Copyright 2017 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
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
Winter fishing can be good during nice weather periods
Click Here For San Miguel River Fishing Gear,
Tackle and Flies
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
San Miguel River
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 to 12 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 (email@example.com)
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
of these other fine
trout streams. Click
the links for fly fishing
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
flies, fly fishing gear
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.
02/10/17 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.