Clear Creek Colorado

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Clear Creek in Colorado

Most anglers visiting Colorado have probably driven past Clear Creek while making their way through the Front Range foothills.

It is more river than creek in most people’s estimation, and flows 66 miles from its headwaters near the Continental Divide to the South Platte River

There is a string of old mining towns along the way as Clear Creek passes through Georgetown, Silver Plume and Idaho Springs, and it is here that you can find some exceptional fly fishing conditions without having to search high and low for a parking spot.

Clear Creek from Georgetown to Golden, Colorado offers excellent fishing for rainbow, brown and Snake River Cutthroat trout..

One interesting fact about Clear Creek is found where it changes course: just outside Idaho Springs, the creek turns away from I-70 at Floyd Hill and instead picks up Highway 6 all the way through Golden, CO. Passing between North and South Table Mountain at Golden, the creek supplies fresh water for the local Coors Brewery features prominently on its label.

Traffic noise can be something of an issue while fishing Clear Creek, but the numerous pools and pockets throughout the course of the freestone fishery provide excellent hiding places for the big hungry browns that lurk in its crystal clear waters.

Sections of Clear Creek between the headwaters and Idaho springs are also home to some larger rainbow and cutthroat as well, but brown trout are definitely the main attraction for anglers trying their luck.

For brook trout fans, you can actually take the North Fork of Clear Creek from Highway 40 between the town of Empire and the Berthoud Pass. National forest land around Empire has lots of public access from the highway, and there are even some picnic grounds where you can park up to eat lunch before heading to the Clear Creek North Fork to catch a few decent sized brooks.

Clear Creek River Fishing Access Map

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Clear Creek (CO): 39.746136, -105.438278
CLEAR CREEK AT GOLDEN, CO: 39.753043, -105.235267
Clear Creek, West Fork: 39.773945, -105.767355
Clear Creek, South Fork: 38.960403, -106.460926
Clear Creek, West Fork: 39.776500, -105.864107
Clear Creek (Eisenhower Tunnel): 39.742212, -105.513023
Clear Creek (Grant Terry Park): 39.753795, -105.240044
Clear Creek (First Tunnel): 39.747484, -105.251006
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.741865, -105.286194
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.743305, -105.271372
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.740840, -105.269910
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.739425, -105.269371
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.738726, -105.259940
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.742269, -105.253691
Clear Creek (Brandy Duvall): 39.738833, -105.266136
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.743569, -105.296992
Clear Creek (Guy Gulch): 39.743744, -105.298781
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.739568, -105.311633
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.737033, -105.315081
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.741368, -105.345422
Clear Creek (Mayhem Gulch): 39.737030, -105.371010
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.735706, -105.384845
Clear Creek (Canyon Road): 39.738557, -105.389091
Clear Creek (Canyon Rd): 39.742308, -105.390617
Clear Creek (Vanover Park): 39.758518, -105.220188
Clear Creek (Golden Visitors Center): 39.757127, -105.223414
Clear Creek (White Water Park): 39.755903, -105.226101
Clear Creek (Lions Park): 39.754428, -105.228588
Clear Creek (Greenway Trail): 39.743048, -105.406969
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.741318, -105.409505
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.740425, -105.411699
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.738332, -105.415463
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.736545, -105.418406
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.737856, -105.421809
Clear Creek (Johnson Gulch): 39.739093, -105.427004
Clear Creek (Rt 6): 39.745695, -105.434903
Clear Creek (I-70): 39.743016, -105.453086
Clear Creek (Scott Lancaster Memorial Trail): 39.745383, -105.459180
Clear Creek (Doghead Trail): 39.742851, -105.474345
Clear Creek (Starbucks): 39.742323, -105.497503
Clear Creek (CRC Park): 39.742772, -105.510281
Clear Creek (Big Five Trail): 39.744028, -105.535304
Clear Creek (Stanley Road): 39.759884, -105.573721
Clear Creek (Philadelphia Mill): 39.761596, -105.576253
Clear Creek (Stanley Road): 39.763608, -105.587888
Clear Creek (Whitewater Park): 39.763006, -105.637104
Clear Creek (Alvarado Rd): 39.737955, -105.684561
Clear Creek (Alvarado Rd): 39.742645, -105.679502
Clear Creek (Alvarado Rd): 39.751364, -105.662148
Clear Creek (Alvarado Rd): 39.761044, -105.646776
Clear Creek Canyon (Big Easy): 39.734551, -105.363125
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Best Places to Fish Clear Creek

Thanks to its proximity to Interstate 70 and Highway 6, there are few places you can’t get to the water along Clear Creek.

Brown trout are easily found anywhere along the I-70 run of Clear Creek if you look for pools and pocket water, so it’s really just a matter of picking a spot that looks good to you and wading out.

Make sure you don’t park on the I-70 though, as it is a great way to get a ticket. Use side roads and turn offs to park safely and avoid obstructing the shoulder or traffic before making your way down to the creek.

Anglers looking for rainbow and cutthroat trout need to head up to the Continental Divide by the Clear Creek headwaters and work their way downriver to Idaho Springs. Most anglers have the best luck landing these two trout species along I-70 here, though some have been found off Highway 6 past Floyd Hill as well.

If you came for some brook trout, definitely take the North Fork of Clear Creek and park at one of the many pull offs or picnic grounds in the area. Brook trout aren’t common on the rest of the stream, but there is a fairly large population of them to be found on the North Fork.

Clear Creek Flow and Current Conditions

CLEAR CREEK AT GOLDEN, CO

  • Flow: 81.2 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 3.91 ft
.
USGS

Best Time to Fish Clear Creek

Water conditions in peak season between June and the end of October are exceptional, and there are few places along Clear Creek that don’t present a pristine view of the bottom of the stream itself year round.

The water clarity is largely due to conservation efforts and cleanup from the prior century or so of mining activity in the area, so make sure you do your part to help keep Clear Creek at its crystalline best when you visit. 

You can easily do some winter fishing here as well if you don’t mind the cold, but runoff season in the early spring up until late May makes fishing a real chore. Most anglers would do well to book a trip in advance for the summer or early fall.

Clear Creek Fishing Tips

A 9-foot rod with a 4-weight should be more than sufficient for this area, and a good pair of waders for midstream action. The big hatches of the year are mostly baetis flies, but midges, caddis, and stoneflies can be found in various areas along Clear Creek as well. Check local conditions with a fly shop familiar with Clear Creek for best advice about what flies to try.

The big hatches of the year are mostly baetis flies, but midges, caddis, and stoneflies can be found in various areas along Clear Creek as well. Check local conditions with a fly shop familiar with Clear Creek for best advice about what flies to try.

Clear Creek Fly Box

Recommended fly patterns for Clear Creek:

Bead Head Brassie™ (black #26)
I Can See It Midge Fly (black #22)
Elk Wing Caddis (dark #14)
Griffith's Gnat (dark #18-20)
Sparkle Dun (dark brown #18)
Prince NymphSlim (#18)
ANT (dark #12)
October Caddis (orange #14)
Micro streamer (black#10)
Parachute Adams (gray #18)

Clear Creek Fly Fishing Reports

There are a number of area fly shops and on-line retailers that publish Clear Creek fishing reports. A few to check out are listed below.

Fishing Regulations

Colorado Division of Wildlife standard fishing regulations apply on Clear Creek; four fish limit of any species of trout, and possession limit of four fish per angler per day.

Trip Planning Tips

Since Clear Creek runs fairly close to Denver, there lots of quaint places you can stay all over the area that are less than an hour’s drive away. Check out listings for bed and breakfast places in the old mining towns along I-70 like Georgetown and Silver Plume, and Idaho Springs, and there are plenty of traditional accommodations in and around Denver to suit just about any budget and personal taste.

Golden also offer plenty of places you can put up for the night as well, and it’s always a good idea to check out local vacation rentals in the area, too. Sometimes a smart angler visiting Colorado in the off season for outdoor and winter sports can find a bargain on a place to stay if they are flexible about the timing of their trip.

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Looking for more places to fish? Visit our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in Colorado.


About the Author Ken Sperry

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and is on a quest to map the best places for fly fishing in America. He created DIY Fly Fishing and the DIY Fly Fishing App to share this information and help you find new places to fish. Have a question? You can get in touch with Ken here.