Catch and Release | Pack it in Pack it Out | Leave No Trace
"We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so." - Theodore Roosevelt
Please be a good steward of our precious resources.
Smith Fork of the Gunnison River Fishing Information
Smith Fork - near Hotchkiss, CO
The Smith Fork of the Gunnison is one of the least accessible forks of the river due to hike in and private property issues. While there is enough area for a small group of anglers to cover in a day or two, there isn’t much beyond that. Fishing the few times I’ve been there have been decent and if you enjoy chasing new waters and solitude, Smith fork is a good option. bush-whacking is a must as the foliage is thick. Lots of pinyon pine and sage brush and thickets. Watch for cattle too, especially if you bring an off-leash pet.
Dry dropper seems to be the best option to cover this water, while some deeper pools leave opportunities for nymphing or euro-nymphing options. Bring two rods, or a modular set up that allows for both options is a good idea. Be stealthy as you fish, though these fish don’t get fished much, they do seem to be spooky with the often clear water. Early summer is the best time to fish the area after run-off and rainy season ends but before the water gets too low. If temps are high in fall and it’s been a low water year, please check temps or avoid this creek as low water and high temps will kill fish that you catch. Enjoy the gem of solitude!
Fish: Some Small-Sized Fish
Best Techniques: Dries & Nymphs
Best Seasons: Spring - Fall
River Type: Small Freestone
Fish Types: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout
Dog Friendly: Yes
Located in the Gunnison River Basin near Hotchkiss, CO
Fishable Seasons & Current Weather
The best seasons to fish this river are Spring - Fall. See the current weather reports for the next 5-6 days listed below for the nearest city.
wind: 4mph NNE
H 4 • L 2
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
Knowing what flies to use is only have the battle. You have to know when the insects are active on the water and when it's likely the trout are feeding on them. Refer to our hatch charts below to understand when the insect categories and some of the possible hatches on the river.
Midges hatch year round, but their importance is from September through winter into April. During the warmer months, the trout often focus on larger insects as they are more active on the water like mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.
Aside from Blue wing olives, mayflies are active most commonly from May to August in Colorado. There are many different mayfly hatches found on most rivers and the most common are listed below.
Blue Wing Olive: September throut winter to April
Pale Morning Dun: June to Mid September
Colors: White, Yellow
Sizes: #14 - #20
Green Drakes: June to August
Sizes: #8 - #14
Caddis hatch starting early in May and continue to the end of October.
Colors: Olive, Green, Yellow, Tan, Orange, Brown and Black.
Sizes: #10 - #20
We have some great stonefly hatches in Colorado and while not all rivers carry all species of salmonflies, you can often fish stonefly adult patterns with confidence from May to September. Start off in bigger sizes and get smaller till September hits (size 8 - 16)
Little Black Stone: January to May during warm sunny days.
Colors: Black, Grey
Sizes: #16 - #20
Golden Stone: June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #8 - #14
Yellow Sally Stonefly: Mid June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #12 - #18
Terrestrials don't hatch since they are out of the water, but they can have importance starting in Mid April and ending in September.
These are the the top flies we sell for this river. Use the hatch chart above to know what flies you will want to have in your fly box during your adventure on the river and then select the flies here 30 days before your trip to get them at a great price. All of our flies are hand tied to each order to ensure quality and to keep our prices low for you.
Click on a fly below to select a size and color for purchase.
If you need an easier solution than selecting each fly and size, try out our top fly assortments for this river that will put all the flies you need in a single order for this river. We've already selected the flies we use in our fly box for this river including the sizes and colors and put them in these assortments so you can fish with the confidence that you have the right flies in your box.
Click on any of the pictures to see what flies, colors and sizes we recommend in each assortment.
Use these epic resources to get ready for your adventure. Whether you're planning your trip, learning your insects, improving your fishing with expert tips or getting detailed resources from the USGS streamflows or DoW, we got you covered to help you find the river and find the success you want.