A big male rainbow trout from the Taylor River
July 30, 2021
We’re experiencing severe drought conditions with some very low water in the Gunnison Valley this summer. Our afternoon rains have helped, but it won’t be enough to turn this drought around. With all the pressure on our rivers, we’ll need to take extra care of the fish. Afternoon water temperatures on sections of the Gunnison River have already reached 70 degrees. It’s a good idea to carry a thermometer and stop fishing when the water reaches 66 degrees, if not earlier. Catching and releasing trout when the water is this warm increases mortality rates dramatically. During these drought conditions, trout should be handled as little as possible and always with wet hands, and they should kept in the water and released immediately. Please help protect this valuable resource and do your part on the river. (See my recent blog post regarding fishing during drought conditions.)
Current fishing opportunities include nymphing deeper pools and runs with stonefly and mayfly patterns. Good mayfly nymphs and emergers include Barr’s BWO Emergers, RS2s, and JuJu Baetis in sizes 18 to 20. Pheasant Tails, Micro Mayflies, Copper Johns, and Two Bit Hookers in sizes 14 to 18 are also working well. Trout will also eat big stonefly nymphs and will chase streamers (especially on cloudy or rainy days). Pat’s Rubber Legs is a great stonefly nymph pattern, along with 20-Inchers, in sizes 4 to 8. Sculpzilla is my go-to streamer pattern. During the afternoon BWO hatches, size 18 and 20 gray Mole Flies can get fish to look up. And look for various caddis and Yellow Sallies to hatch in the afternoons. We’re also seeing Green Drakes and PMDs hatching in the upper Taylor Canyon and below the dam.