A nice wild trout on a dry fly. See more photos on the blog.
July 16, 2018
The rivers in the Gunnison Valley have gotten very low with this terrible drought. Our part of the state is seeing some of the worst of it. Recent rains will help some, but we need a lot more. It’s a very busy July and a bad combination of the most pressure on the rivers and some very fragile conditions. Anglers can reduce the negative impacts on the fishery by fishing during the coolest part of the day, during mornings and evenings, and monitoring water temps to make sure we are not harming trout. Many of us stop fishing at about 65 or 66 degrees to be safe. At 68 degrees or more, trout mortality increases. As the water temps rise and the fish get stressed, take extra care of the trout by not handling them. If you want a quick photo and your fish is in good shape, make sure you wet your hands and keep trout close to the water to minimize the time they are out of the water. Just a few seconds is more than enough to get a photo. If trout are too stressed, quickly release fish without handling them. If trout need to be revived, hold them in the current facing upstream. Do not rock them back and forth. Moving water through their gill system from behind is not good for them. Once they have enough oxygen and they are ready, they will swim away on their own.
We’re still seeing decent bug activity on the rivers, but the major hatches on the Gunnison River and the East River are past peak now. The Taylor River is fishing well as the summer mayfly hatches move through the canyon. Peak time for the hatch has been from about 11 AM to 2 PM (give or take). We’re seeing Golden Stones, BWOs, caddis, Yellow Sallies, PMDs, and Green Drakes still hatching during the middle part of the day, and there is a good spinner fall in the evenings. Fish are moving into the riffles to feed on emerging mayflies, and they are also chasing caddis and stoneflies. Prior to the hatch, look for fish to feed on stonefly nymphs, caddis pupa, and mayfly nymphs. For nymph fishing, try a tandem nymph rig using a combination of mayfly nymphs and stonefly nymphs. You can fish a big stonefly nymph up front with a mayfly nymph or caddis pupa or Hare’s Ear trailing behind. Good mayfly nymphs include Barr’s BWO Emergers, Two-Bit Hookers, Copper Johns, Juju Baetis, Micro Mayflies, and Pheasant Tails. For stonefly nymphs, try Pat’s Rubber Legged Stonefly Nymphs, 20-Inchers, and Prince Nymphs, size 6-10. For dry fly fishing, fish BWO ermergers and adults (18-20), size 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis or X-Caddis patterns, Yellow Sallies (16), PMDs (14-16), and Green Drakes (10-12). For Golden Stonefly adults, try a Yellow Stimmie or Rogue Foam Golden Stone (8-10) with a mayfly nymph underneath.