The unseasonably warm weather is forecast to continue for this next week. We still think
the lowest section is the best option at this time. You may need to stick with streamers but
midges and winter stoneflies will continue to hatch.
02/26/16The creek is gradually getting a little warmer, but still cold. The water is about 37 to 38
degrees in most areas. The weather looks good for the coming week with only a chance of snow
for a couple of days. Winter stonefly nymphs and cream and red midges, are the insects you
need to be imitating.
03/04/16 The stream flows are in good shape even though the warmer weather has melted a lot
of snow in the watershed and created problems at times. We didn't get any reports from anyone
fishing this past week. The water temperature is still low, and midges, winter stoneflies and
Sculpin are still foods you should be imitating.
03/11/16 The weather is so nice, it is worth getting out on the water just to enjoy the nice warm
weather. You probably can catch some trout fishing the lower section of the creek. The water is
still only about 40 degrees but that's warm enough to catch them on BWO nymphs and midges.
Where the water is stained from melting snow, try the White Belly Sculpin streamer fly.
03/18/16 The creek is in pretty good shape from top to bottom. Some sections have stained
water due to melting snow but is it usually in the upper column of water. Fish the holes in the
bottom where we think the water is clear and the trout are holding. The melting snow is keeping
the water cold, so Midges and little BWO nymphs are still the best fly options.
03/25/16 The creek is clear and cold, with midges hatching good and on cloudy day, a possible
little Blue-winged olive hatch about a size 20. It will be this way until the March Browns and little
Black Caddis begin to hatch in mid April. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem, and the adult midge
only when you see them on the surface.
04/01/16 You have good wading conditions throughout Clear Creek. The water is just below
normal and midges and little Blue-winged olives are hatching good. There are some sections
where you can sight cast to trout. The water is gradually getting a little warmer and it won't be
long before March Browns and Little Black Caddis are hatching.
04/08/15 The creek is flowing just a little above normal levels but clear in most sections. The
forecast is showing rain or snow for the next week, so that is likely to continue. March Browns
have begin to hatch in the lower elevations. Midges and little BWO's will continue to hatch.
Streamers, like our Brown Sculpin, will be a good choice this coming week.
04/15/16 Just when things got to the point the catching would be fast and easy, the normal April
big time snow appeared on the weather map. It is going to snow or rain for the next five days
and the creek is already high and stained. There isn't going to be much opportunity for the next
week. You would do better selecting a tailwater.
04/22/16 The creek is going to c continue to be on the cold side of good, but the water should
start warming up soon, and maybe hatches of Little Black Caddis and March Browns will start in
the lower elevations. Melting snow is helping keep the water cold. The weather is going to warm
up just a little but more light snow is expected.
04/29/16 The forecast continues to show cold weather and snow for the next few days. Our
customers didn't report much this past week and there is a good reason. The creek remained
high and stained all with no wading opportunity. It doesn't look much better for this coming week.
05/06/16 The creek is flowing high and badly stained. There is little to no opportunity for fly
fishing and it is likely to be that way all of the next week. There is rain or snow forecast every
day for the next week. You can fish from the bank in a few places. Streamers may get you some
trout but we think there are better destinations at this time..
05/13/16 There isn't much opportunity other than fishing along the banks with streamers. It is
likely to be high and off color for the next week. There is a chance of rain or snow every day for
the coming week. You will just have to watch the stream levels.
05/20/16 Clear Creek isn't so clear right now. It is in the full runoff mode and high and dirty. You
can fish from the bank with streamers but you will have to have a lot of luck to hook many trout.
It is going to be high for at least a few more days. We will be reporting again next week.
05/27/16 Runoff continues on the stream. It is high and muddy and not worth fishing. Warm
weather speeds up a runoff and cold weather slows it down. It will be a few more days before it
returns to normal levels and clears up. Yu will just have to keep checking back with our reports.
06/03/16 Clear Creek isn't clear. It is muddy and ranging, carrying everything anywhere near the
banks along with it. It is blown out and will not be worth fishing for the coming week for certain.
Let's just hope the runoff ends as early as it started. Send us an email and let us help you plan
that next fly fishing trip.
06/10/16 Runoff has the stream in a raging mess. There won't be any fly fishing opportunity on
Clear Creek this coming week and most likely, for the next few days. When it does clear and
drop, it will provide some of the best fly fishing on the Front Range. Keep in touch with us and
we will keep you updated as to the status of the runoff.
06/17/16 The stream levels have dropped a lot but it is still very high and dingy. You could fish it
from the bank but it would be less than productive. Safe wading is out until it drops a lot more.
There are a lot of Salmonflies and some Golden stoneflies hatching. This always happens
before the runoff is over and isn't all that productive for anglers to catch trout from it.
06/24/16 The stream levels are about the same as last week which is still high. The runoff isn't
finished doing its thing but getting near it. The water is much clearer than last week. There are
Golden stoneflies hatching in the lower river but you will have to cast at them from the banks.
The stream is still too high to safely wade.
07/01/16 The stream is still high and shouldn't be waded. You can fish some areas from the
bank and catch trout. There are a lot of insects hatching, depending on the elevation and
section. There is a flood warning today, so the creek is likely to get even higher. Hopefully, it will
fall back out soon. When it does, it will be a very good destination.
07/08/15 The stream level is down a lot but still too high in most sections to wade safely. There
are some places you can wade. The creek is narrow enough many places you shouldn't have to
wade it. The hatches vary, depending on the elevations. There is some more rain coming this
next week, and the levels are likely to remain on the high side.
07/15/16 The creek is in the best shape that it has been all year. The stream levels are down
and wading easy just about anywhere. There are still many aquatic insects hatching, including
lots of Little Yellow stoneflies and a few Goldens. Caddis hatches are taking place from three
different species. There are lots of Pale Morning duns hatching and our customers are having a
07/22/16 Excellent conditions exist in all parts of Clear Creek. Anglers are catching good
numbers of trout and many on the surface on dry flies. There are still a lot of insects hatching.
Pale Morning duns, little yellow stoneflies, Spotted Sedges, green sedges and a few Golden
stoneflies are hatching. Fish as late in the day as you can for the best results. Late afternoon
egg laying caddis and stoneflies ate bringing a lot of trout to the net.
07/29/16 The creek is running a little low right now. You should stay as low and hidden as
possible. We don't think low water will be a problem very long as there are good chances of rain
the next few days. Fish as early and as late as you can. The best opportunity comes the last two
or three hours of the day.
08/04/16 The creek is in good shape in all sections. There are some insects hatching in all
sections but they vary some depending on the section or elevation. There are lots of little Yellow
stoneflies, still some Pale Morning duns and a few caddis. Terrestrials are working but I don't
recommend using them if anything is hatching.
08/12/16 The big changes in elevations of the creek gives anglers a wide variety of choices.
The uppermost sections are cooler and in general have more hatches. You can catch trout from
the top to the bottom though. There are still plenty of little Yellow stoneflies in the higher
elevations. The middle and lower elevations have more spotted Sedge Caddis than anything.
Conditions are good everywhere.
08/19/16 The creek continues ot be in very good shape with anglers catching trout in the
headwaters downstream to the lowest section of the river that holds trout. There are still a lot of
hatches taking place but keep in mind that they vary greatly from the headwaters to the lower
sections of the river. Stream levels are good and the weather forecast looks good for the next
08/26/16 The creek is in good shape from the headwaters to the lowest section. There are
hatches occurring in all the section but they vary some, depending on the elevation. Terrestrials
are working good as well. Hopper dropper rigs are popular and work more or less as a strike
indicator. Stream levels are in good shape and wading possible in most sections.
09/02/16 The weather continues to be cool. The best section producing the most trout are still in
the upper elevations. There are more hatches taking place there. You can still catch plenty in
the lower elevations but hatches are mostly Tricos and caddisflies. The stream levels are at a
normal level for the first of September. Early morning streamer fishing using our Scupin patterns
is working good.
09/09/16 The creek is in great shape. Its a little low but easy to wade and fish although you have
to make extra effort to stay hidden. Terrestrial insects such as beetles, ants and grass hoppers
are working as well as imitations of several aquatic insects. Caddisflies are in all sections. Blue-
winged olives are starting to hatch good. Now is an excellent time to fish the creek.
09/16/16 Our customers are sending in some good reports from this lower section of the creek
for a change. The cooler weather has the fish cooperating in all sections. Mahogany duns have
begin to hatch along with the two species of caddis. There are still some little Yellow stoneflies.
Tricos are also on the lower end of the stream. Terrestrials are still working as well.
09/23/16 the cool weather is really a plus. Right now it is raining and will probably continue to
rain through Saturday. The levels may rise some but it can be helpful up to a point. The cloud
cover will be a big plus. You should be able to catch trout all day in all sections of the stream.
The larger Blue-winged olives have started to hatch, or the baetis species.
09/30/16 The stream levels are a little low but making it easy to wade in all sections. There are
plenty BWO hatches taking place along with a few Mahogany duns and October caddis. You
should be able to catch trout in any section of the river. We think the middle section probably
offers the best opportunity at this time.
10/07/16 The creek is in good shape from the uppermost section to the lowest section. There
are still some good hatches occurring and a good many trout being caught by our customers.
There is a good weather forecast this coming week that will provide some cloud cover and rain
and that will also help. The Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olive and October caddis hatches
have been good.
10/14/16 The stream levels are a little low but that makes it easy to wade about anywhere.
There are some very good Blue-winged Olive hatches taking place along with a few Mahogany
duns and October Caddis. The low, clear water makes it easy to spook the trout. Dress to match
the background and use longer, lighter leaders and tippet. Stay as low as possible. Brown trout
are in the pre-spawn stage.
10/21/16 The stream levels are still a little low but that makes it easy to wade and get around in
the stream. Just make sure you don't spook the trout in the lower, clear water. Western Ginger
Quills and Blue-winged olives are hatching good. Our customers are catching trout in the lower
and middle sections but the upper sections should also produce well.
11/04/16 The creek is often overlooked for larger trout streams at this time of the season, but
that can be a big mistake. Few anglers fish the middle and lower sections just because it looks
to easy and too close to Denver to be any good. Blue-winged olives are hatching. Midges are
starting to hatch. The stream levels are in goo shape. What more could you ask for?
11/11/16 Another week of excellent fly fishing opportunity has passed with few anglers taking
advantage of it. There are still hatching insects and trout being taken from the surface. Western
Ginger Quills, and Blue-winged olives are hatching. Cream midges are everywhere. The water
levels is low,and it is easy to spook trout. Stay low and hidden from the trout. Use longer, lighter
leaders and tippet.
11/18/16 The stream levels are in good shape, flowing just a little below normal. The water
temperature is coming down due to the colder nights. Midges and Blue-winged olives will
represent the majority of the hatches. The Brown and White Belly sculpin streamers are still
catching some large trout. You may want to have a little extra coffee in the mornings and give
the water a little warm up time.
11/25/16 Stream levels are low but that's not a bad thing since it makes it easy to wade about
anywhere. Fish the lower and middle sections of the river. The headwaters are getting rather
cold. Midges, Creams and Reds or blood midges, are hatching. Blue-winged olives are hatching.
The Brown sculpin is still catching the larger trout.