Summer Monsoons have arrived!

Posted on 14 July 2017

It’s mid-July, which means Summer Monsoon season in the Telluride areaWhat does that mean for Fly Fishing conditions?  It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon, bringing much-need moisture into the mountains with an evaporation>cloud buildup>thunderstorm>rain showers event, which repeats daily.  The cooler air keeps the snowpack around longer up high, and keeps cold water in our trout streams. While we could wax fondly about the science of the monsoons, it’s definitely something to consider when out and about in the San Juans mountains, because lightning is NO JOKE.

Plan your trips early in the day, and always pack your Gore-Tex rain jacket.

Fortune favors the well-prepared, and here are a handful of pro tips for successfully angling your way through monsoon season:

Go Early

We can’t stress this enough; book your morning half-day trip and be on the river with plenty of time to hook a few before the clouds build up and start the afternoon storms.

Plan for changing conditions

Have that rain shell with you when you’re on the water; you might not make it back to the truck in time to layer up.  And if there’s lightning within a couple of miles of you, get out of the river and take a break.  There’s no hero points for testing how conductive your fly rod is for electricity!

Got worms?

Seriously, you should have that checked. We carry a grip of San Juan Worm flies in our fly box in case an upstream creek blows out and puts some muddy runoff in the river.  Tie a worm behind your nymph dropper and drift that along the banks in the off-color water.  The fish think they’re French fries.  Other smart patterns for murky waters include flashy Crystal Bugger streamers and bright colored Copper John or Psycho Prince nymphs.

Skip Dinner

Lastly, if you’re tough enough to ride the rain out, be ready for an amazing evening fishing session.  You've earned it!

Bilbo Baggins famously complained "adventures... make you late for dinner". Clearly, he wasn't an angler. Push your dinner until after dark, and pay close attention to the bugs coming off the water. The rains will clear and a perfect Colorado sunset will give you plenty of evening light.  We’ve been seeing big hatches in the late afternoon/evenings - Mayflies, Caddis, Yellow Sallies – and of course, mosquitoes.  All delicious for trout, and great top-water fishing.  We've got some sweet parachute and hi-viz patterns in the shop that will be easier to see at dusk and should be in every San Miguel angler’s flybox!

Want to spend a day on the river with San Miguel Anglers?  We'd love to share the thrill of exploring the trout streams of Telluride with you.  Please book with us at or drop by our Telluride Sports Main Street location for flies, Orvis fishing gear, and a nudge in the right direction.  See you soon!

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