Spinney Mountain Ranch

The classic Colorado tailwater, the Dream Stream, has a well-earned reputation. Was it better 10 years ago? Sure. That's true for most of our waters. But the access (roughly 3 miles of public land below Spinney Reservoir) and size of fish (trout up to 2 feet) attract anglers by the truckload. Carry a full stock of classic tailwater patterns. anglerscovey.com


Cheesman Canyon

The canyon's proximity to the Front Range makes certain this stretch of water gets plenty of fishing pressure. Still, the size and number of trout ensure a good time on the water. Conventional wisdom suggests small tippet (5x, 6x) and flies (Nos. 20-24) are the only way to fool these picky eaters. But don't ignore a big, splashy Stimulator fished over fast water. tinyurl.com/FunFliesLies


South Platte River

What? A fly-fishing destination inside the city limits? Denver fly-fishers have discovered what has been under their nose for years: carp on a fly is a blast. South Platte carp can reach 30 pounds, if not more, and demand a 20- to 30-pound leader of tippet to bring them to shore. Think big: crawfish and streamer patterns. troutsflyfishing.com


Arkansas River

With extensive public access along 80 miles of river, the stretch from Leadville to Ca?n City is the most popular fishery in the state. The fly-fishing has never been better. A recent study showed upward of 5,000 brown trout per square mile. For a memorable day on the water, throw a hopper-and-dropper rig in late summer. arkanglers.com


Blue River

Need a destination that keeps everyone happy? Then Summit County is for you. If the wife (or husband) wants to shop, the Outlets at Silverthorne is steps away. Some of the state's better fly-fishing water runs right through the outdoor mall. The stretch of public water below Dillon Reservoir can be lucrative and maddening. roaringforkanglers.com