Rich Creek is a popular backpacking and hiking area within Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area. It is part of an eleven mile loop trail that goes up Rich Creek and then crosses over a low saddle and then down Rough and Tumbling Creek. Although the trail may be busy, especially during weekends, few hikers stop to fish.
The lower part of Rich Creek is heavily wooded and fishing is a little beyond challenging. It's very difficult to hike off the trail along the creek with tall willows, fallen trees and swampy conditions, but there are fish for the highly adventurous.
Three miles up the easy to moderate trail is the beginning of the meadow that stretches for another three miles. There are somewhere around 30-40 beaver ponds with sections of creek connecting these pools.
The 2-3 foot high brush allows for concealment and plenty of open space for easy casting. The fish are eager and plentiful and the views are beyond gorgeous.
Accessibility: The drive is easy, mostly pavement and then well-maintained dirt road. You can access the Rich Creek Trailhead from where Rich Creek meets the South Fork of the South Platte, or from the Weston Pass Campground. The lower part of Rich Creek is heavily wooded and fishing is more difficult. Hiking is required - about three miles to access the meadow where the fishing is a little easier. The trail is well-maintained and moderate hiking ability is needed.
Elevation: Above 10,000 feet
Distance: 100 miles from Colorado Springs / 2 hours
Season: Spring, Summer and Fall
Fly patterns: Hopper patterns, Elk Hair Caddis, Amy’s Ant, Yellow Humpies
Fish species: Mostly Brook Trout
Fishing Regulations: Standard Colorado
Techniques & Tips: Dries and Terrestrials work great here. Casting stealthily up in to the ponds, pools behind structure, or undercut banks will land you many fish. Just be certain not to spook the fish!
Camping: Is allowed along the trail and also nearby at Weston Pass Campground.
Kids: Yes, as long as they can handle the long hike. If camping in Weston Pass Campground, this makes for a great day hike - just start early enough not to get caught in an afternoon storm.
Additional Information: Although the fishing is great, don't forget to keep your eyes open and check out the wildlife, not just the fish, in this gorgeous wilderness area. Moose have been seen in this area. And be cognizant that you are at a higher elevation - clouds, storms, and weather come and go quickly. Be a good Scout and plan on bad weather just in case.
National Geographic Map
Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer
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(Click to Purchase)
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside