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Fishing Conditions

May 10, 2022

Dolores ~ Uncompahgre ~ San Miguel ~ Gunnison


San Miguel

Several consecutive warm days have cut loose the San Miguel snowpack.  The river is flowing about 500 cfs at Placerville, muddy and unfishable.  This is good news for anglers in late June, a period of prolific hatches that may be fishable this year if runoff does its thing in late May and early June.  Right now, we're fishing mid-elevation lakes and a few select creeks in the San Miguel watershed, but not the main river.  



Flows in Rico are 560 cfs and 1,780 cfs in Dolores. No part of the Dolores will be fishable over the next two weeks, but we're expecting an early season on this river as flows promise to drop and clear in the first half of June.  



Flows from Crystal Dam are 385 cfs into the Black Canyon. We are expecting the flows to remain very close to this level throughout the summer with a flushing release in early June. These are our best guesses from piecing together Bureau of Reclamation reports and forecasts.  The North Fork Gunnison has been pulsing muddy, so we're mostly fishing in the Black Canyon and above the Gunnison River Pleasure Park.  Hatches of caddis, BWOs and midges trigger strong fishing throughout the Gunnison.  Dry fly action can occur on any section of the river corresponding with a hatch.  Between hatches, fish faster water with stonefly and caddis nymphs, or deep seems with smaller, techier mayfly and midge nymphs.  A wide variety of patterns are catching fish right now.  Given the low flow regime, we're predicting an early salmonfly hatch, probably beginning immediately after the flushing release drops.  Stay tuned for dates on that particular event.



Flows at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk are 56.9 cfs, low, clear and great for sight fishing. The fish population seems strong at Pa-Co, but the full tech approach is necessary to consistently catch these finicky fish. You will start to see more bug activity as spring rolls into summer, but for now the small midge larva with a flossy worm, leech or small egg pattern in front is the rig to start with. Watch the fish and take advantage of the clear water to hone your sight nymphing skills. When I’m fishing this technical water, I watch the fish I’m targeting more than I watch my indicator. Run a few drifts by to figure out the depth and determine the trout’s feeding lane. Pay attention to the fish’s behavior and watch for a reaction to your presentation, positive or negative and adjust. Once I feel like my flies are in the wheelhouse, I start making my drifts and I try to only watch the fish. The takes are subtle. A little bit of white showing from the mouth, a slight shift towards the vicinity of the fly or just any different behavior from the fish are all times you should give a little half set to see if you’re connected. When you crack the code, remember what you did. Mayer’s Mini Leech #14, flossy worm #14 and small yarn or otter eggs are great point flies. Red thread midge, miracle nymph, desert storm, neon nightmares and jujubee midges in #20-#24 are go to flies for the second. We’re still a ways from the drakes and cahills down there, but that time will be here before we know it.


Miramonte Reservoir:  Ice-free and fishing alright with streamers, Miramonte will improve with every passing week between now and early summer.  For now, pull your favorite wooly bugger or crawfish pattern in deeper water.  Watch for mayfly and midge hatches beginning in mid-May and be ready to move your game to the shallows for dry fly fishing.


Dolores River private leases:  snowpack is below average, so expect outstanding fishing starting in mid-June.

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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