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Fishing Conditions

Fishing report July 28, 2019

Dolores ~ Uncompahgre ~ San Miguel ~ Gunnison


San Miguel (approx 500-700 cfs):  Now fishable by the cautious angler, the San Miguel is "fishing" much better than it is "wading."  Its water ranges in clarity, but aquatic insects are hatching in profusion:  PMDs, Yellow Sallie stoneflies, midges and clouds of caddis.  While most of the river remains a challenge to access, in places, fish may be caught on dry flies.  Nymphing and heavy dry-dropper rigs will produce the most fish, of course.  Keep your rigging simple:  one large nymph or two with a short dropper tippet between them.  Long, complicated leaders are prone to drag in the heavy, complex currents.  Stonefly patterns ranging from the Pat's Rubber Legs and Smethurst Stone Bomb (#8-10) all the way down to the Tung-Head Sallie (#16-18) are among the most effective flies.  Mix in your favorite caddis and mayfly nymphs.  The menu is broad, but visibility and weight are key to successful fly patterns while the water remains pushy.


Dolores:  (145 cfs at Rico, 350 cfs at Dolores)   The Dolores is simply magnificent in this flow range.  Except following hard rain, the river is clear from top to bottom, filling its banks ideally for fisherman and fish alike.  Water temperatures are optimal, ranging from 50 to 62 degrees.  Abundant hatches are bolstered by heavy terrestrial activity and the annual hatch of "spruce moths," which finds their way into the river and look conveniently like a large caddis.  Fish free rise throughout the day and almost everything is working.  Come out throwing dry flies until the fish dictate otherwise:  Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Caddis, Stimulators and their variations, JC Special, Turck's Tarantula, Hippie Stomper, Amy's Ant and all of your favorite hopper patterns.  If a dropper is deemed necessary, make it a Guide's Choice Hare's Ear or PT Soft Hackle in size #14-16.

Uncompahgre (454 cfs):  Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is imminently fishable.  Flows are still pushy, but way down from their peak and dropping each week.  The fishing is fundamentally strong.  Our summer "pinkie" PMD hatch is underway with fish feeding throughout the water column on mayfly nymphs, emergers and adults.  Midges supplement the primary hatch and grasshoppers scuttle in the riverside grasses.  Nymphing will be the primary technique until flows drop below 300 cfs, at which point fish will likely take the adult insects regularly.  Fish technical PMD nymphs:  the Mayhem, Split Case PMD Emerger, RS2 Emerger, WD-40 and other low-profile patterns.  When fish rise, try a  Quiqley's Sparkle Flag, AK's Melon Quill, Hacklestacker Dun or other techy adult imitation. 

Gunnison (2,570 cfs):  Snowpack was underestimated, so the Bureau of Reclamation is releasing 2,570 cfs through the Black Canyon to prevent the upstream reservoirs from spilling.  Fishing is still fantastic through the Canyon and the Lower Gunnison, but wading is challenging and the fish are pushed to the banks.  In the Canyon, try hoppers and PMDs on top.  Back eddies provide the best opportunity to catch free-rising fish.  Nymph pockets and edges with caddis, PMD and Yellow Sallie stoneflies nymphs.  Watch for Trico hatches mid-morning, particularly below the Smith Fork confluence.  This enigmatic hatch can provide terrific dry fly fishing, even in high flows.


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

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Telluride Outside

Box 685, 121 W. Colorado Ave.
Telluride, CO 81435
800.831.6230 ~ 970.728.3895
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