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Arcing & Angling in Steamboat

Dec 06, 2016 03:55PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Arcing and Angling in Steamboat

“Ski and Fishing Town USA”

Story and photos by Lisa Densmore Ballard


Skiing and fly-fishing are not normally considered complementary activities in the Upper Valley. When the chairlifts start filling up with skiers, the fly-fishing tapers off, at least in rivers and streams. It’s not because anglers want to put away their rods to go skiing. During the winter, the waterways in New Hampshire and Vermont normally freeze up tighter than a World Cup slalom course.

Not so in Steamboat Springs, Colorado! The Yampa River, which flows through the middle of “Ski Town USA,” is ice-free. With a little planning, an ambitious skier–angler can carve turns in the morning, and then cast for 25-inch trout in the afternoon. Here are some tips.


Figuring Out the Fishing

  • Most anglers use a 9-foot, 5-weight, or 6-weight fly rod.
  • To get a fishing license before you travel, contact Colorado Parks & Wildlife, which sells licenses online. Nonresident licenses cost $9 for one day or $21 for five days, plus a mandatory $10 Habitat Stamp for your first license of the year, which runs April 1 to March 31. (
  • Purchase a license locally, buy gear and flies, get info on where to cast and/or hire a guide from Steamboat Flyfisher:


Getting There

Flying: American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, and United have nonstop flights to Steamboat Springs from their major hubs. Or fly to Denver and rent a car or take a shuttle.

Rental car from Denver (3 hours): Take I-70 West through the Eisenhower Tunnel to Silverthorne. Take Exit 305 onto CO 9 North. In Kremmling, turn west on US 40. Steamboat Springs is on the north side of Rabbit Ears Pass.

Shuttle from Denver: GO Alpine has daily scheduled service and private-party service from the Denver airport to Steamboat Springs.

For more info and to book lodging and lift ticket packages, go to

Area Restaurants

Good Eating!

After a full day of skiing and fishing, nothing warms you up better than a delicious meal. Steamboat Springs has many excellent eating establishments. Here are a few favorites:

Laundry Restaurant: Rustic chic, charcuterie and eclectic small dishes, trendy, and craft cocktails.

Low Country Kitchen: Southern cuisine, hearty meals, and friendly service.

Aurum Food & Wine: Fine American cuisine on the river, great wine list, and relaxed ambience.


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