Mature man fly fishing the gold medal Frying Pan River near Basalt, Colorado in autumn. Late afternoon, high contrast.
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The Best Places to Catch Trout in Colorado

The lakes and rivers are teeming with rainbows, browns, and cutthroat trout—and the views aren't bad either.

Colorado is known far and wide for having some of the best trout fishing in the world. It's just one of those magical states with pristine mountain streams, lakes, and rivers that are teeming with rainbows, browns, and cutthroat trout.

The only hard part is narrowing down where in the state you want to fish. There are so many prime locations for large trout that it can be hard to pick just one or two.

Well, we're here to help: We've narrowed down a dozen destination spots to head with your fly rod.

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These 12 fisheries have all earned Gold Medal Trout Waters designations, the state's top award for trout fisheries. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department issues the awards, and to qualify, the body of water needs consistently hit several benchmarks for fish stock and size: a minimum average of 12 trout over 14 inches per acre, and the river or creek must also support a stock of at least 60 pounds per acre.

So, the fishing is great but the icing on the cake is that some of these spots are also some of most beautiful places to fish, not only in Colorado, but in the entire Rocky Mountains. In other words: Most anglers come back happy whether or not they caught something with these idyllic views.

READ MORE: 10 Best Trout Lures for Conventional Anglers, Gathered By a Serious Trout Angler