North Clear Creek is a river that when I was exploring this region, I almost overlooked.  It really doesn’t look very fishable.  Heavy cover on the sides of the river make casting near impossible and the deep pools make wading through the river not possible.  However, with a little persistence, there are some excellent fishing opportunities here for brown trout, rainbows and brook trout.  Though I have not found any cutthroat, I do not doubt they are present in the river so it is a place where the grand slam is possible in a single river, which is rare in most places in CO these days.

The lower section is a higher gradient river from the confluence of south clear creek up to the north clear creek falls.  There is ample camping and for the adventurous angler, the fishing down here on this section can be fantastic.  This isn’t a place recommended for beginners or for the casual angler as getting good casts is difficult, accessing the river is difficult, and it can be downright dangerous working water like this when you are over 2 hrs away from the nearest anything.  This kind of remoteness however, is a very exciting place to fish if you’re up for the challenge and while the fish don’t get much bigger than 14”, they are eager to eat a fly if it gets in the river without getting hung up and they fight like 18” fish.  The trout are hungry and eagerly take flies, but a smaller rod under 7ft will really help you make casts and set hooks without losing flies.

There is an eerie nature to this river and lots of wildlife is present.  With the remoteness of this river, we suggest bringing bear spray and a hand gun if you have one to be safe in this wilderness.  We have had visitors to the dispersed camp sites at night, and it reminds you in a place like this, that you are an outlier in this raw nature.  Don’t let all this scare you, however, we want to set reasonable expectations, but at the same time, if you’re looking for a great adventure, this is a spot to go.  Not only is this river worth the drive, but anyway you get here, you pass over half a dozen rivers and creeks that are also worth the journey.  If you have 4+ days to fish, this area, during summer is an incredible place to explore and reminds you of what Colorado was back 50 years ago.

Summer, after June, is the best time to be out here.  The weather is most cooperative and the night times are very tolerable.  Bring plenty of water and food and supplies and explore what this great area has to offer.  South clear creek, upper sections of north clear creek, spring creek up 149 and mesa creek all are additional places to explore as much of this area is national forest and public.  Many places explored will leave you away from anyone and it’s likely some of these areas don’t get fished for years on end if you get out and bushwack.