The FORKS OF THE CIMARRON: EAST-MIDDLE-WEST: If you love chasing wild fish in small rivers, this is your place. At an elevation of 9,600 feet, each fork is located in its own high alpine valley. All three have an abundance of pocket water, small pools, and riffles, all coupled with exceptional views. Great hatches can be expected throughout the summer and into fall. These rivers are a dry fly fisher's dream and are also great for Tenkara.
Happening Now: Snow has come and put an end to this area for the season. The roads here are not maintained and will become impassable for the winter. Plan on heading to a tailwater like Paco or heading to the lower Gunnison.
Most Productive:Locked down by snow until spring.
Water Clarity: Clear
BIG CIMARRON: This section of the Cimarron is below Silver Jack Reservoir and offers several miles of uninterrupted and remote fly fishing opportunities. Technically this is a tailwater but it doesn't fish like one. When flows are below 60 CFS, shallow dry/dropper rigs are the rule. However, for the deeper pools or during higher flows, deep nymphing will produce the biggest fish. Casting can be tight, with lots of vegetation and limited trails along the river, so be prepared to "earn it" in order to access this section.
Happening Now: Snow has hit this area and closed it down for the season. You may still be able to get up below the dam until the next snow storm comes. Lake level is dropping and with that comes muddy water on this section. Fishing has slowed down with the color but if you really wanted to fish in this area think of worms and bright nymphs.
Most Productive: Winter has closed this area until spring
Water Clarity: Ice
Dry Flies (Dry/Dropper Rigs): Winter no Rising Fish
Nymphs: Unaccesable Ice
Cimarron River Map
EAST PORTAL: The East Portal is located at the upper end of the Black Canyon inside the Black Canyon National Park. This is the only access point into the Black Canyon in which you can drive directly to the river, and it is subject to seasonal closures. Once you are down on the Gunnison River you are surrounded by towering granite walls some as high as 2,000 feet. The East Portal is a classic western tailwater and a gorgeous place to visit.
Happening Now: East portal road is now closed for the season and will reopen in spring so keep checking as things warm up.
Water Clarity: Clear
GUNNISON GORGE: This is a magical and beautiful place to fish, especially float fishing! Most famous for the Salmon Fly hatch in May/June. This is a great section of the river if you want to get away from the crowds of the East Portal or the lower sections around Pleasure Park. The only access to the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness section is by hiking one of the four trails or a Three Day Float Fishing Trip with RIGS.
Happening Now: Fishing well starting about 9 am as the sun hits the water. Good viability for nymphing small mayfly & Midge emergers behind a small stonefly.
Water Clarity: Gunni green to cloudy
Recommended Gear: A 9' to 10' 6-wt. fast-action fly rod, with a high sensitivity large arbor reel and solid drag system, will give you the stopping power to fight big rainbows and browns. Heavier tippets in the 2x to 4x range can always be fished in the "Gunny Green" waters and will be needed especially when float fishing the technical waters.
Most Productive:Get your flies down to the fish and don't be afraid of the fast water the fish are there. Browns are getting on their spawn and the rainbows are stacking up behind them. Keep an eye out for Redds so you don't wade through them and let the fish do their thing. Afternoon we have been seeing some rising fish tight to the banks so throwing a single dry caddis or BWO should find you some fish.
Happening Now: Fishing has been consistent, we are catching fish on Dries, nymphs, and streamers almost every day we are out. As the day temp starts to drop over the next few weeks fish should be looking for some BWO adults on the surface but for now, it is mostly all nymphing with emergers and eggs.
Recommended Gear: 5 and 6-wt. fly rods, 9' to 9' 6" with a matching fly line and a reel with a good drag system for fighting big fish.
Most Productive:Fish are in there winter holes looking for easy meals. Nymphing is the way to go with small midge and emergrs behind something slightly bigger like a small stonefly or leach.
Water Clarity: Clear
Dry Flies: Para adams #16-22, Upbeat Beatis #20
Nymphs: Rainbow Warrior Jig #16, Tung Fire Jig #16, Jig Perdigon (All Colors) #16, Kryptonite Caddis # 16, Depthcharge worm #12, Squirmy worm #12, Flash Tail Mini Egg #16
Streamers: Montana Mouthwash Olive or White #6, Dirty Hippy Platte (Single or Double), She Demon Brown #6, Baby Gonga (Gray or Rainbow) #8.
Gunnison River Map
SAN MIGUEL: The stretch of the San Miguel just downstream of Telluride meanders through meadows and trees, and provides a prime example of a Colorado freestone river. The river changes a few miles downstream with some bigger and faster water. Pocket water is abundant with a few long runs and deep pools. In the summer, fishing both tight to the banks as well as around cover can produce solid fish.
Happening Now: .Winter and ice have the river locked up with some open water in places but we recommend fishing elsewhere.
Recommended Gear: This river is perfect for lighter weight rod fly rods in the 3 to 4-wt. range and also Tenkara rods. Tenkara rods are best from 12' to 13' in length and 6:4 (medium) flex. A floating Tenkara line will allow you to fish dry flies with ease.
Most Productive:Dry Dropper rigs will be your best friend. Scale down the dry a little to something closer to what's hatching. Caddis or small Chubbies in size 14 have been my go to with a pheasant tail trailed off the back about 2 to 3 feet.
Water Clarity: Ice
Dry Flies: Ice
San Miguel River Map
UNCOMPAHGRE RIVER AT PA-CO-CHU-PUK: "Pa-Co-Chu-Puk" or just Paco, is the section of the Uncompahgre River that lies inside Ridgway State Park and is a fly fisherman's dream. It is one of the best tailwaters in the state and holds fish well over 10 pounds. Paco offers easy access for beginners or those with mobility issues and is a year-round fishing destination with great hatches throughout the year. This is one of the best places to throw dry flies during summer. July through September can be on fire with Caddis, Green Drake, and PMD hatches!
Happening Now: Water is at its winter level . Stealth is starting to play a bigger role when fishing so tries to make longer casts and stay out of the water if you can. BWOs and midges are the main bugs right now so go small and fish light tippet. We have been getting a few fish on eggs but trailing off the smaller flies is still the go-to.
Recommended Gear: 5 and 6-wt. fly rods, 9' to 9' 6" with a matching fly line and a reel with a good drag system for those big fish.
Most Productive: Nymphing smaller Midges and Baetis. We have been throwing small Worms and Leeches, but Midge emergencies are most productive.
Water Clarity: Cold and clear.
UNCOMPAHGRE RIVER Down River: The river downstream of Paco holds a good population of healthy Browns and Rainbows as it winds its way through the city of Montrose. There are a few access points as you head north; the first being Billy Creek; otherwise, starting in the town of Montrose running towards the airport on the North end. The fish are still pressured with a smaller average size, but large fish can always surprise you.
Happening Now: South canal shut off and this section through Montrose is fishing great. Fish are settling into their holes and eating nymphs and other small flies like midges and BWO emerges. We are still seeing some rising fish during warmer days but nymphing has been the most productive.
Recommended Gear: 4, 5, and 6-wt.fly rods, 9' rods in either 4wt or 5wt through the fall and winter months. switch to a 6wt rod as the Gunnison tunnel opens back up in the spring.
Most Productive: Nymphing with heavy but smaller nymphs, eggs, worms, and leeches. Trail off BWO nymphs and midge larva or pupa to be the most effective out there. Focus on the banks, shelves, and deeper slower holes to find fish.
Water Clarity: Clear and fishable
Nymphs: Matt's Hell Razor Leech #12, Massacre Midge #18-24, Foam Wing Emerger #20-26,Jedi Master olive #24, Demon Midge #18-22, Matt's Mighty Midge #18-22 Red or Blue, Epoxy BWO #22, Pure Midge #20-22 Black, Two Bit Midge #20 Olive
Streamers: Montana Mouth Wash, Dirty Hippie, Fortune Cookie
Uncompahgre River Map
Let our fish report get you out on the right water with the right gear, or stop by the shop for the most current regional flies and offerings from Simms, SAGE, Patagonia, Abel and more.
The best in Southwest Colorado Fly Fishing, plan your trip with RIGS
If you are planning on fishing in Colorado this year, RIGS “Reel Time” fishing report includes up to date information on conditions, flows, flies, a hatch guide, weather, maps and more. RIGS Colorado fishing report is regularly updated and provides all the information you need for fly fishing on the Gunnison River (Black Canyon National Park & Gunnison Gorge), San Miguel River, Uncompahgre River & Cimarron River. Fishing in Colorado has never been better, especially in the Southwestern part of the State. For more information on the region’s top fly fishing destinations along with the best Colorado fishing report, come by in person or visit RIGS Fly Shop online. We are located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in historic downtown Ridgway within one hour of Ouray, Telluride, Montrose, and Silverton Colorado. If you are fishing in Colorado, the RIGS fish report will keep you up to date on all of the happenings in the region.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses are available at RIGS Full Service Fly Shop. However, we encourage you to purchase Fishing & Hunting Licenses Online prior to your trip to save time and hassle. When purchasing a Division of Wildlife License, the State requires your driver’s license or id, social security number, height, weight, and phone number.
*PLEASE NOTE: In order to legally fish in the State of Colorado, anyone 16 years or older must possess a valid Colorado State Fishing License. Fishing licenses can be purchased at our Full-Service Fly Shop, or you can conveniently purchase them online through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. The cost of the fishing license is not included in trip prices. Licenses can be purchased for periods of one day or more.