SAN MIGUEL RIVER
SAN MIGUEL RIVER
Last Update:December 29, 2022
The San Miguel River with its near endless public access (25+ miles) from its headwaters near Telluride, heading northwest to its confluence with the Dolores, beckons walk wade anglers to explore one of Colorado's last freestone (undammed) trout streams. Only 30 minutes from Ridgway, the San Miguel is a dry fly fishing paradise. With numerous insect hatches, you will find stoneflies, caddis, pale morning dun, blue winged olives and midges on your angling adventure. San Miguel anglers encounter steady river gradient, coupled with great stream clarity, abundant pocket water and some nice deep buckets and pools.
Springtime conditions can vary (weather dependent), with ice off, followed by a brief pre-run-off fishing window, then a sustained run off period in late spring, and finally the summer fishing season begins. Waters are still cold but the fish are looking for easy meals. Nymphing smaller stoneflies and worms have been producing fish. Dont forget to train of a small flashy Midge or BWO to maxamize your presentation.
Recommended Fly Patterns
Wire Stone #14 Brown, Juju Beatis #20, Two Bit Hooker (all colors) #18, Micro Matcher Olive #20, Bead head Pheasant Tail #16, Squirmy worm #12 Pink or Red, Micro Flexi-Girdle Bug Brown #16, Keller's Matte Deamon Stone Black #16, Para Adams #16, Twisted Worm #14 Red Or Pink, Feeding Caddis #16
FLIES FOR THE SAN MIGUEL RIVER
RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service SAN MIGUEL River Hatch Chart ©
THE SAN MIGUEL RIVER
While Summer and Fall are the best seasons to target fly fishing the San Miguel River, don’t discount early Spring for getting a line wet. Winter fly fishing near Telluride is best discovered at lower elevation rivers like the Uncompahgre or Lower Gunnison. “Keep moving” is the motto on the San Miguel River. With over 25 miles to pick from and quick access to multiple stops, don’t walk up on other groups or try to compete for water. Instead, explore alternate locations not to overfish any one section.
Weather on the San Miguel should not be discounted. Don’t forget you are in Colorado above 7000 feet, and weather changes quickly in high-elevation canyons like the San Miguel. So be prepared for potential flash floods and sudden shifts in temperature and weather. Consider moving upstream to locate clear water above tributaries brining in off-colored water.
Fly Fishing Gear & Equipment for the San Miguel River:
- 3 weight to 5 weight, 7’6” to 11’ moderate action Fly Rods with WF floating fly lines are ideal for high sticking pockets or presenting drag free drifts in fast riffle water or controlled drifts near tight vegetated banks.
- 6x to 5x leader & tippets will cover most situations. Consider shorter length leaders to turn over small attractor dry flies with a dropper in tight quarters, or slightly longer leaders to present small dry flies with improved accuracy and drag free drifts.
- Core dry flies for match the hatch, small attractor flies, small jigged nymphs and plenty of terrestrials are essential in the San Miguel. 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 your net for proper catch and release fish handling.
- Backcountry essentials like a quality rain jacket, day pack, bug spray, and plenty of packable food and water for a full day of exploration.
Chance Snow Showers
Low: 16° F / High: 39° F
Low: 11° F / High: 37° F
Slight Chance Snow Showers
Low: 12° F / High: 32° F
Chance Snow Showers
Low: 8° F / High: 32° F
Low: 11° F / High: 35° F
LEARN THE RIVER WITH AN EXPERT
RECOMMENDED SAN MIGUEL GEAR