Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Guide to the Uncompahgre River, Colorado
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
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.
As you can see in the pictures taken in the State Park Area, the stream is small with pools,
riffles and runs that provide an excellent habitat for the trout. As mentioned in the
introduction article, much of this has been created for the trout by man. It turned out to be a
wonderful fishery that anyone can easily access in a part of Colorado that hasn't reached
the high populations of much of the state.
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
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