232 W. Colorado Ave, Telluride, CO | +1-970-729-1577

Early Summer Fly Fishing In Telluride Colorado

Peak runoff on the San Miguel masks some of the year’s best fishing on Telluride area waters. If you visit Telluride in May or early June, fish one of our early season hot spots with Telluride Outside.

Gunnison Walk & Wade: Fish the Black Canyon with Telluride Outside! In partnership with our friends at Dragonfly Anglers in Crested Butte, Telluride Outside now offers walk & wade trips throughout the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We may fish the hallowed inner canyon [right] from the Chukar, Bobcat, Duncan or Ute trails, or hike up from Gunnison Forks to fish three miles of spectacular riffle water below the Smith Fork Confluence.

Wade fishing the Gunnison can be highly productive in many parts of the fishing calendar, including shoulder season periods when our high country streams are not in top form. We particularly recommend the following periods:


  • All of May and June
  • All of September and October
  • late March and all of April
  • November for the Lower Gunnison

Day floats are available from the Gunnison Forks to Gunnison River Farms throughout the year, so our guests now have the option to wade or float the entire Gunnison Gorge and Lower Gunnison River.

Gurley Creek: Our early summer ace-in-the-hole is already flush with rainbows and cutthroats eagerly snatching stoneflies and caddis. Gurley Creek delivers the most explosive fishing of the year precisely when most other rivers are peaking with runoff.

Gurley is located in the shadow of Lone Cone, approximately 55 minutes west from Telluride, suitable for both half and full day trips. Standard guiding prices apply with an additional $100/rod trespass fee. Availability is limited and Gurley dates book early, so give us a call and get on the calendar!

Lower Dolores: As advertised, the best fishing on the Lower Dolores River this year will be in May and June. Excellent hatches have already begun, including BWO mayflies, midges, early caddis and terrestrials. Dry fly fishing has been sporadic, but eruptions of rising fish have produced spectacular fishing sessions!

Many large fish rise on cloudy days and terrestrials, especially hoppers and beetles, are effective even under a bright sun. Several +20″ fish have been landed on dry flies in the last two weeks and the surface action increases with every passing day.

Schedule a day trip from Telluride or a multi-day trip at Dolores Canyon Ranch [right], the bed and breakfast tucked right in the middle of the 12-mile catch and release section. The Lower Dolores may be paired with any of our Upper Dolores private water properties for an interesting 2 or 3-day trip package.

Upper Dolores + West Fork Dolores: The Upper Dolores reaches peak runoff flows approximately 3 weeks prior to the San Miguel peak. With this year’s low snow pack, we expect a variety of strong fishing choices by mid-June. Much of Telluride Outside’s private water lies on the Dolores. Some of the lower gradient beats, including Lightenburger Ranch [above], Line Camp and Fish Creek Ranch, may turn on in the first week of June. Stay tuned with our fly shop for developing conditions and best early season opportunities.

Uncompahgre at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk: The Uncompahgre River is a north-facing watershed. As such, runoff comes late and releases from Ridgway Reservoir are typically held back until early to mid-June. The Uncompahgre is fishing excellent at this time with steady flows of approximately 208 cfs, ideal for both nymphing and dry fly fishing. Trout feed actively through long daytime hours providing ample sight fishing opportunity and high odds for locating and catching one of the river’s heaviest trout. Numerous fish in the 20″ class are landed every week in this section of the Uncompahgre [above].

Call Telluride Outside for an up-to-the-minute fishing report and to schedule guides: 1-800-831-6230. It’s time to fish in Telluride.

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