Guide To Fly Fishing In Telluride


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Telluride is world-renowned for ideal fly fishing trout streams and spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. Add in abundant waterways, a year-round population of hungry fish, top local fishing guides, well-stocked fly shops, and you end up with the recipe for fly-fishing nirvana.

The Telluride fly fishing season is most active from spring through fall, but the water flows freely in many streams during winter, so the action never completely stops. A fly fishing excursion in Telluride should be on your to-do list if you’re staying in one of our short-term rentals.

Whether you’re a fishing master or novice, keep reading for helpful information and tips about what you can expect to catch (and where), the gear you’ll need, license requirements, local guides, and more to so you can get started on your Telluride fly fishing adventure.

Local Trout Species and Top Rivers for Catching Them


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You can expect to catch Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat or Brook trout during your fly fishing outing near Telluride. Most trout fishing occurs in these rivers:

  • Dolores River
  • San Miguel River
  • Uncompahgre River
  • Taylor River
  • Gunnison River

License Requirements

You will need a Colorado fishing license, and it is your responsibility to learn the fishing laws and regulations. Anglers must follow statewide and waterway specific rules. You can buy your Colorado fishing license online or purchase your fishing license in person from an authorized local fishing license retailer.




121 W Colorado Ave, Telluride, 81435 (970) 728-3895


250 W. SAN JUAN TELLURIDE, 81435 (970) 728-3134


150 W Colorado Ave, Telluride, 81435 (970) 728-4477


A sport fishing license is needed for any person 18 years of age and older, and licenses are valid from April 1 through March 31 each year.

For individuals aged 18 through 64, a $10 Habitat Stamp is required with the first license purchase for the year. This fee added to the cost of your license. You can purchase your Colorado license or find cost and regulation information here. You will need a license even on guided fly fishing excursions.


Tackle & Gear Necessities

Fly fishing requires some basic gear, so let’s go over the most common tackle you’ll need to have success. The fly rod is of course the most important. A good rod for trout fishing in Telluride is a 9-foot 5-weight rod, which is considered the most versatile trout rod for freshwater trout fishing. Your reel must match the strength and flexibility of your fly rod for best handling. You should make sure the “weights” of your rod and reel match. A 5-weight rod should use a 5-weight reel. Also, make sure to get the opposite facing reel to which hand you cast.

Line and tackle should be selected based on the trout you are fishing for and other factors. It is best to confer with a local tackle shop or fishing guide for the best line and tackle for your needs.

Waders and boots are the quintessential fly-fisher accessories. The need to cast freely without tangling in vegetation is a good reason anglers get out into the water. Chest waders will keep you dry, and add a layer of warmth in cold water.

When waters are warm, you can forgo the waders if you don’t mind getting wet, but don’t go out without your wading boots, that provide traction on slippery river beds and protect feet from sharp objects hiding under the water.

Don’t forget the fishing vest. Having all your flies and gear tucked into your vest will eliminate the need to wade back to the bank. Fly fishing vests are designed to hold up to the elements, so don’t skimp on this important piece of gear.

Telluride Fishing Guide Services

Lastly, local guides, like the ones listed below, are a great idea for the following reasons:

  • Guides will know the best stretches of private and public water.
  • They may provide some the equipment needed for your outing. When you are flying into your vacation rental destination, this is a solid plus. Check with your guide service to see what, if any, gear is included.
  • Some trips may include meals, insider information, and other perks that will enhance your fly fishing trip.

Telluride Outside

Telluride Outside has been guiding fly fishing outings since 1984. They have an extensive list of public and private fly fishing water, including lakes and ponds, and will know which spot is hot for action. Their private leases allow for some solitude while fishing. The guides are experienced and will gladly teach you the best fly fishing methods.


San Miguel Anglers

The guides at San Miguel Anglers welcome any level of fly-fisher to embark on a San Miguel River fishing trip. They hold many exclusive National Forest Service permits in the Telluride area, so they can always choose the perfect and uncrowded fishing location that will make your outing exciting.


Telluride Fly Fishers

The guides at Telluride Fly Fishers will use their experience to make your outing memorable. They will gladly help a novice learn the basics. They offer a variety of excursions like walk/wade trips on the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers or a journey to the high country lakes of the San Juan Mountains near Telluride.


RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service

RIGS Guide Service offers year-round fly fishing excursions. You can do a walk/wade trip or a float fishing and drift boat trip. They are near six major trout streams, so they can pick the best fishing spot for your outing. Experienced guides welcome any level of angler. They keep the guests-to-guide ratio low and do not mix different parties, so each group receives personalized attention.


We hope this information will encourage you to experience some of the best fly fishing around and make your stay in Telluride more enjoyable.