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: Fishing well around the storms, just make sure you have you rain gear on hand. River has been getting a little color after rain but i has been clearing up fast. Hoppers are starting to see more action in this area but dropping a small but flashy nymph below will increase your catch rate. Most of the rain has been in the afternoon so hitting this area in the morning is the best
Most Productive:Hopper dropper for the win right now. The forks are getting lower so look to fish the middle or east fork and hitting the pocket water as you move upstream.
Water Clarity: Clear to colored depending on rain
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: Focus your time in the slower water and eddies to find fish. Nymphing is still the best option with colored water but you can always throw a dry as an indicator and may get a riser or two to come up.
Most Productive: Small atractor Dries with droppers about 2 feet down.
Water Clarity: Cloudy But Fishing
Dry Flies (Dry/Dropper Rigs): Elk Caddis #14-18, Humpy #14-12, Chubby Chernobyl #12-16, Carnage Hopper #12
Nymphs: Two bit hooker #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18, Depth charge Worm #16, Blowtorch #14, Bird of Prey #14, He Man #16
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: Water has some color in it but still fishing well. This is from the recent rain and the water is coming out of crystal res cloudy. When this happens fish move to the edges and feed in shallower water so go flashy with your nymphs and a bit bigger for your dries.
Most Productive:Hopper dropper has been fishing well with hoppers moving around more. Still look to drop a flashy mayfly nymph or stone below. Scuds are also a great option when water levels change so make sure you have a few orange scuds if your headed this way.
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 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 with even through the storms. Water has some color to it but still good viability for hopper dropper and streamers.
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 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:Fish hoppers up top and drop flashy nymphs below, things like worms, stones, and flashy mayfly nymphs. On any over cast day i would bring out the streamer rod and fish the fast runs and the head of pools and work you way down through it.
Happening Now: The north fork of the Gunnison is coming down off color with the recent rain we have been haveing, above and below the confluence is fishing really well. Heading upstream of the confluence youll also find clearer water and active fish. Big dry dropper setups are working well too with worms, stones, and other jig flies catching fish in the runs.
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:We have been seeing dry dropper fishing through the day. Fishing a single hopper tight to the bank youll find some fish willing to rise but the dropper set up is still the most productive, Streamers have also been picking up some good fish and lots of chases on the cloudy days.
Water Clarity: Clear with some color in the water due to the rains
Dry Flies: Sweetgrass Hopper #8-12, Morish hoppper #8-12, Chubby chernobyl # 10-12
Nymphs: Rainbow Warrior Jig #16, Tung Fire Jig #16, Jig Perdigon (All Colors) #16, Kryptonite Caddis # 16, Depthcharge worm #12, Squirmy worm #12
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: Keep an eye on the weather in the afternoon as we have been getting rain about every day. Heading upstream towards Telluride you'll find clearer water unless there has been a big rain, there has been a slide due to rain at sawpit so the lower sections are still running off color. That being said we are seeing some good activity in the water and more fish. Flows are at a great level to hit this river. Caddis and Small Hoppers are on the menu. I would fish any fishy water as you work your way upstream as the fish have been moving up in the feeding lanes and into the riffles.
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: Clear with some color from the rain but clears up fast
Dry Flies: Skinny Chubby #12-14, Elk Caddis #14, Goddard Caddis #12/16, Extended body PMD # 14
Nymphs: Rainbow Warrior #16, Pheasant Tails #16, Copper John #16-18 Red, Psycho Prince #16-18 Purple or Blue, Demon Midge #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: Flows are at a great level the fish plenty of water for the fish to hold in. We are finaly starting to see our PMD and Green Drake hatches starting, fish are looking up starting around 11am and the hatch is going into the evening. We have been seeing PMD emergers as well as some Green drake nymphs working well in the early morning and dropping off a small PMD emerger behind a dry is working well.
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 emergers 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 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: Flows are up for the summer in town as the tunnel is back on. Heavy nymphs under a chubby has been fishing very well. We have been catching fish both below and on the surface, and seeing some really healthy fish coming out of this section
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: High and stained.
Nymphs: Matt's Hell Razor Leech #12, Mayer's Mini Leech #16, , Massacre Midge #18-24, Foam Wing Emerger #20-26, Soft Hackle Emerger #18-20 Gray, 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
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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.