Fishing report February 22, 2017
Dolores ~ Uncompahgre ~ San Miguel ~ Gunnison
San Miguel River: Warm weather in early February has more or less completely thawed the San Miguel. March conditions now prevail from Telluride all the way downstream. Fish have been surprisingly active, with several reports of trout slapping dry flies in addition to the predictable nymphing success. We are catching the most fish in the middle of the day under a nice, high sun. All kinds of standard nymphs may be effective, including the Pat's Rubber Legs, Smethurst's Stone Bomb, Prince variations, Hare's Ear variations, the Mayhem, Micro May, Zebra Midge (especially red) and egg patterns.
Dolores River: Suddenly snow free between approximately Stoner and Dolores, the lower sections of the Upper Dolores River offer outstanding early season fishing. Telluride Outside's private leases on Lightenburger, Line Camp, Bayless and Redburn's Ranch are ready to go. We are catching fish on a host of nymphs that represent the immature forms of summer's abundant hatching aquatic insects: stoneflies, caddis and several different mayflies. Our guides are generally rigging dry-dropper rather than fishing two nymphs under an indicator. Flows are low and clear, so making a stealthy presentation can be the difference between hooking one fish and potentially hooking several in a stacked pool. Our best patterns closely resemble those for the San Miguel.
Uncompahgre: (63 cfs at Pa-Co): Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is slowly improving after a tough January and early February. Flows have been increased from 41 cfs to 63 cfs. Overall trout activity has increased in the last week as fish spread out and feed through longer hours. Insect activity is also increasing with modest midge hatches occuring on most days. Many anglers find that a midge pupa fished behind an egg pattern is more effective than double or triple nymphing entirely with midges. The theory is that a bright fly attracts the trout's attention, even if fish rarely eat the attractor. Light tippets help with tricky presentations, so play your best tech game.
Gunnison: (1,210 cfs in the Black Canyon): Fish have spread out all over the place in these generous winter flows. Fishing has picked up nicely over the last couple weeks, especially upstream from the Pleasure Park. Downstream from the Gunnison Forks, the river has been touch-and-go for water clarity due to low elevation runoff on warm days from the North Fork. Cold nights solve that problem. Over the next few weeks, blue winged olives will join midges on the menu and fish will likely rise on cloudy days, especially mid-day when hatches intensify. Nymphing will be the most productive technique, but the clever angler will watch for noses and dry fly opportunities. Best nymphs include the Mayhem, JuJu Baetis and Juju Midge, Pheasant Tail, Miracle Nymph, Winker Midge and other midge pupa patterns.
Please call Telluride Angler with your fishing questions. We will be happy to steer you toward our best local fly fishing opportunities. 1-800-831-6230