5 Best Backcountry Fly Fishing Lakes in Estes Park

There are many opportunities to get away from the crowds in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) and experience world class fly fishing in the remote wilderness of the popular RMNP that surrounds the small town of Estes Park. Below is a list of our top lakes in the park for fly fishing. All of these locations require the angler to put in some hiking effort to reach them, but you will be rewarded with some of the best fishing in the United States. For those new to fly fishing or looking for a local outfit to take them into the backcountry and provide all the necessary gear, please check out the backcountry fishing trips spanning from 1-5 days.

Spruce Lake - 

This gem of a lake is reached from the Fern Lake trailhead. Reaching the lake requires a 4.5 mile hike (9 miles round trip), the distances and efforts required to reach this lake keep may anglers away. If you are looking to check off catching the prized Native Greenback Cutthroat trout this is a great opportunity, as the Park is one of the last strongholds for this endangered species of cutthroat trout. Trout in this lake are 8-12” and readily take a dry fly. The inlets and outlets are great locations to fish on the lake, as well as the large rock outcropping on the Southwest corner. Catch and release of all is required. If you are up for a real adventure you can continue on to Loomis Lake, the trail fades here but you can follow the inlet stream through the forest to Loomis Lake about a quarter mile from Spruce. The Greenbacks in Loomis tend to be a little bigger. 

Arrowhead Lake -

This legendary high alpine lake is home to the biggest trout in the park, and even more surprising they are all large Greenback Cutthroat in the 12-22” range. Reaching this lake requires some good navigation and map skills, as you need to go off trail to reach this destination. There are a few different ways to access the lake, but the best approach is to park at Milner Pass the trailhead for Mt. Ida accessed via the amazing Trail Ridge Road. 

The trail is a 14 mile trek along the Continental divide, much of the way you walk along the trail to Mount Ida, before reaching the summit you will drop down into the valley to your left (Northeast) direction, and pick your way down to the lake. The trip takes around 3.5 hours to reach so you will want to allow a full day and calculate in some fishing time accordingly. 

Haynach Lakes -

Located in a remote valley on the uncrowded western slope of Rocky Mountain National Park Haynach lakes boast epic fishing, camping and wildlife viewing opportunities. On your way to the lakes you will cross two different trout filled streams that flow out of the Haynach valley, Tonahutu Creek and the Haynach Creek, which hold either wild brook trout or Colorado River cutthroat trout. Upon reaching the lakes (7.3 miles one way from the trailhead) you will have ample opportunities to catch large Colorado River cutthroat in the picturesque valley. As an added bonus moose often frequent this part of the park. On our trips we pack in all of the necessary overnight camping gear making for an amazing 3 day fly fishing adventure.

Sky Pond

This high alpine lake is situated off the beaten track in the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park. Loaded with eager Brook trout in the 8-12” range this will please both the angler and hiker, with its world class scenery and fishing. The 9 miles round trip hike to the lake starts at Glacier Gorge Trailhead and passes numerous waterfalls, rivers and lakes. Bonus: You can also catch brookies and greenbacks in the Lake of Glass (which you will pass just before reaching Sky Pond, but it is well worth the extra efforts to reach Sky Pond. 

We book and arrange full service hike in fishing trips and multi day remote fishing trips in Rocky Mountain NP, for full details click the link HERE.