Fishing report



Last Update: April 17, 2024

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 eagerly await the arrival of spring, the snow-covered landscapes are a reminder of the winter we've had. However, there's anticipation in the air as the spring weather draws nearer each day. While our area is still blanketed in snow, there's hope that an early spring might grant access to these waters sooner than usual. Snow pack this year is going strong and with and eairly spring this bodes well for the upcoming fishing season, and we're excited for what's to come. For those itching to cast their lines, we recommend exploring the accessible waters of the Gunnison River, Pleasure Park, and the Uncompahgre River at Paco and in Montrose. These locations are renowned for offering excellent fishing opportunities in our region. The Gunnison River is always a favorite among anglers, with its serene beauty and abundant fish populations. Pleasure Park offers a unique angling experience, perfect for those seeking a bit of solitude along with their catch. And don't forget about the Uncompahgre River, where the waters flow with promise for a memorable day of fishing. As we prepare for the transition into spring, these fishing spots promise excitement and adventure for anglers of all levels. Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses, and get ready to reel in some unforgettable moments on the water.

Recommended Fly Patterns

Discharge, cubic feet per second: 17.4 ft3/s

Discharge, cubic feet per second: 17.4 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.
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