How to Choose the Right Guided Fly Fishing Trip

Deciding on which guided fly fishing trip to book can be overwhelming and confusing.

RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service offers a diverse group of guided trips, from walk and wade fly fishing trips to float fly fishing trips. With half day trips, full day trips, and even multi-day overnight trips. So which guided fly fishing trip should you choose? Well, that all depends on you and what your expectations might be. Read on below to learn more about how to choose the right guided fly fishing trip.

Why book a guided fly fishing trip?

A fly fishing guide cannot only get you on some fish but is a wealth of knowledge to the local area. Going on a guided fly fishing trip is a great way to get familiar with the local waters as well as learn and refine your fly fishing techniques. The fly fishing guides at RIGS, are some of the most experienced and passionate guides in Colorado. The RIGS difference is simple, “It’s not just about the fishing, it’s about the people.” We cater your guided fly fishing experience to exactly what you and your group are hoping for in a guided fly fishing trip. With access to 6 different river systems all within an hour drive, our team is committed to finding the perfect fit for you. When you book a guided fly fishing trip at RIGS, we do our best to match you and your group with one of our fly fishing guides that will fit well with your personality and goals.

At RIGS your guided trip is all-inclusive, meaning that there are no up charges for gear, transportation, river shuttles, or flies. Our professional guides provide you with flies, terminal tackle, a rod & reel, waders & boots, and a locally sourced lunch (only on full-day guided trips). We also offer pick-ups in Telluride and other hotels in the area so you don’t have to worry about driving to us. A trip with RIGS is truly an all encompassing fly fishing experience, catered for anglers of all ability levels.
What to think about when booking a guided fly fishing trip?

When you are calling or emailing us to inquire about a guided fly fishing trip there are a few points you should consider.

  • First, how long do you want your guided trip to be? We offer half day, full day and overnight guided trips. Fly Fishing trips and clinics can range from 2 hours to 5 days So ask yourself and your group, “How much time do you want to be working with a guide?”.
  • Second, what is the makeup of your group, your skill set and your goals? A half day trip is great for beginner anglers, larger groups, anglers with mobility issues, and children (7 years old and up). A full day trip is great if you have the whole day, want to work on specific techniques or explore the greater region with a more adventurous spirit who is looking to jump all-in to the world of fly fishing. The full day trips include lunch while the half day trips do not. And if you were wondering, you cannot upgrade your half day trip to a full day trip while you are on the water. Multi-day trips involve camping and fishing to dive into the full outdoor experience.

Float fishing trip or Walk Wade fishing trip?

Another important aspect to think about when booking your guided fly fishing trip in Colorado is if you want to do a walk and wade fly fishing trip or a float fly fishing trip.

Walk Wade

The walk and wade trip is your “classic” fly fishing trip. Walk-Wade means wading and walking through the river trip that may include some hiking on high country trips and walking along the river’s edge on tail-water trips. Typically you will travel in the guide’s vehicle to the river, and stop to get out to fish. You may drive to a couple of choice fishing spots in the guide vehicle or just park at one location and spend your trip working this water up or down the river. The wade trip is popular for never-ever fly fishers, larger groups, and anglers looking to hike a little bit more. Walk Wade trips offer the opportunity to explore a diversity of water types like freestone rivers, unique tail-waters and high alpine settings – all very scenic. The half day wade trips can be a budget friendly way to see what a fly fishing guide trip is like.

Float Fishing

The float fishing trip entails floating in one of our fly fishing boats down the river with one of our professional guides. The guide will be rowing the boat, slowing it down directing you where to cast your fly. And at times anchoring the boat and having you get out to wade fish, if conditions allow. Our guides operate out of either hard-bottomed drift boats by Boulder Boat Works or white-water rafts with fishing frames depending on the trip. The boats have a seat up front and in the back with the guide rowing the boat in the middle. Rafts are used for Gunnison Gorge floats as they are able to float through some of the skinnier water and rapids while we use the drift boats for floating the Lower Gunnison River Canyon. The drift boats are very comfortable as you have more room and your feet won’t even get wet. While the rafts are a little more for the adventurous with “self-bailing” floors where water will be coming in and out. The float fishing trips are a fun experience as you get a scenic float trip, fly fishing on a world class gold medal water river. Fly fishing from the boat is a little bit more challenging than wade fishing, but our fly fishing guides are exceptionally good at catering to beginner anglers as well as experts.

Time of year?

Are you wanting to choose a guided trip based on when the fishing might be best? We fish and guide year-round at RIGS. If you want to learn more about our fishing seasons and when is the best time to fly fish in Colorado, check out the previous blog here. (Insert blog here:
Important Points to Communicate Prior to Booking Your Guided Fly Fishing Trip:

When booking your guided fly fishing trip, be sure to communicate your goals and expectations to our staff. Here are some points to consider and discuss with our booking staff.

  1. Are you looking for a scenic trip?
  2. Do you want your main focus to be on catching fish and you don’t care what the scenery looks like?
  3. Are you just interested in catching a big fish versus a lot of fish?
  4. Do you just want to throw dry flies? Are you wanting to throw streamers?
  5. Are you a beginner or never-ever angler looking to get into fly fishing?
  6. Do you want a more educational experience on your guided trip?
  7. Are you an experienced angler? Have you been out on a lot of guided fly fishing trips?

While we do our best to get to know who you are and what you are looking for, it can be helpful if you can let us know your expectations when booking your trip. It is also important to let your fly fishing guide know your expectations prior to the start of the trip. That way he/she can make sure to cater your trip to exactly what you are looking for.

Another important point to be sure to note is to let us know if there are any sort of medical conditions. Safety is our number one priority at RIGS and we want to be sure that our guides can accommodate your medical condition. Whether that means staying close to hospital services or limiting the amount of walking and wading.

What guided fly fishing trip should you choose?

Below you will find an in-depth guide to all the guided fly fishing trips that we offer at RIGS. As well as a curated list of some of our favorite trips based on what you’re looking for.

When choosing a guided fly fishing trip at RIGS, do keep in mind that rivers do fish better at certain times of year. Be sure to discuss with our team when you are planning to book and what rivers and trip options are available and what we might recommend.

Best guided fly fishing trip for kids: Ages 6 to 8 Half Day Paco at the ponds then river introduction; Ages 8 to 15 Half Day Cimarron High County or Half Day San Miguel River.
Best guided fly fishing trip for beginners: Full-Day Cimarron River, San Miguel River, Tenkara.
Best guided fly fishing trip for advanced anglers: 3-Day DELUXE Gunnison Gorge, Full-Day Gunnison River Walk Wade or Drift Boat, Full-Day Uncompahgre River.
Best guided fly fishing trip for scenery: Full-Day Cimarron River, Gunnison River Walk Wade or Drift.
Best guided fly fishing trip for the adventurous: Full-DayLake Fork of the Gunnison or Cimarron River High Country.
Overnight Walk Wade Trips Cimarron River High Country. Overnight Float Fishing Trips Drift Boat, 3-Day DELUXE Gunnison Gorge.
Best guided fly fishing trip for a trophy fish: Sight Fishing with Matt McCannel.
Best guided fly fishing trip for quantity of fish caught: Full-Day Cimarron River, Drift Boat Float Fishing, Guides Choice Tenkara Guided Trip.
Best guided fly fishing trip for dry fly fishing: San Miguel River (July-August), Gunnison River (June – August) and Uncompahgre River (July – September).
Best guided fly fishing trip for non-anglers: Full-Day or Half Day Cimarron River or San Miguel River.

Walk-Wade Trip Options:

Half Day or Full Day – Guided Fly Fishing – Uncompahgre River
Walk Wade the Uncompahgre River and its tributaries, below Ridgway Reservoir, in Ridgway State Park. One of Southern Colorado’s best tailwater fisheries, the Uncompahgre offers anglers a chance to discover an unparalleled fishing experience year-round.
Half Day or Full Day – Guided Fly Fishing – San Miguel River
Winding through the majestic San Juan Mountains in the shadows of 14,000 foot Mount Wilson, the San Miguel River is one of Colorado’s most spectacular and least known fly fishing destinations. Gin clear water, coupled with prolific insect hatches, provide even beginner anglers a rare opportunity to experience classic Colorado dry fly fishing, to eager rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
Half Day or Full Day – Guided Fly Fishing – Cimarron River
High Alpine fishing at its best! The Cimarron River offers endless fishing for Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brook Trout. As one of the most beautiful settings in Colorado, the Cimarron High Country offers rare opportunities for solitude, native fish and remote access. If you’re looking for a real Colorado backcountry experience… it doesn’t get better than this.
Full Day – Guided Fly Fishing – Gunnison River
Experience classic big western river fly fishing in the heart of Colorado’s Gold Medal Trout Waters! Explore 10 miles of pristine Gold Medal Waters including a RIGS exclusive 2-mile stretch of Private Property on Angell Canyon Ranch (across from Pleasure Park & Gunnison Forks) within the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area is included in the price of your trip!
Sight Fishing – Paco with RIGS Guide Matt McCannel
Our sight fishing trout trips are for the single angler with a singular mission; to catch the trout of a lifetime. This is not a trip for the beginner or even an intermediate angler; patient experienced anglers only.
2 Day Overnight Guided Fly Fishing Cimarron High Country
Dispersed or campground camping with high country fishing at its best! With their headwaters protected in the Uncompahgre Wilderness, the three different forks of the Cimarron River offer endless fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.
Tenkara Walk Wade Trips
Tenkara fly fishing is a simplified approach; offering clients an easier hands-on transition to learning the sport of fly fishing with less moving parts while providing the seasoned angler an alternative method for smaller streams and creeks. Learn the techniques for close-up nymphing, soft-hackle wet and virtually drag-free dry fly fishing. We offer three different Guided Tenkara Fly Fishing Trips. Half Day – Guided TENKARA Fly Fishing – (Guides Choice), Full Day – TENKARA Fly Fishing – (Guides Choice), 2 Day Overnight Guided TENKARA Fly Fishing Cimarron High Country.

Guide Float Fly Fishing Trips:

Full Day – Drift Boat Float Fishing – Gunnison River (Pleasure Park)

Float the incredible Lower Gunnison River (Pleasure Park) and experience world-class fly fishing for massive Rainbow and Brown Trout. Explore miles of pristine trout laden waters with access to areas that you could not reach on foot. This section features incredible hatches, impressive desert canyon ecology, and almost year-round fishing for the discerning angler.
Overnight 2 Day Drift Boat Float Fishing – Lower Gunnison River (Pleasure Park)
RIGS now brings its unique blend of quality custom adventures to Guided Drift Boat fishing for the discerning angler. This Overnight trip is available through a surprisingly secluded section of river each season when “run-off” subsides on the North Fork of the Gunnison River (typically Mid June – November) as well as the region’s only winter float fishing option.

Float Fishing – Uncompahgre River – Single Angler Boats
Experienced anglers will appreciate this opportunity to explore the seldom fished waters of the lower Uncompahgre River via a custom, single passenger “Mini-Max” inflatable raft built for float fishing this unique river. Select months of availability – call the shop for more information.

Gunnison Gorge Float Trips:

3 Day “DELUXE” – Float Fishing – Gunnison River (Gunnison Gorge NCA “Wilderness”)
Experience Colorado’s top Wilderness Overnight Float Fishing Trip! This secluded 14 mile Gold Medal trout fishery is located in Southwest Colorado’s Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area (NCA) and is commercially restricted to just two commercial launches per-day (max party size 12 people, including the guides!), making it one of the most highly restricted river sections in North America. Take gold medal water trout fishing, spectacular remote canyon ecology, geology, wildlife, challenging class II-III+ whitewater, and combine it with the finest quality amenities, equipment, cuisine, and guides on the river, and you truly have a “trip of a lifetime”!

Hopefully, this blog will help you narrow your decision down to what guided fly fishing trip you want to go on. Or it just may convince you that there are quite a few guided trips that you want to go on ;). Lucky for you we are open year-round and our fly fishing guides are happy to guide you multiple times a year. For more information on our guided fly fishing trips start here. If you would like to book a trip, give our reservations team a call at 970-626-4460 or email us at