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Water flow: 1360 cfs through town
Visibility: 6 inches
Water temperature at mid-day: 48 Degrees F
Water condition: Moderately Turbid
Best time of day to fish: 11 AM to 5 PM
Best stretch: From Almont down through town (Van Tuyls) the water is moderately turbid with a slight stain. The river at Coopers/Neversink is dirty with Tomichi Creek run-off.
Best access point: All public water from Almont through town.
Fly fishing hatches in order of importance:
Midges are hatching late morning and afternoon. BWOs are now hatching as well.
Fish species: Trout
Fishing season: April 1 - October 31 (Prime: June 20 - September 20)
Nearest airport: Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport
Recommended fly fishing leader: 9 Foot Leader
Recommended fly fishing tippet: 4X Tippet
Best fly fishing rod: 9' 5 Weight Fly Rod
Best floating fly line: Trout WF
The Gunnison River begins at Almont, Colorado, where the Taylor River and East River merge to form its headwaters. The river grows in size as it flows down through the Gunnison Valley and into Blue Mesa Reservoir. This is the first of several dams as the Gunnison continues its flow through the Black Canyon and eventually into the Colorado River. Our section of the Gunnison River, the upper Gunnison, is from ...
the headwaters in Almont all the way to Blue Mesa Reservoir.
The East River is a freestone river which drains out of Emerald Lake, which is located at 10,500 feet in the Rockies near Crested Butte. So the upper Gunnison is impacted by both snow-melt and the controlled releases from Taylor Reservoir. The Gunnison is best fished from a boat in the early season during high water. There are also plenty of public access points for wading the river during summer and fall.
The Gunnison River contains a very high density of trout, including browns, rainbows, and cutthroat. There are long riffles and runs, and a lot of deep pools which hold large trout. There are good hatches of stoneflies, caddis, and mayflies during the season. The peak season is from mid June to mid September, and fall fishing can be spectacular on the Gunnison. The fall kokanee salmon run brings loads of hard-fighting sockeye salmon up the Gunnison River from Blue Mesa as they run all the way to the Roaring Judy fish hatchery on the East River. There is a catch-and-release season for kokanee from August 1 to October 31. Big trout will follow the salmon up to feed on their eggs. A 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is a good all purpose choice for the Gunnison River. A 6-weight rod can also be used during the salmon run.
Fish a standard nymph rig with an egg or stonefly nymph up front and a small midge or mayfly nymph trailing behind.
Look for the river to rise now with warmer weather all week. Sections of the river will continue to fish well until run-off really kicks in. This is a great time to float the Gunnison.