Fly Fishing Uncompahgre River Colorado
Fly fishing Uncompahgre River Colorado
Copyright 2016
James Marsh
Description of Uncompahgre River, Continued:
The stream has a lot of work that has been done on it to make it a better habitat. At
first it was too swift. Boulders and logs have been placed in the stream to provide
additional cover for the fish. There are plenty of rainbows, browns and cutthroat trout
in the catch and release waters. The lower section of the river has a lot of brown trout.

This stream flow is strictly controlled by the releases from the dam but the discharges
are usually very stable. This stream can be fished even during the spring run off.

There is also some access in Billy Creek State Wildlife Area not far downstream from
the Pa-C0-Chu-Puk State Park. Most of the river farther downstream towards
Montrose flows through private property.

Unlike many tailwaters, the Uncompahgre River has a very good aquatic insect
population. Mayflies, stoneflies, midges and caddisflies are plentiful. There are also
plenty of sculpin and small baitfish for the trout to eat. It is often necessary to match
the hatch or match what is about to hatch if you expect much success.

The number one feature of this relatively small Colorado tailwater trout stream is the
fact it can be fished most days of the year. The season is open year-round and the
fishing is usually very good throughout the winter months. There are a few days you
the fly line might  want to freeze up in the guides but those are fewer than those nice,
warm winter days.

Rainbow trout, brown trout and cutthroat trout are plentiful in the Uncompahgre River.
We have managed to catch all three species each and every day we have fished the
river. That's only been about a dozen times, but that says a lot about the stream in our

The “Unc” is short for the name of the river. It flows through Montrose on its way to the
Gunnison River providing several public access fishing opportunities.  “Paco”, is short
for Pa-co-chu-puk, the tailwater section below Ridgway Dam in the Ridgway State
Park. If your looking for a new Colorado trout fishing adventure, give this stream a try.
You will probably be surprised at the number and size of the trout it can produce.
Type of Stream

Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Cutthroat Trout
(Wild and Stocked)


Western Central Colorado

Nearest Towns



Non-Resident License
State of Colorado

National Weather Service

Hatch Chart
Uncompahagre River Hatch

Fly Fishing Gear and
Trout Flies

Stream Flow Data:
USGS Real Time Data
Uncompahgre River
Spring is probably the best time to fish the river. Flows can be high during the runoff.
Pale Morning Duns offer great dry fly action throughout the entire summer.
Fall is also a great time to fish the Uncompahgre.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Uncompahgre River:
The methods and techniques used for fly fishing the Uncompahagre River varies
greatly with the season. The Uncompahgre River tailwater is a dam-controlled river
that provides relatively constant flows just about year-round.  Its Pale Morning Dun
hatch is one of Colorado's best and can last almost three months long. It provides
excellent winter fishing because it never freezes over. The elevation of the stream is
only about 6500 feet which is lower than most Colorado trout streams.

During the winter you can fish imitations of midge larvae, pupae and adults and catch
trout on most any day. Another popular method is to sight nymph fish. There are
some large trout that can easily be spotted in relatively shallow water, then cast to
with a nymph. This is not only very exciting but also very productive. In fact, winter is
a great time to fish this river.
The best way to fish this river is to first of all, stay out of the water as much as you
can. There are few places you cannot reach casting from one side of the stream.
That said, I wouldn't recommend you fish without waders because there are a few
places you may want to get into the water to get a better shot at a certain fish or lie.

We recommend you fish this one in an upstream direction. The water in the state
park area is best described as pocket water and fishing in an upstream direction
allows you to get closer to the fish and make short, more accurate cast. There are a
few situations where you may find a fish in a pool or slow moving area of water. In
that case you may be better off making  a downstream or down and across
presentation but for the most part, upstream works best.

The trout are easiest to catch in the faster moving water of the runs and riffles. The
larger fish tend to hold up in the pools sometimes, so don't eliminate them. You may
want to work them with a nymph or larvae imitation.
Uncompahgre River Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly suggestions on imitating the most plentiful and
most available insects and other foods at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike the
generic fly shop trout flies, we have specific imitations of all the insects in the
Uncompahgre River and in all stages of life that are applicable to fishing. If you want to
fish better, more realistic trout flies, have a much higher degree of success, give us a
call.  We not only will help you with selections, you will learn why, after trying Perfect
Flies, 92% of the thousands of our customers will use nothing else.

Midges hatch throughout the year but are most important when nothing else is
hatching. For the most part, that is during the winter. There are days when the weather
is good that trout can be caught on dry fly imitations of adult midges during the winter.

The Blue-winged Olives hatch in February and March and again in August, September
and October. This hatch is fairly consistent and produces some great dry fly action.

During the months of July and August you will probably find some Little Yellow
Stoneflies hatching. These are called Yellow Sallies by most anglers.

The PMDs or Pale Morning Duns can hatch from about the middle of June all the way
to the middle of September. This is a great hatch to fish.

There are several species of caddisflies that hatch on the Uncompahgre River.
Probably the most important of them are the Spotted Sedges. These caddisflies can
hatch from June through September, depending on the particular species.
Green Sedges are fairly plentiful on this stream. Imitations of their larvae, called Rock
Worms, are effective flies to use. These caddisflies usually hatch in May and June.

Terrestrial insects,consisting of ants, beetles and grasshoppers, are important insects
to imitate during the summer. You want to have imitations of them anytime from about
the first of June until the first of October. Ants seem to work great on this river.

Streamers are effective flies to use only when there is a lot of rain to slightly dingy the
water and during very late and very early times of the day. The water stays very clear
throughout the year so the low light situations are usually necessary for you to get
good results from the streamers. The river has a good population of Sculpin, so you
may want to try imitations of them.

We hope you will give our "Perfect Fly" line of trout flies a try if you haven't done so
already. They are the most realistic and effective trout flies you can purchase. If you
give them a chance, we are certain you will be glad you did.

There may be other insects that hatch in large enough quantities to add to this list. If
anyone can provide any additional information, please contact us at the email address
You can catch trout from this stream year-round.

Fish can be taken from the stream during the coldest days you can stand to fish.
Midges are the main food source. The river never freezes over.
Uncompahgre River Fishing Report - Archive:
Angie fishing Uncompahgre River
Uncompahgree River Colorado
fly fishing Uncompahgre River
fly fishing Uncompahgre River Colorado
10/21/16 Fishing Report
01/10/14 Still no reports from anyone fishing the
Uncompahgre tailwater but conditions remain about the
same. It is one of the few places in Colorado you can
catch trout all winter long.
01/17/14 Much better weather is in the forecast for the
coming week. It should be clear all week and warmer.
01/24/14 Reports came in from two anglers who were
catching some nice browns and rainbows this past
week using our
Perfect Fly midges.
01/31/14 More good fishing reports mostly due to the
much better weather conditions but snow and colder
weather is forecast.
02/07/14 No reports of fish caught. There is a lot of snow
forecast for the coming week but actually, warmer
temperatures. PS: This is one of the best streams in
Colorado to fish at this time of the year.
02/14/14 Much better weather is forecast. Stream levels
should also be fine. Let us hear from you.
02/21/14 One good report from our local contact. He
reported catching over a dozen trout in two different four
hour day of fishing.
02/28/14 We received another report of fish being caught.
One customer ordered more
Blue-winged Olive nymphs,
duns and spinners and more midges.
03/07/14 The Uncompahgre continues to be one of the
best options for fly fishing in the state. Two customers
reported some good result the past week.
03/14/14 We had several customers ordering flies for the
Uncompahgre this past week. It continues to be one of
the best kelp secrets in Colorado.
03/21/14 Two more good reports came in from the
tailwater. One with an 18 inch brown.
03/28/14 No reports from anyone fishing came in but
conditions are still very good.
04/04/14 It is a good thing this little tailwater isn't close
to Denver. You wouldn't be able to find a rock to stand
04/11/14 Discharges have been high at time and up and
down. No reports came in this past week from anglers.
Options For Selecting Flies:
Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
04/25/14 Little Black Caddis (Mother's day hatch) and
Western March Browns should start hatching any day
05/02/14 Three good fishing reports came in from
customers this past week. Fishing has been very good
with some dry fly action at times.
05/16/14 Two anglers reported catching trout this past
week when the streams everywhere else in the state was
05/23/14 The spring runoff has started and the discharges
will probably be high for some time now.
06/06/14 Runoff continues and the dam is discharging a lot
of water. It will probably be this way for another few days.
06/14/14 Stream levels are below normal. You
should keep a close eye on the levels but
conditions are fine right now. We didn't get any
reports from anyone this past week.
06/20/14 Two very good reports of cutts, rainbows
and browns being caught this past week. Both
were customers using our Brown sculpin
07/04/14 High discharges and water levels have
been a problem the past few days but conditions
are back to normal and fishing
07/18/14 Customers still catching trout consistently. Levels have been good and
hatches have been occurring frequently..
07/25/14 More good fishing reports from this fine little trout stream. Lots of
PMDs and Little Yellow stoneflies hatching.
08/01/14 Although there have been some strong flows a couple of times lately,
plenty of trout are still being caught.
08/15/14 Discharges have been good and lots of trout have been caught the
past two weeks. Small BWO nymphs and terrestrials are working. Tricos are
hatching in the slower sections.
08/19/14 This is a little hidden gem. Anglers are almost always catching plenty
of trout. Terrestrials are working lately.
09/12/14 Still one of the best little trout streams in Colorado. Anglers are
catching trout on a regular basis.
09/26/14 Except for the White River, I think this is Colorado's best unknown
trout stream. Anglers are catching trout as consistent as anywhere in the state.
10/10/14 Two more good reports from customers fishing the tailwater. Lots of
trout and few anglers. What more can we say.
BWOs will be the main insects
to imitate for the next several weeks.
10/17/14 This little tailwater just keeps on producing nice trout for the few
locals and visitors that fish it. One good report last week from a customer using
Brown Sculpin.
10/24/14 Anglers are still catching trout and doing so with streamers and BWO
nymphs and duns.
11/17/14 Two good reports from the past week from local customers. The
tailwater is still fishing good.
12/12/14 Sorry for the slow reports. Our local contact was out of town. We had
two good reports from customers this past week using Midges, BWO nymphs
and Sculpin streamers.
12/19/14 Two good reports from the past week. Midges are catching trout.
Use Cream Midge larva and pupa imitations in tandem.
12/26/14 Another good report from the past week. Midges are the key. Colder
weather is in the forecast.
01/02/15 No reports from the past week.
01/09/15 Customer reported catching several nice trout on midges this past
couple of days.
01/15/14 No reports from last week but conditions remain good if not
01/23/15 One good report from a customer. He is catching trout on our Cream
midge larva ad pupa fished in tandem.
01/30/15 Another good report from a local customer. The discharges have
been perfect and the weather not bad at all.
02/06/15 Another good report from last week and an very nice weather
forecast for the next several days.
02/13/15 Except for some times the water was flowing high, the past week has
produced a good number of trout according to our local contact.
02/20/15 No reports came in but conditions remain good.
03/06/15 Three good reports from the past two weeks. Much better weather
is in the forecast for this coming week.
03/20/15The good fishing has continued for the past couple of weeks, with
BWO hatches, midges and streamers working best.
03/27/15 The discharges have been high  for the past five days.
04/10/15 This is about the only stream in the state that has had much of any
good fishing opportunity. Two good reports came in from last week.
04/24/15 Good reports, good discharge levels and lots of new hatches. Little
Black Caddis and March Browns.
06/12/15 Runoff is underway. High discharges and not much opportunity.
07/03/15 They are still cranking out a lot of water at 597 cfs. Keep a check on
the levels and fishi it as soon as it drops.
07/10/15 It is down some from last week but still too high to wade.
07/17/15 Levels are down and the water clear. Lots of BWOs, PMDs, Little
Yellow SF Spotted and Green sedges hatching.
08/07/15 In addition to the insects listed just above, our imitations of Carpenter
ants and Japanese beetles are working good.
08/14/15 The Uncompahgae River is often overlooked in the summer because of
so many other good streams in the state. That is a big mistake.
08/21/15 Discharges have been low and anglers wade easily any where they
want to fish. Still having hatches.
08/28/15 Good stream levels and weather equals good fishing opportunities. Still
having some nice hatches.
09/04/15 Two reports of some very nice catches. One included a large brown and
another a 30 fish day.
09/11/15 Don't expect the locals to promote this little gem of a tailwater. It is red
hot with a lot of trout being caught.
09/18/15 Low discharges and great weather makes this a top western Colorado
destination. This area is popular with campers.
09/25/15 Great conditions with a lot of trout being caught. There have been some
very good hatches of Mahogany Duns lately.
10/03/15 Anglers are beginning to some the big Giant Orange caddis,. or October
Caddis as they are known by most anglers.
10/16/15 Great weather and good discharge rates exist right now but there is
rain on the way. Keep a close check on the discharges.
10/23/15 The river is flowing at 218 cfs, a little above normal, but could change
anytime, of course. Cooler weather is bringing on a good Blue-winged olive
10/30/15 There's been little rain and discharges should be low for the next few
days. This tailwater is a real sleeper that's usually just fished by the locals. Lots
of BWOs hatching.
11/06/15 Discharges are low and good stream levels exist. Blue-winged olives and
midges are the main insects to imitate. Brown Sculpin work for the post-spawn
brown trout.
11/13/15 Good stream levels and mild weather equals good fishing opportunity. It
is a very good time to fish this little overlooked tailwater.
11/20/15 This tailwater is as good of a fishing destination as you could have
selected last week and again, this week. Good flows, water in the low fifties at
the outflow and lots of trout.
11/27/15 A reliable local called to give us a good report this past week. Good
flows and midges hatching big time. This maybe the best fly fishing destination in
the state right now.
12/04/15 Conditions are looking very good. Low stream levels and discharges
expected and great weather. Midges, BWOs and our Brown Sculpin streamer fly
does it.
The discharges are still a little high at 151 cfs but you can still select some places to
wade. Blue-winged olive and Mahogany dun hatches are taking place. Our customers
are catching some large brown trout. They are in the pre-spawn stage and our Brown
Sculpin streamer will catch them.

Uncompahrge River Fishing Report Archive At the Bottom of the Page)
Fly Fishing On The
Uncompahgre River
Tailwater In Colorado
The Uncompahgre River Tailwater is one of
the state's newest tailwaters located in the
Pa-Co-Chu-Puk  State Park below Ridgeway
Reservoir. This stream has some great trout
fishing opportunities throughout the entire
year. There is about a mile and a half of
water within the state park. Fly fishing the
Uncompahgre River is now comparable to fly
fishing most other of the state's tailwater
12/11/15 More good reports came in from the past week. There is snow forecast
most every day this coming week but it should continue to be good fly fishing
conditions. Winter Stoneflies are hatching.
12/25/15 Uncompahgree River tailwater is probably the best fly fishing destination
in the state of Colorado right now. You can get there even with all the snow and the
bottom discharge water is about 42 degrees. You can catch trout all day long on

01/01/16 This little tailwater is as good of a place as you could select to fish at this
time of the season. The bottom discharge stays about the same temperature all
winter long. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the main aquatic insects you should
be imitating.

01/08/16 The discharges are strong right now, but should settle down soon. The
snow ends today and it will be clear and cold for the next five days. Fish the
uppermost section for the warmest water. Midges and winter stonefly nymphs are
the flies you need.

01/15/16 The stream levels are currently low and in good shape for the wading
angler. You should keep a check on the discharges, but meantime, conditions are
great for this time of the year. Fish as close as practical to the tailwater release.
The water is warmer.

01/22/16 Discharges from the dam are low permitting wading just about anywhere
you want to. Midges, both cream and red (or blood midges) are the main food the
trout are eating. There are some Winter stoneflies. Fish the nymph until you see
egg layers.

01/29/16 The stream levels are fine for wading and it appears the discharges will
remain low, but you need to make sure you check them. Midges, both cream and
red, and winter stonefly nymphs are the main insects you need to imitate at this

02/05/16 This tailwater is located in an unpopulated section of the state of
Colorado, or otherwise, it would have anglers lined up shoulder to shoulder fishing.
You can catch several trout a day and some are over 16 inches or better. Midges
and Winter stoneflies.

02/12/16 The weather is going to be ranging from a high of 45 to 50 degrees each
day. That is going to make it more comfortable on anyone fishing. The water
temperature of the tailwater discharge won't likely change, but may get stained
from melting snow.

02/19/16 There is a lot of clear, warmer weather for the next few days and good
discharge levels at this time. It should be an excellent time to fish. The water in the
middle and lower sections of the tailwater is a little warmer but we still are
recommending the upper part.

02/26/16 The weather will be warm enough this weekend to melt some more snow
and stain the water some. The stream level is in good shape and the water
temperature about 37 degrees. Midges and winter stoneflies are the best fly

03/04/16 discharges remain low and the stream levels excellent for wading anglers.
The weather is going to be mild for this time of the season and you can expect
midges and little Blue-winged olives to continue to hatch about the middle of the

03/11/16 The stream levels and discharges are low, and conditions as good as they
get at this time of the season. Midges, blue-winged olives and winter stoneflies are
hatching. Fish the cream and red midge pupa and larva in tandem and the winter
stonefly nymphs.

03/25/16 There is little changes that have taken place during the last week. The
Stagecoach tailwater is still the place to fish. Some guys are traveling there on
snow skies when the road are not clear enough to travel. Midges and little BWO
nymphs are still the best fly options.

04/01/16 The discharges are still running high and wading either not possible or
tough (unsafe). We don't expect the high levels to continue. You will just have to
watch the level. The link to do that is below.

04/08/15 The discharges and stream levels are low right now, and a great time to
fish the river. March Browns and little Black caddis are starting to hatch. Blue-
winged olives and midges are hatching very good with the heavy cloud cover.

04/15/16 The discharges are still low and the stream safe to wade but we don't
think that is going to last very long. There is a winter storm warning with heavy
snow forecast through this coming Monday. Conditions are going downhill but you
still may be able to fish as long as the discharges are low.

04/22/16 There is very little chance of snow for a couple of days. The weather is
going to be mostly nice. As of now, the discharges are very low, wading easy but
also easy to spook the trout. You will need to use some stealth and make good

04/29/16 There is snow forecast through Monday and then clearing for the next
three days. The discharges are normal right now and customers are still reporting
good catches on Midges, March Browns and little Blue-winged olives.

05/06/16 Ops, we lost the last report.

05/13/16 The stream levels are up a little and normally stay this way in the Spring
when the headwaters are in runoff but it is in good enough shape to wade in places
and still offers some of the best fly fishing opportunities in the state of Colorado at
this time. The water is still clear and hatches are continuing to take place.

05/20/16 stream is flowing rather high and strong due to heavier than normal
discharges. They have to keep the lake levels down during runoff. You can wade it
in places and many places you can't. You can usually cast across it from the bank
where you can't wade. Blue-winged olives are hatching good along with Green
sedge caddis.

05/26/16 The stream is at 2.89 ft running at 474 cfs which is high. The runoff in the
headwaters is in full force and they have to keep the lake levels down. You will just
have to watch the stream levels. You still can fish streamers, but the water is high
and it wouldn't be safe to wade anywhere. Keep checking back with us.

06/3/16 TThe river is at 454 cfs at 3.86 ft. That is strong current that will limit the
wading areas but you can still fish most of the Uncompahgre river from the banks.
Sculpin streamers would be our choice for early mornings. Blue-winged olive or
Pale Morning dun nymphs would be our choice until we spotted some surface action.

06/16/16 The flows are all still very high at all three USGS stations. The runoff is
starting to subside and the water drop but it has a long way to go. It is very dingy
and not worth fishing anywhere yet. You should use the time to plan that next trip
and shoot us an email so we can help you do that. The address is across the page
on your right.  

07/01/16 The discharges are currently high, but that is because of recent rain
raising the lake level. The runoff is mostly over. There are a lot of insects hatching.
One good thing about this stream is you can fish many places from the bank and
catch trout. We think the heavy discharges will be subsiding very soon and you will
be able to wade safely.

07/15/16 The stream levels are finally in good shape and you can wade about
anywhere. The Pale Morning Dun hatches are plentiful, bringing a lot of trout to the
surface. There are two caddis species hatching and the Little Yellow stoneflies are
going full steam ahead.

07/22/16 The stream levels are in good shape most of the time and you can wade
the stream. Watch your step as the currents can be strong in places. We expect
the discharges to lighten up some this coming week, but you will need to keep a
close check on them. There are lots of insects hatching. Tricos have started to

07/29/16 The stream levels are staying about the same and our customers are
reporting that they are catching good numbers of trout. There are still plenty of
hatches taking place. Fish streamers early in the morning and the caddisfly and
stonefly egg laying activity in the late afternoons.

08/04/16 The river is flowing at 441 cfs at 2.84 ft. That is a little high but can be
fished easily. Wading is tough in places but okay in others. There are still lots of
little Yellow stoneflies, two species of caddis and lots of Pale Morning duns. You
will find some non-baetis species of Blue-winged olives, size 20 and some Tricos.

08/12/16 The stream levels are just a little above normal but you can wade much of
it safely. We are getting some good reports of catches. The weather has settled
down and the hatches still going good. Pale Morning Duns, Blue-winged olives,
Spotted sedges, Green sedges, Little Sister caddis are hatching and terrestrials
are working good.

08/19/16 The discharges and stream levels are in great shape, near a normal level.
Caddisflies of three species are hatching good. Tricos are very plentiful with
spinners falling each late morning followed by hatches. The best fishing takes place
the last two hours of the day. Imitate the egg laying caddisflies.

08/26/16 The stream levels and discharges are good. Wading is possible most
everywhere. Lots of hatches are taking place from little Blue-winged olives, little
Yellow stoneflies, some PMDs, and lots of caddisflies, including Little sister caddis,
Spotted Sedges, and Green sedges. Tricos are hatching.

09/02/16 Stream levels are back down to normal levels allowing good wading
conditions. Larger size baetis Blue-winged olives are starting to hatch in addition to
the little size 18's and 20's. There are lots of caddisflies. Fish streamers like our
Brown Sculpin in the early mornings.

09/16/16 Stream levels have been up some and a little strong but back down now
near normal. Wading conditions should be good if your careful. Our customers are
reporting some good numbers of trout caught. The crowds are gone and there is
plenty of water to fish.

09/23/16 The stream levels is at 147 cfs, a normal flow for this time of the year.
You can safely wade most places. Lots of hatches are taking place with the cooler
weather, especially on the lower section of the tailwater. October Caddis and
Mahogany duns are hatching along with plenty of Blue-winged olives.

10/07/16 The discharges are staying at about 151 cfs. That is a little above normal
level and can make it tough to wade in some places. You have to pick and choose
the spots and be careful. Keep in mind you can cast all way across the river in most
places, so you can still fish from the banck. Otherwise, fishing is very good with
good hatches.