Story and photos by Joel Evans, GGA
Over the last several years, Gunnison Gorge Anglers has backed Mayfly Outdoors and Colorado Parks & Wildlife in restoring the Uncompahgre River through downtown Montrose for improved fishing and public access on a river with longtime potential but historically limited fishing opportunity.  Despite deprecated habitat and wildly fluctuating river flows, significant populations of wild rainbow and brown trout subsist on the river’s abundant aquatic life.  Trout in the 16″-18″ class exist in surprising numbers, evidencing the clear potential for an impressive fishery.  Money and manpower have matched a common will to create a public resource that will fundamentally change the north end of Montrose by offering quality river access for many forms of recreation and leisure, chief among them fly fishing.

Uncompahgre Project Facts:

·         The Montrose Urban Renewal Authority was formed in collaboration with the City of Montrose and Colorado Outdoors, LLC.  The MURA boundary encompasses approximately 170 acres in northwestern Montrose and includes the Uncompahgre River.

·         Utility construction and construction of roadways were completed in December of 2018.

·         Construction of Mayfly Outdoors headquarters building was completed in the spring of 2019 and is used to manufacture Ross and Abel fly fishing reels.

·         Construction of a public recreation trail paralleling the Uncompahgre River was completed in 2019 with funding assistance from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Montrose Recreation District.

·         MURA has also been working on the design of habitat improvement and river stabilization.  This project extends from West Main Street to the northern end of the MURA boundary.  Initial design efforts were completed by Ecological Resource Consultants in consultation with a local volunteer river design committee.

·         The Uncompahgre River currently consists of both channelized, relatively stable reaches and meandering, dynamic reaches.  Existing fish habitat is marginal throughout most of the project.

·         Stream improvement goals are to improve fish habitat, stabilize river banks where necessary to prevent lateral retreat, maintain a natural, user friendly and inviting feel for the river system, functionality during both high and low flows, and allow boaters to pass through the project while not encouraging whitewater surfing,

Partners include the City of Montrose, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Outdoors, Friends of the River Uncompahgre, Montrose Urban Renewal Authority, Telluride Angler, and Trout Unlimited Gunnison Gorge Anglers.

Uncompahgre River corridor, north Montrose

Uncompahgre corridor in north Montrose

CPW protects the rehabilitated Uncompahgre


Trout survey in rehabilitation zone


Good for trout, good for anglers