by Karen Christopherson
From Colorado into Wyoming
Few rivers flow from Colorado into Wyoming, from south to north. The Laramie is one such river, uniquely divided from the Poudre and North Platte drainages by a confusion of mountains in the northern part of Colorado. The Laramie River has a few things worth traveling for - some great scenery and some potentially large brown trout. This river may seem a bit off the beaten path, but is well worth a visit.
The Laramie doesn't seem to get too crowded - maybe it's the drive, or perhaps the variety of water close by. On the right day, you might be frequented by a caddis or drake hatch. Summer brings out the mosquitoes and hoppers. In the canyon section you can try the bigger flies. Strip a streamer or a plop a mouse near the bank and you might tempt one of the large browns from its hiding place.
Spring, summer or fall are great times to fish this area. The color contrast offered by the aspens, firs, pines, rocks, and grasses is spectacular any time of year. Thinking of winter? You might think again, or at least check ahead and be prepared as road conditions, ice, cold, and snow might impede your trip.
|Hohnholz State Wildlife Area|
|Laramie River Valley in the Arapaho & Roosevelt Nat'l Forests|
The Colorado portion of the Laramie lies in a reasonably broad valley; some sections are fairly brushy. Once in Wyoming, the river valley gets narrower and portions flow through a narrow canyon (it is rumoured that this is where the REALLY large browns hang out - let us know...)
Over the years, a few of the ranchers on the Colorado side have allowed access to the river across their private lands for a small fee - it might be worth checking into, and asking any friendly locals you meet. (I happen to know a bit about this, but am not going to advertise it here - I'll leave you to do your own detective work!)
|South end of the canyon at the BLM/USFS access in WY|
|Access north of Jelm|
|Just south of Woods Landing|
While you in the area of the Laramie, there are lots of other places to fish. On the Wyoming side, you'll pass by the Laramie Plains Lakes and the Snowy Range (full of lakes and streams). On the Colorado side, there's the Poudre River, numerous streams and lakes in North Park, the Rawah Wilderness, and on the north side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Make sure you're organized and have licenses for both states before making this trip. This is not an area teeming in flyshops or sports stores. You'll need to get your licenses ahead, either online or in the closest towns of Laramie, Walden, Ft. Collins; Woods Landing does have a small store where you can get a WY license.
Coming from the Colorado side:
- Take Hwy 14 west from Ft. Collins (up the Poudre River). Turn north on CR 103 (Laramie River Road) and follow for about 20 miles to the Hohnholz Lakes SWA. Camping is allowed near the river. You can then continue north on this road into Wyoming.
- The Laramie River originates from creeks on the NW side of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Rawah Range to the west. Several miles of the river can be accessed next to Hwy 103 from Chamber Lake to the north.
Coming from the Wyoming side:
- Take Hwy 230 southwest from Laramie. Follow for about 25 miles to the town of Woods Landing. There are several access points south of here off of Hwy 10
- Jelm - Go south from Woods Landing for about 1 mile. WY Game & Fish has signed the access points well (here and about 1 mile south). Camping is allowed at the two parking areas. Some access is through private land, so respect the landowners and stay within the access easement.
- BLM - Go south from Woods landing for about 7 miles. Turn left (west) on BLM road 3431. Go about 2 miles to end of road and hike down to the river. No facilities. If you are brave and have 4WD, you can drive closer to the river. Hike downstream into the canyon and look for large brown trout. Part of the access is on US Forest Service land. Watch out for the cows!
- Monolith - There is also access closer to Laramie, but may not be as good a flow because of irrigation diversions. From Laramie, take Hwy 230 southwest for about 2 miles. Watch for signed area - the river is to the south of the road. It is reached by a one-mile trail from the highway.
Click here to buy a topo map for this area. You need map 111 for the northern Colorado portion. Map 112 covers the section of the headwaters and part of the Poudre
- Check out the web site for Arapaho&Roosevelt Nat'l Forests for info on camping, hikes, drives, and fishing on the Colorado side
- Check out the web site for Medicine Bow - Routt Nat'l Forests for info on camping, hikes, drives, and fishing on the Wyoming side
- Hohnholz State Wildlife Area - info from Colorado Division of Wildlife
- Wyoming: No special fishing regs
- Hohnholz Lakes SWA: Artificial flies & lures only; bag and possession is 2 trout.