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 their 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: Flows have been good for the late summer/early fall. As we head into fall, be prepared for Baetis, but don't count out the smaller attractor nymphs as well. On Top, smaller terrestrials, as well as Caddis and Baetis Dries, will do well.
Most Productive: Smaller dries with smaller, flashy droppers have been productive, but in some smaller, shallower water, a single dry can produce some great fishing.
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: The Big Cimmaron has been great recently, and we are starting to see Baetis moving throughout the river, so those smaller nymphs have been productive, with smaller dries later in the day. As with the Forks, don't count out the smaller, flashy Nymphs.
Most Productive: Nymphing with smaller Baetis and attractor nymphs, and the switching to dries as bugs come off later.
Water Clarity: Slightly Stained, but a great clarity for fishing.
Dry Flies (Dry/Dropper Rigs): Hi Vis Sitting Duck Caddis #16, Parawulff #18 BWO, Upbeat Baetis #20. Stubby Chubby #14-16 UV Purple or UV Cinnamon.
Nymphs: Micro Matcher #20 (Purple and Olive),Rainbow Warrior #16, Psycho Prince #14-18 Purple or Green, Guides Choice Hare's Ear #14-16, Two-Bit Hooker #16-18 (All Colors), Tung Frenchie #14-18.
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 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: The road to East Portal Road will be closed for the Summer season to complete road maintenance. As Fall 2021 approaches, we will keep you informed of any changes.
Most Productive: Closed for Summer 2021.
Water Clarity: N/A
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 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 through the gorge has been great, with solid flows for this time of year. Water is clear, smaller attractor nymphs ( BWO and midges Size 18-20) and worms have been great! Don't be afraid to throw a streamer as well, it is great right now!
Water Clarity: Gunny Green, with some stained water mixed in.
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 tippet 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: Large Jigs and Streamers, with some other attractors mixed in. Worms and streamers have been amazing!
Happening Now: Flows are great and the fish are happy with the cooler nights and mornings. With the clear water smaller patterns trailed off a stone or worm have been getting it done. There are some small hatches of caddis and BWO's coming off intermittently through the day so be on the lookout for rising fish near the foam lines and edges.
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:Deep nymph rigs, with worms and smaller, flashy nymphs. Looking for rising fish and throwing a single dry. Streamers from the boat or wading have also been great.
Water Clarity: Stained
Dry Flies: Sweetgrass Hopper #8-10, Bopper Hopper #10-12, Morish Hopper #6-12, Trinas Carnage Hopper #12-14
Nymphs: Worms Pink or Red #10, Rainbow Warrior Jig #16, Tung Fire Jig #16, Jig Perdigon (All Colors) #16, Two Bit Hooker (All Colors) #16-18, Soft Hackle Emerger Gray #18-20, Frenchie #14-18, Pat's Rubber Leg Crystal/Black/Orange #6, Explosion Stone Purple #10, Restless Stone Coffee/Black #8.
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: Fishing has been great, with stable flows and clean water. Fishing has been very productive, and we are throwing lots of attractor-style nymphs, along with caddis, Baetis, and smaller attractor dries. Stripping a wollybugger this time of year can also create some great eats.
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 with a hopper and a larger, flashy nymph
Water Clarity: Stained
Dry Flies: Stubby Chubby #16-18 Cinnamon or Purple, Foam Caddis #16-18 Black, Yeagers 409 #14, Skinny Chubby #14-16
Nymphs: Rainbow Warrior #16, Pheasant Tails #16, Copper John #16-18 Red, Psycho Prince #16-18 Purple or Blue, Tung Caddis Larva #16-18, Two Bit Hooker (All Colors) #14-18, San Juan (Red, Purple, or Pink) #12
Streamers: Wolly Bugger #10, Autumn Splendor #6
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 a great level, they have been playing with flow so keep an eye on the gauge. Nymphing has been most produtive, with occasional dries later into the afternoon, but midges and baetis are back in style. Leading with a Larger leech and having the small flies behind will be most productive.
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 more Leeches, Worms and Crane Fly Larvae but the Baetis and Midge Larvae/Pupa are still hooking more fish.
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 all the 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 all the way 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: The Gunnison Tunnel has been turned on for the season, so flows have increased through the downtown Montrose section of the Uncompahgre River. This happens every year making this section of the river off-colored and more difficult to fish as well as wade. If you try it, the water flows are strong and hiding obstructions (rocks, trees, willows, debris) so please be safe. Keep nymphing the softer water near the banks and try leading with heavy jigged patterns and large dries.
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. Focus on the banks, shelves, and deeper slower holes to find fish. Large Dry Dropper Rigs can also be productive.
Water Clarity: High and stained.
Nymphs: Matt's Hell Razor Leech #12, Mayer's Mini Leech #16, Span Juan Worm #16 Red & Pink, Barr's Cranefly #12, Barr's Emerger PMD #20-22, CrackBack PMD #18, Slim Shady Split Case Tung #18-20, Magic Fly PMD #18, Massacre Midge #18-24, Foam Wing Emerger #20-26, Soft Hackle Emerger #18-20 Gray, Matt's Neon Nightmare Midge #18-22 Pink or Orange, Matt's Demon Midge #18-22, Matt's Mighty Midge #18-22 Red or Blue, Epoxy BWO #22, Pure Midge #20-22 Black.
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.