Fishing report



Last Update: September 28, 2023

Cimarron High Country is a term used at RIGS to help classify the regions vast access to high alpine streams and creeks that emanate from the northern drainages of the San Juan Mountains surrounding the Ridgway area and within Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. If you imagine quintessential Colorado scenery and love chasing creek fish, including native cutthroat trout, brook trout and rainbow trout, in small high alpine remote backcountry fishing locations, this is your place. Endless miles of access to a multitude of locations at elevations above 9000 feet, including popular drainages like Forks of the Cimarron & Big Cimarron River, with an abundance of forested meadows, steep canyon drainages and dry fly fishing in gin clear pocket waters and pools.

Happening Now
As we approach the end of summer, water levels are dropping in the Cimarron forks. This are is still fishable and fish are still actively feeding but they are condensed to the deeper holes and runs so be ready to move around to hit those pockets. Fishing a single dry fly in deeper and “fishy” water is still productive, we recommend caddis, mayflies, and terrestrials. The Big Cimarron is also providing good fishing opportunities. Keep in mind that the water clarity might vary due to changing lake levels, but the fish are accustomed to cloudy water and are still willing to bite. Don’t hesitate to fish even if the water is off-color. Hopper dropper and double dry rigs are effective on the Big Cimarron, lengthen the distance from dry to dropper when fishing deeper pools.

Recommended Fly Patterns
Bead Head Pheasant Tail #16-18, Rainbow Warrior #16, Twisted Worm #16, 409 Yeagers #14, Carnage Hopper #14 Tan, Chubby Chernobyl #14, Parachute Adams #14-18, Elk Hair Caddis #14-16, Mimic May #18

Discharge, cubic feet per second: 27.9 ft3/s

Discharge, cubic feet per second: 27.9 ft3/s

See Streamflow on USGS



RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service High Country Rivers Hatch Chart ©



Fly fishing in the Cimarron High Country region of Western Colorado is all about exploration, getting away from the crowds and finding your own secret spot. The region of the Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado’s northern San Juan Mountains is vast and remote and best reached by forest service dirt roads in high clearance or 4×4 vehicles. Weather changes quickly in the high country so be prepared for anything. Just because it is sunny when you leave does not mean a sudden shift in temperature or weather won’t occur, sometimes very suddenly.

Fly Fishing Gear & Equipment for Cimarron High Country Rivers:

  • 2 weight to 4 weight, 8’6” to 10’ moderate action Fly Rods with floating fly lines or Tenkara Rods are perfect for high sticking steep creeks or presenting dry flies in tight pockets, vegetated banks and open meadow situations.
  • 6x to 5x leader & tippets will cover most situations in the high country. Consider shorter length leaders to turn over dry flies in tight quarters or to present dry dropper rigs with better accuracy.
  • Core dry flies for match the hatch, small attractor dry flies and plenty of terrestrials are essential in the high county. Visit the Fly Shop for a curated selection of proven and successful fly patterns ideal for the specific drainage and time of year you are visiting.
  • Small poly yarn indicators for the occasional deep pool, and dry fly flotant or dry shake for combating turbid waters.
  • Don’t forget backcountry essentials like a quality rain jacket, day pack, bug spray, and plenty of packable food and water for a full day of exploration.
Sun - 10/01/23

Slight Chance Thunderstorms
Low: 38° F / High: 60° F
Mon - 10/02/23

Chance Rain/Snow
Low: 29° F / High: 58° F
Tue - 10/03/23

Chance Snow Showers
Low: 29° F / High: 48° F
Wed - 10/04/23

Slight Chance Thunderstorms
Low: 28° F / High: 48° F
Thu - 10/05/23

Mostly Sunny
Low: 32° F / High: 54° F