The event started on Saturday evening in Eagle at a reception and silent auction fund raiser.

Entered this year were 14 amateur teams and 12 professional teams.

It was there where I met my clients, Cody and Brian (both amateurs) for the first time. Also at the reception the team names were pulled from a hat and we were then allowed to select what section of river on the Upper Colorado we would be floating the next day. (Pumphouse, Radium, Rancho Del Rio, State Bridge, Two Bridges)

Our name was pulled 6th and after a short discussion we were surprised to see the first time slot of 9:00 a.m. was still available from Pumphouse to Radium which we jumped on.

All 26 teams met the next day at Beaver Creek, where we received final instructions, reviewed the rules one more time, then took off to our designated lunching spot to begin our 6 hours of float fishing on the Upper Colorado!

Our day of fishing started a little slower than normal – it rained the entire night before and Denver Water reduced flows on the river by 120 CFS. But our plan was to fish deep in the holes and chuck streamers while on the move.

All flies that we used were provided by RiverBum. And thank goodness, because we cycled through many flies as we matched hatches ranging from PMDs to Blue Wing Olives, and even a caddis or two.

Over the course of the day, the following fly patterns were our most productive:

The highlight of the day was Brain hooking into a beautiful Large Rainbow that torpedoed out of the water three times during the fight and he was still able to land this 24” pig. Caught on RiveBum’s size 18 Jiggy Style Frenchie.

Fish On Colorado | 24" Rainbow Trout Wins Upper Colorado Fall Classic Biggest Fish

The rules for the tournament were as follows:

  • Each and every fish scores 10 points including each of the fish measured for length.
  • On the measured fish, 10 bonus points per 1 inch, round up or down to the NEAREST inch. 12” minimum!
  • Longest portion of un-pinched tail counts. Examples: 12” fish = 10 bonus points; 17” fish = 60 bonus points.
  • EACH ANGLER MUST take a picture of up to three fish 12 inches or better in fish tubes (measure and record).

We boated 14 fish and measured:

  • 1 – 15”
  • 2 – 16”
  • 1 – 17”
  • 1 – 18”
  • 1 – 24”

For a total of 540 points. We finished 2nd place in the Amateur division, and also would have placed second in the Pro Division!

And to top it all off, Brian won Big fish of the entire Tournament!!!

If you’d like to learn more about the event, please visit