Oh, the fly-fishing gods smile upon us up here in the Colorado High Country. It happened for enthusiasts in late June, and unfortunately, like every year and location, it doesn't last long. In mid to late June, the hatch started winding down in some areas and ramping up in others.

But truly, world-class fly fishing always occurs right here. And there's still time to get out there and experience great fly fishing. To learn more about getting ready for fly fishing in Breckenridge, check out our blog here.

You just happened to miss the Giant Salmon Fly Hatch, known to us entomology freaks as the Pteronarcys Californica. Think more of the Pterodactyl aquatic insect of the fly-fishing world. These truly amazing insects can grow to almost 3 inches in length, and when it is time for them to appear from the depths, the trout go absolutely crazy. But there are more fish to hook throughout the summer.

Like a flying porterhouse steak to trout...the Salmon Fly.

Like a flying porterhouse steak to trout: the Salmon Fly.
Photo by Keith McHugh

Whether on a float trip or a walking wade trip on the Colorado River, every guide and angler I have spoken with has the same silly grin on their faces when I ask them how their day was. Then they pull out their digital cameras or smart phones to show me the photos of the beautiful trout they caught that day.

Everyone agrees this year’s hatch was beyond outstanding. The amazing numbers of Salmon Flies and the hungry fish feeding on them are truly something to experience. If you can get here, I highly recommend it.

Be sure to check with one of our fly-shop guides to find out what's happening now in the fly-fishing scene. They will be glad to make sure you are armed and ready to go for the trophies. Ned Parker at Breckenridge Outfitters or Jackson Streit at Mountain Angler can get you paired up with flies and guides if necessary.

From Breckenridge, it is just over an hour drive north through some of the most beautiful country around. Within the backdrop of snowcapped peaks of the Gore Range, the cottonwood and aspen have leafed out, and the wildflowers also are starting to bloom. This scenic drive is truly part of the adventure. It is a harbinger of our spring and our picture-perfect summer days to come.

The salmon hatch is unique to only a few rivers in the West. It generally coincides with the peak of runoff. The high muddy water of melting snow can sometimes make this hatch difficult to fish. This year’s cool snowy spring has limited the runoff, and the Colorado River has run at lower flows with more clarity in the water.

Breckenridge's proximity to the Colorado River and its beauty are only two of the many qualities that makes Breck truly unique. Visitors to our town have the opportunity to experience amazing fly fishing during the day and the laid-back comfort of a distinguished, authentic mountain town afterward — a place where shorts and sandals are welcome anywhere. What could be better?

About the author:

Keith McHugh is an Orvis Endorsed fly-fishing guide based out of Breckenridge. For the past 10 years, he has provided his guests with lots of laughs, a lot of experience, lots of memories, and yes, some trout caught on a fly rod. Originally from Georgia, he has been fly fishing since about the age of 12. If you have any questions about Breckenridge area fly fishing, try him @RaddyGuide

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About The Author

Sometimes referred to as the toughest guy to get hold of because he is mostly in areas without decent cell coverage. Keith McHugh is out there, and his knowledge of the outdoors and sense of humor will prove it. No matter if it is telemark powder skiing, hunting or fishing throughout Colorado, Keith’s passion about the mountains and all things outdoors is contagious. He obsessive about turkey, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, as well as archery hunting for elk. He has fly-fished most of his life, and has held his professional Orvis Endorsed instructor and fly-fishing guide credentials for almost ten years. As a guide for Breckenridge Outfitters, he challenges himself to provide a mix of adventure, amusement and a memorable experience for his guests. It might be instructing/guiding the first timer to their first trout on a fly-rod on a walk wade trip, or guiding well traveled anglers with years of experience on a float trip. He guides on unique and legendary rivers like the Arkansas, Blue, Colorado, South Platte, Williams Fork, Eagle, and private water along Troublesome Creek. Stillwater float trips include fly-fishing Antero and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs in South Park which can produce some amazing results. The private access to Duck Lake at the summit of Guanella Pass for the rare and beautiful Colorado native Greenback Cutthroat trout rates as one of his favorites. Being a transplant from the south, “Georgia is still on his mind” even though he has lived in Colorado for fifteen years. Keith resides in Breckenridge with his hunting lab Wigeon.

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