San Miguel River trout
Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the San Miguel River
Fly Fishing the San Miguel River in Colorado can be a
very rewarding experience. It's one of Colorado's best
kept secrets. It begins from small alpine lakes at an
elevation of approximately 11,000 feet and flows for
almost 90 miles before entering the Dolores River.
Almost 50 miles of its water holds trout. It has several
tributaries that holds trout as well as its South Fork.
The San Miguel River falls from the high San Juan
Mountains at a steep gradient through beautiful, red
walled canyons. The river drops over 7000 feet in
elevation from its beginning to its confluence with the
Dolores River.

The San Miguel River runs through the city of Telluride
and through the valley along highway #145. Access is
easy and plentiful throughout most of the river's
length. It consist mostly fast flowing pocket water but
there's some pools and long riffles along its course.

Cutbows and rainbow trout are the most plentiful
species but the river also hold cutthroats, and brown
trout. Brook trout exist in its higher elevations.

There are few mayflies that inhibit the San Miguel
River but recently it has been reported hatches of
Green Drakes are occurring in some places. There's
also a few species of Blue-winged Olives but the
aquatic insects consist mostly of caddisflies, although
some of the caddisfly species hatch during the runoff
period. Most are species of Spotted Sedges but there
are some green sedges, little short-horned sedges
and others. Stoneflies, consisting of several different
species, are quite plentiful and a major source of food
for the trout. Little Yellow Stoneflies, Golden Stoneflies
represent the majority of them. Imitations of the
terrestrial insects are important during the summer

The season last year-round
Spring is a good time for fly fishing the San Miguel
River provided you miss the runoff period which
usually occurs in late April, May and early June.
Summertime fishing can be great with good caddisfly
dry fly action
Fall is probably the best time for fly fishing the San
Miguel River
Winter fishing can be good during nice weather periods

Click Here For San Miguel River Fishing Gear,
Tackle and Flies
Type of Stream
Freestone Stream

Rainbow Trout (Wild)
Brown Trout (Wild)
Cutthroat Trout (Native)
Brook Trout (Wild)
Cutbows (Hybrids)


Southwestern Colorado

Nearest Towns



Non-Resident License
State of Colorado

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies

USGS Real Time Stream Flow Data
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
San Miguel River
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. 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 $100 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
of these other fine
trout streams. Click
the links for fly fishing
descriptions access,
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
recommended trout
flies, fly fishing gear
and equipment,
USGS stream data,
local weather and
much, much more
San Miguel Fishing Report:
04/29/16 The water if flowing at 236 cfs, near normal
and cold, at 42 degrees. Fish midges, little BWO
nymphs, and Sculpin streamers early and late.
10/31/18 Fishing Report
(Bottom of page)
05/06/16 The river is high and dingy at 446 cfs. This
is likely to continue for the next week. There is more
snow and rain in the forecast and some runoff.
05/13/16 The river is still in the runoff mode and this
will continue through the next week. It is a good time to
plan that next trip. When it drops and clears, it is good.
05/27/16 Runoff conditions still exist with high, muddy
water. Keep checking back with us and we will keep you
updated as to the statues.
06/03/16 The runoff is in high gear and hopefully, this
will help it end earlier than normal.
06/10/16 The stream levels is even higher than the past week. Forget fishing here this week.
06/30/16 The river is down and mostly clear and our customers are reporting that they are
catching lots of trout. Lots of Golden stoneflies, Yellow sallies are starting, Spotted sedges,
Green sedges, Green drakes and more. Send us an email and we will list the flies you need.
07/08/16 Good stream levels are allowing plenty of safe wading opportunities. There are
insects hatching big time, lots of trout are being caught, and many on dry flies.
07/15/16 The river is in good shape from the headwaters through the lowest section. Lots of
insects are hatching but they vary, depending on what elevation you are fishing. We received
two good reports from customers fishing the middle section this past week.
07/22/16 Conditions continue to be very good. Good stream levels and lots of hatches taking
07/29/16 The stream is just a little low but otherwise, in good shape. Trico have started to
hatch. Little Yellow stones, two caddis species, PMDs, Pale Evening duns, and other hatches.
08/05/16 Stream levels are about normal now but on the way up. It is raining now and there
are flash flood warning for the next two days, so be sure and check the stream levels.
08/12/16 The river is in excellent shape from the headwaters to the lowest section. There are
still plenty of insects hatching and terrestrials imitations are also working very ood.
08/19/16 Stream levels are getting a little low but rain in on the way. The upper and middle
section of the river are in great shape. Wading is easy but so is spooking the trout. Stay hidden.
08/26/16 The stream levels are up a little above normal but falling already. Customers have
been catching a lot of trout in spite of the low levels. The hatches vary greatly with the
elevation of the water being fish. Send us an email and we will send a list of the flies you need.
09/02/16 It is still a little high but you can wade in some place if you do so carefully. There's lots
of hatches taking place. Early morning streamer fishing is getting some of the best fish.
09/09/16 Two good reports came in from customers fishing this past week. They are catching
trout in all sections of the river. Send us an email for a fly list along with the dates you will be
fishing. Hatches vary from the lower section to the headwaters but all sections are in good shape.
09/23/16 The river has been in good shape at a good normal level but it is back up a little high
right now. Wading is a little tough at the time but the water is falling. Lots of hatches are taking
place including Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olives, spotted sedges, October caddis and
09/30/16 The stream levels are about normal and anglers catching good numbers of trout.
Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olives and October Caddis are hatching good.
10/07/16 The stream level is down a little and stealth is required but our customers are
catching trout. Hatches are still taking place good and many are being caught on top.
10/28/16 Excellent conditions for the last of October. Our customers are catching lots of trout.
Blue-winged olives and Western Ginger Quills are hatching good. Stream levels are okay but
a little low. The coming week should be a good one for fishing the river.
11/18/16 The stream levels are in good shape but the water temperature is dropping fast. We
think it will get stable at about 45 degrees. Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching. Sculpin
streamers fished in low light conditions will catch some of the larger trout.
11/25/16 The water temperature is down to 41 degrees. Midges and BWOs are hatching.
Sculpin streamer will get the larger trout. Fish them in low light conditiions.
12/09/16 The water temperature is in the mid to high thirties. Midges and Winter stoneflies are
the only insects hatching. You would do better selecting a tailwater.
12/23/16 Just an update to let you know the water is still barely above freezing with lots of ice in
the water. Select a nearby tailwater for better opportunity.
01/06/17 There will be some improvement in the water temperature but not enough that we think
it would be a wise destination. If you are near there, it may be worth a shot. Use cream midges
with the pupa and larva fished in tandem.
01/20/17 The water is too cold to offer any decent opportunity to catch trout. Wait for better,
warmer weather. There is a lot of ice in the water and deep snow along the banks.
02/10/17 The weather and water is a little warmer but is going to be running high and off color.
Streamers like the Brown or Matuka sculpin might catch some trout.
03/10/17 The weather is going to be nice and warm this coming week. That is melting a lot of
snow and ice and keeping the stream levels high and stained. Midges are hatching. Fish the
sculpin streamers in the stained water and the Cream or red midges.
03/17/17 The river is pretty much blown out, high and muddy to dingy. All you can do is check
back with us and watch the stream levels.
03/31/17 The weather is turning colder and hopefully that will stop the mini-runoff conditions that
have been taking place. The levels are still high but falling and the water clearing.
04/15/17 The stream is flowing at 446 cfs at 2.70 ft. Normal flows at this time of the season is
about 180 cfs. It is very high and will take a while to drop and clear up.
05/05/17 The stream levels are at a normal level and the water clear. There are BWOs, little
Browns stoneflies, Skwala stoneflies, and little Black Caddis hatching. Conditions are good.
05/19/17 The stream levels are high and the water stained from runoff .The weather is much
colder and that tends to slow the runoff down. Conditions are not good at this time.
06/02/17 The river is very high and badly stained from the runoff. This is likely to last for
several more days. All you can do is to check back with us. We will keep you informed.
06/30/17 The stream flows are at 547 cfs at 3.04 ft, which is high but the river is falling and
should continue to do so all week. It is still far to high to wade safely.
07/14/17 The levels got down and in good shape but rain has them back up again to 529 cfs at
3.01 ft.. It should fall back down fast. We were getting some good reports.
07/21/17 The stream levels at at 2.84 tt., flowing at 428 cfs. That is a little high. Some sections
can be waded with caution and some are too high to wade. Lots of trout are being caught. There
is a lot of hatches taking place.

07/28/17 The stream is flowing just a little above normal and can be waded in most places. There
are lots of hatches and our customers are reporting some good catches. Shoot us an email and
we will send you a list of flies for the dates you plan to fish it.
08/04/17 The stream levels are normal and the river in good shape. There is some rain in the
forecast. The cloud cover is a big help. We are getting some very good reports from customers
fishing. There are a lot of hatches taking place and trout being caught.
08/18/17 Conditions are excellent in all respects. We received two good reports from customers
this past week. Stream levels are in great shape and wading safe and easy most anywhere.
There are lot of hatches taking place.
09/01/17 We are getting some very good reports from customers. There are some good hatches
taking place and imitations of ants, hoppers and beetles are also working good.
09/15/17 Stream levels are in good shape and the water temperature down to a very suitable
range. We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week.
10/06/17 We received two good reports from customers fishing this past week. Conditions are
good. The levels are a little below normal but easy and safe to wade. October caddis and BWOs
are hatching good. This coming week should be another good one.
10/13/17 The river rarely gets into better shape than it is now. Few anglers are fishing. Those
that are catching good numbers and sizes of trout. All sections are turning out trout. Stream
levels are in good shape and wading safe and easy most places.
10/28/17 The weather will be clear this coming week except for snow or rain on Tuesday. We
didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. BWOs and Midges along with
some October caddis are hatching..
01/08/18 The river is very cold with slush ice in the water. We recommend choosing a tailwater
until the water warms up a little. It is about 32-33 degrees now.
02/19/18 The water is very cold with lots of bank and slush ice. We recommend waiting until it
warms up a little. Midges and Winger stoneflies are the insects you should imitate.
04/09/18 The river is flowing just a little high now, but falling. Several hatches have started.
Blue-winged olives, March Browns, Little Black Caddis and of course, midges.
04/30/18 Conditions are very good, good stream levels and clear water. There are lots of
insects hatching, BWOs, Little Black Caddis, little Brown stoneflies and March Browns.
05/07/18 The river is in good shape with good stream levels and some good hatches starting to
take place. Good numbers of trout are being caught.
05/14/18 Good hatches of March Browns, Little Black Mothers's day caddis and Blue-winged
olives. Good conditions exist and good numbers of trout are being caught.
05/14/18 The river levels are low, so be careful to not spook the trout. Stay low and hidden as
much as possible. Good hatches continue.
06/04/18 The stream levels are still low but in good shape otherwise. There are some good
hatches taking place including Salmon and Golden stoneflies.
06/11/18 Stream levels are low and in good shape. Trout are being caught in good numbers.
Lots of hatches are taking place. Send us an email for a fly list.
06/18/18 Stream levels are still low and okay. There are lots of trout being caught. Multiple
hatches are taking place. Now is the time to be there.
06/25/18 Lots of insects are hatching and lots of trout are being caught. The stream levels are
low and you do have to use caution to not spook the trout.
07/02/18 The river is getting a little too warm in the lower sections. Fish the middle and upper
sections. There are still lots of hatches taking place and trout being caught by those that stay
hidden from the trout.
07/23/18 The middle and higher elevations are turning out some good numbers of trout. There
are lots of hatches - PMDs, Dark Red quills, Western ginger quills, little yellow stones, spotted
sedge caddis and others.
08/20/18 The river is running low in all sections, but help is on the way. It should rain some
through Thursday. Hatches are still taking place. Stay hidden from the trout.
09/03/18 The stream is still very low but the weather and water is getting cooler and trout are
being caught. There is rain in the forecast everyday through Thursday and the levels should
come up. The coming week should be a good one.
10/04/18 Stream levels are still a little low but the much cooler weather and lower water
temperature has the river in good shape. Good numbers and some large trout are being
caught. Sculpin streamers are working good. October caddis, little BWOs, and Spotted sedge
caddis are hatching. Conditions are good.
10/14/18 Stream levels are still low and you have to stay hidden from the trout. Hatches are
changing some due to the colder water. Midges are becoming important foods again.
10/21/18 The stream is low, so stay hidden by staying low to the horizon, dress to match the
background and make good presentations. The fish will still eat. Just don't let them see you.
10/31/18 The water is getting very cold, averaging 36 to 39 degrees. You can still catch trout.
MIdges and Winter stoneflies are hatching. Rig the midge larva and pupa in tandem.