Book Review: A Fly Fishing Guide to Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area

A Fly Fishing Guide to Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
by Steven B. Schweitzer & Michael Kruise
Pixachrome Publishing, September 2014

I’ll start off by saying that I cherish Mr. Schweitzer’s Fly Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park guidebook (see my post about it HERE and buy it HERE).That book has proven to be an excellent guide to fishing RMNP and has gotten me properly oriented for some excellent fishing. I expect the same from this volume. I have not yet fished in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, but after reading through this new book, A Fly Fishing Guide to Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area – I’m chomping at the bit.

Every once in a while you’ll see a post in a Facebook fly fishing or tenkara group or forum asking a question like “What’s your favorite fly fishing book?” or “Which fly fishing book have you learned the most from?” I rarely see people respond to these questions with the name of a guidebook. But if I’m completely honest it is guidebooks which have shaped me more than any other books. Simply because time on the water fishing is the most valuable time you can spend learning. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent poring over books such as Charles Meck’s Pennsylvania Trout Streams and Their Hatches, Dwight Landis’ Trout Streams of Pennsylvania an Angler’s Guide, and A. Joseph Armstrong’s Trout Unlimited Guide to Pennsylvania Limestone Streams. So many of my fly fishing adventures, especially early on, owe absolutely everything to these books. I can’t overstate their importance to me.

Both the RMNP guide and this new book can be the same thing for a new generation of fly fishers – as well as us older folks not familiar with the area – a way to find water and get much needed on stream experience. A lot can be said for doing your own research and finding water yourself – but in reality many folks just don’t know where to get started – and don’t have unlimited time and resources to begin from the ground up, especially the traveling angler. If you’ve managed to get the resources and time to get out to Colorado for a week – you really don’t want to spend your time stumbling around. Or – as can be the case – fishing only the big, well known rivers with just about every other visiting angler in Colorado. I’ve had that experience – and it can be frustrating.

So for some details

Where is the area of interest? The Indian Peaks Wilderness Area is 77,711 acre wilderness area adjacent to and south of Rocky Mountain National Park – so this book makes a nice companion to the RMNP guide, as you can fish both areas without too much driving in between. Nearby towns include Granby, Nederland, Estes Park.

The book presents some introductory chapters on the Indian Peaks Wilderness use and access, as well as hiking, camping and general fly fishing information and tactics.


But of course the real meat is the destination information. According to the cover there are 120 destinations included (I didn’t count them – I’ll take their word for it). Each destination is accompanied by full-color photos that will give you a real idea of what to expect of the destination. Also – and very importantly the hiking trails to the lakes and along the creeks are ranked for difficulty ranging from 1 (easy) to 5 (extremely difficult). And of course maps, distances and trail descriptions are included along with trail profiles and the listing for the appropriate USGS quad map. Fish species for each water are also included.



The book also feature color plates and tying recipes for 54 fly patterns (to compliment the 117 patterns found in the RMNP book). Appendices include: Area Fly Shops; Trailhead Information; Trails Ranked by Difficulty; Hatch Seasons; Hatch Charts; Lakes Containing Fish and Creeks; Streams, Creeks & Lakes in IPWA.

I’d add that, like RMNP the Indian Peaks is a small stream and lake paradise – and so it is especially appealing to the tenkara enthusiast. Of course some of the lakes may cause a bit of a challenge to the fixed line fisher (though do not rule out tenkara in small lakes) but the streams and creeks are mostly smallish and very tenkara friendly. Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA even had a hand in contributing some tenkara advise to the book (and a few kebari patterns).

destination pic

what say you?