The headwaters of Bear Creek can be found amidst the Mount Evans Wilderness in Colorado.
From the wilds below Mount Evans, it winds its way through Evergreen, Idledale, and Morrison before it empties terminates at Bear Ponds and the South Platte River near Englewood.
Kerr Gulch, Cold Spring Gulch and Saw Mill Gulch all feed into Bear Creek, keeping the water high enough for excellent fishing conditions for most of the year.
Fly fishing on Bear Creek Colorado
Perfect for weekends and day trips, Bear Creek is the ideal waterway for making sure you never fish in the same spot twice per trip. Due to the overall terrain and location, there really isn’t a way to camp and fish along the creek, so you will more than likely be making a trip out and back from your accommodations to take advantage of the fishing there.
The waters of Bear Creek are considered to be a canyon fishery that has plenty of pocket water, established fish runs, and deep holes where fish like to keep out of the current. Its best known for its brown trout.
Bear Creek is also home to more than a few rainbow trout and rainbow-cutthroat hybrids. You'll even find some brook trout higher up in the drainage.
A lot of anglers who visit Bear Creek compare it favorably to Big Thompson River, Boulder Creek, and St. Vrain Creek, though there are those who are of the adamant opinion that Bear Creek offers bigger catches than its peers.
Bear Creek Colorado Fishing Map
Bear Creek Flow and Current Conditions
Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Bear Creek. The USGS stream gauge above Evergreen, CO provide a good indication of current conditions.
The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions maybe not be ideal.
BEAR CREEK ABOVE EVERGREEN, CO
- Streamflow: 33.9 ft³/s
- Gage height: 4.53 ft
Best Places to Fish Bear Creek
Some of the best fishing to be had on Bear Creek is near Lair of the Bear in the middle and lower sections of the creek. This is also a popular spot for hikers, bikers, and campers too, so don’t be concerned if you see a lot of cars in the nearby parking lots.
Generally there aren’t too many anglers at any given time. If you choose to fish further up river from the Lair, be sure to look around for posted private property warnings, as much of the land from the upper section of the headwaters down to O’Fallon park is private property. Nobody wants a citation or complaint for trespassing lodged against them because they failed to see a posted sign.
Besides the Lair, the best fishing can be found towards the end of the lower section of Bear Creek that passes through Idledale and Morrison. This region is filled with holes and runs that are well-known for producing some excellent fishing.
Best Time to Fish the Bear Creek
Summer in the prime season for fishing on Bear Creek. The wild brown trout that inhabitant the creek are not too fussy and a well placed dry fly will usually produce fish.
Bear Creek tends to get murky after it rains so be sure to check weather for the past 24 and the next 24 hours before heading out to fish.
Best Flies for Bear Creek
Effective fly patterns for Bear Creek, include:
- Amy’s Ant (#8-14)
- Thunder Thighs Hopper (#8-14)
- Jigged CDC Pheasant Tail (#12-16)
- Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear (#12-16)
- Psycho Prince (#14-16)
- Copper John (#12-18)
- Elk Caddis (#12-18)
- Kauffman’s Stimulator (#10-16)
- Dennis’ ParaWulff (#12-16)
- Z-Wing Caddis (#14-16)
Ventures Fly Co. offers a great selection of dry flies, nymphs and streamers that will catch fish just about anywhere. Set includes 40 high quality, hand-tied flies (see list below) and waterproof fly box.
- Adams Dry Fly
- Elk Hair Caddis
- Blue Wing Olive
- Royal Wulff
- Griffith's Gnat White
- Stimulator, Organge
- Chernobyl Ant
- Rubber Leg Nymph, Brown
- BH Pheasant Tail Nymph
- BH Prince Nymph
- BH Hare's Ear Nymph
- Barr's Emerger Nymph
- Zebra Midge Nymph, Black
- Wooly Bugger, Black (Size #8x2)
- Wooly Bugger, Olive (Size #8x2)
Bear Creek Fishing Tips
Hips waders are all that is needed for these waters, especially around Lair of the Bear. A 7-1/2 ft, 3-wt rod with a faster action work best for the close confines on Bear. Many Bear Creek and Lair of the Bear veterans recommend over lining your rod to make tighter casting in small areas easier.
Below are recommendations for essential gear to make the most of your time on the water.
Quality rod, reel, line and rod tube at a reasonable price. Backed by Orvis 25-yr guarantee, a brand you can trust.
High performance nylon leader, great for fishing Dry Flies, Nymphs and Streamers.
Excellent knot strength, stretch and suppleness make this the finest nylon tippet. 3-pack of the sizes you'll need the most.
Heavy duty, waterproof, yet breathable. If you are tough on waders, these are for you. Backed by Simms Wader Warranty. If they leak, they got your back.
Most durable, yet comfortable, boot on the market. Excellent foot and ankle support. Great for rocky rivers. Lightweight and designed for all-day wear.
Sweet pack with ample storage. Unique harness system reduces neck strain. Sleek tapered face improves visibility - you can see your feet when wading!
Durable and lightweight. The carbon fiber frame floats. Hooks don't get stuck in the rubber mesh bag . Extra length makes it easier to net fish. Simply the best nets on the market.
Tough, waterproof and priced right. Hold 900+ flies in slotted foam. If you need more storage - you have too many flies!
Simple, sharp nippers at great price. Clip on retractor keeps this must have gear at your fingertips.
Strong with a fine tip. Perfect for removing split shot and hooks. Simply the best fishing pliers.
The 580 Glass polarized lenses are super clear and somehow relaxing on the eyes. Game changer.
Note: DIY Fly Fishing earns a commission (at no cost to you) on sales made using the links above. Thank you for your support!
Bear Creek Fishing Report
There are a number of area fly shops and on-line services that can provide a Bear Creek fly fishing report. A few to check out are listed below.
Bear Creek Fishing Regulations
Colorado Parks & Wildlife fishing regulations apply for Bear Creek as any other body of water in the state, and there are no special regulations to be observed other than respecting the posted private property signs in the upper section near the headwaters. Possession and limit is 4 fish with only 1 over 20 inches permitted. Your fish can be one species or any combination of species, you just can’t keep more than 4 at a time per day.
Bear Creek Trip Planning Tips
One of the best aspects of fishing at Bear Creek is that it is only a 30 minute drive from Denver making it a good day trip destinations.
Bear Creek is only a moderately popular trout fishing spot that sees most of its traffic in the late spring and early summer, so scheduling your trip even during peak season shouldn’t create any major headaches.