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Fishing Conditions

Fishing report September 16, 2020

Dolores ~ Uncompahgre ~ San Miguel ~ Gunnison


San Miguel (85 cfs below Placerville):  We're enjoying terrific fall fishing on the San Miguel.  Water temperatures are optimal, blue wings are hatching and fish still seam eager to eat attractor flies, both above and below the surface.  Small attractors such as a size #16 Stimulator, Wulff or Parachute Adams will consistently fool fish through mid-October.  The Chubby Chernobyl is the supreme point fly in a dry-dropper combination.  Fish are still eating that thing up and down the San Miguel, including, surprisingly, on the low gradient Valley Floor.  When fish won't rise, catch them on nymphs ranging from the Pat's Rubber Legs (following rain) to the Mayhem, Killer Mayfly and every version of a Pheasant Tail.  Enjoy.  


Dolores (26cfs below Rico, 175cfs at Dolores): The San Miguel is fishing stronger than the Upper Dolores and its creeks, but if you find yourself on that side of Lizard Head Pass with a fly rod, it's still worth your time.  Water temperatures are much colder than two weeks ago, which raises overall trout activity.  Fish will still eat both dry flies and nymphs, but flies must be presented precisely and delicately.  Fish 6X leaders with long tippets to your dry flies, in particular the smaller BWO and terrestrial patterns that fish love this time of year.  Ants and small beetles are good choices.  When nymphing, use a hopper-dropper rather than a strike indicator rig.  Small mayfly nymphs such as the Military Mayfly, Mayhem and the Killer Mayfly.  


Uncompahgre (60 cfs):  Flows are now officially low, but a few PMDs continue to hatch and dry fly opportunities present themselves almost every day.  Rising fish will be found mostly on deep water seam lines.  These fish require a delicate presentation with a long, light tippet (at least 6X) and a sophisticated fly choice.  Our favorite patterns include the Burk's Silhouette Dun, Quigley's Sparkle Flag PMD, Hackle Dun PMD, No Hackles and other techniquely tuned imitations.  Streamer fishing remains a viable alternative even at these low flows, a good way to kill a couple hours waiting for a hatch.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison (501 cfs):  In September, the best dry fly opportunities occur when blue winged olives hatch, especially under cloudcover.  Nymphing will be the predominant technique until early October.  While good fishing is expected almost every day, it will be streaky, rising and falling on subtle changes in water temperature and the somewhat sparse BWO hatch.  In addition to BWO dries and nymphs, make sure to pack a few streamers and stonefly nymphs, which might move a big fish even without a hatch.

Miramonte Reservoir:  Exciting fall fishing should soon usurp the summer doldrums.  A dearth of hatches and uncomfortable water temperatures send the trout deep in August, but it's cooling down pronouncedly in SW Colorado.  Soon, blue winged olives will hatch and the trout will stage higher in the water column, begin to roam the flats and notice that a few hoppers are still blowing around, as well as ants and beetles.  They will rise to a variety of fly patterns in late September and October, offering a potentially spectacular finale to what has already been a darn good season at Miramonte.  Check it out soon.

Dolores River private leases:  Available only to guide service clients, Telluride Outside's private leases on the Dolores and West Fork Dolores offer tremendous fishing and unique solitude.  Above the West Fork confluence, the Upper Dolores is thin, clear and tricky.  The water is cold once again, however, so the stealthy angler may have success on Roaring Fork and Rico River Ranch, especially on cloudy days.  Below the confluence, the miracle of irrigation management has kept terrific flows in the main stem of the river since early August.  Over 100 cfs is flowing from Groundhog Reservoir, through Groundhog and Fish Creek, into the West Fork Dolores and downstream into McPhee Reservoir.  As a consequence, the lower 14 miles of the main branch are flowing over 150 cfs, an outstanding fishing flow by any standard.



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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