There’s nothing quite like the thrill of stripping in streamers. The feeling of being intimately connected to the action is truly indescribable and there might be no better place for streamer fishing than the waterways of Colorado.
As such, I have finally gotten around to sharing my favorite 10 streamer and fly lure recommendations for trout fishing in Colorado.
Plus, as a bonus, I’ll also be sharing six streamers that are perfect for colder winter months.
For spin anglers I have previously shared my favorite spinning lures for trout fishing in Colorado, while spinning is fun.
Woolly Buggers are iconic, I always carry multiple with me because they work. They are a versatile and popular streamer that work well in almost any Colorado river or lake. They comes in various sizes and colors, but the most popular ones are olive, black, and brown. Woolly Buggers imitates a variety of food sources, including leeches, baitfish, and aquatic insects. The Woolly Bugger was invented in the 1960s by angler Russell Blessing. It is typically tied with marabou and chenille.
This is a popular streamer pattern in Colorado’s larger rivers, such as the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. The natural color of this baitfish is brown, and therefore, the most effective sculpin patterns are brown or olive. Sizes vary from #2 to #8, but #4 is the most popular. It is typically tied with rabbit fur or marabou and weighted with lead or tungsten.
This is a popular baitfish pattern for Colorado’s trout. It is effective in both rivers and lakes, but it’s especially popular in tailwaters where the weighted head allows them to sink quickly. The Clouser Minnow was invented by angler Bob Clouser in the 1980s, and it imitates a variety of baitfish. The most effective colors are white, chartreuse, and olive. It is typically tied with bucktail or synthetic fibers and weighted with lead or bead-chain eyes.
This is a large streamer pattern that is popular in Colorado’s larger rivers, such as the Gunnison and Arkansas Rivers. It imitates a variety of food sources, including leeches, crayfish, and baitfish. The most effective colors are black, white, and olive. It is typically tied with a combination of rabbit fur, synthetic fibers, and flashabou.
This is a smaller streamer pattern that imitates small baitfish, sculpins, and leeches. It is effective in Colorado’s smaller streams and tailwaters. The most effective colors are olive, brown, and black. It is typically tied with marabou and synthetic fibers.
I love streamers that use rabbit fur strips, and the double bunny takes this to an extreme using a double strip. This is a large streamer pattern that imitates a variety of food sources, including crayfish, baitfish, and leeches. It is popular in Colorado’s larger rivers, such as the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers. The most effective colors are black, brown, and olive. It is typically tied with rabbit fur and synthetic fibers.
This is a large streamer pattern that imitates a variety of food sources, including sculpins, baitfish, and crayfish. It is popular in Colorado’s larger rivers, such as the Gunnison and Arkansas Rivers. The most effective colors are black, brown, and olive. It is typically tied with rabbit fur, synthetic fibers, and flashabou.
This is a popular baitfish pattern in Colorado’s tailwaters, such as the South Platte River. It is effective in both rivers and lakes. The most effective colors are olive, black, and white. It is typically tied with a combination of bucktail, flashabou, and synthetic fibers.
This is a popular leech pattern in Colorado’s rivers and lakes. It imitates a variety of leeches, but the most effective colors are black and olive. It is typically tied with marabou and chenille. I find they fish best in still water, or slower moving streams and rivers.
Barr’s Meat Whistle
This is a popular crayfish pattern in Colorado’s rivers and lakes. It imitates the movement of a fleeing crayfish. The most effective colors are brown, olive, and black.
Streamer selection for winter fishing in Colorado
Winter fishing in Colorado can be challenging. Cold water temperatures mean the trout are less active and more selective about their food. That’s why it’s important to choose the right streamer patterns for winter fishing.
In my experience, the following streamers are some of the best for winter fishing in Colorado:
- Sparkle Minnow: This fly pattern imitates a small baitfish and can be especially effective in clear, cold water. The flash from the body of the fly can grab the attention of lethargic fish and trigger a strike.
- Bunny Leech: This fly pattern has a lot of movement in the water and can be fished slowly or quickly depending on the mood of the fish. The bunny strip material in the tail of the fly can give it a lifelike action that is hard for trout to resist.
- Egg-Sucking Leech: This pattern combines both a leech and an egg pattern, making it a versatile option for winter fishing. The bright color of the egg can attract fish in low-light conditions, while the leech portion of the fly can entice strikes from more selective fish.
- Zonker: This fly pattern features a strip of rabbit fur that mimics the movement of a swimming baitfish. It can be fished on a slow retrieve or allowed to drift with the current.
- Muddy Buddy: This fly is tied with natural materials, including rabbit fur and marabou feathers, and can be effective when the water is stained or off-color. The fly has a lot of movement in the water, which can be enticing to trout in low-light conditions.
When fishing with streamers in the winter, I recommend fishing them slowly and deliberately. Trout are less likely to chase after fast-moving prey during this time of year, so a slower retrieve can be more effective. I also suggest targeting slower-moving water, such as pools and eddies, where fish are more likely to be holding.
By selecting the right streamer patterns and fishing them effectively, anglers can have a successful winter fishing season in Colorado’s rivers and lakes.
Best size streamers to fish in Colorado
Based on many seasons of experience I’ve found that the best streamer size can vary depending on the river and conditions. In general, I’ve had success with streamers ranging from #4 to #10, but there are times when I’ll go larger or smaller.
On some of Colorado’s larger rivers, such as the Colorado, Arkansas, and Roaring Fork, I’ve had success with larger articulated streamers like the Sex Dungeon in sizes #2 or #4. These big flies can imitate large prey like sculpins or baitfish, and can attract bigger, more aggressive fish.
However, on smaller streams like the Cache la Poudre or South Boulder Creek, I tend to use smaller streamers in sizes #6 to #10. These smaller flies can still be effective at imitating smaller prey like minnows or crayfish, and can be easier for fish to take in.
Ultimately, the best streamer size for trout in Colorado depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the river, the time of year, and the current conditions. It’s important to experiment with different sizes and styles of streamers to find what works best for each situation.