Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report – May 2017

Lu Warner master fly fishing guideHello everyone. I hope that you all are well and looking forward to another exciting fishing season at Wilder on the Taylor. I sure am!!

Enjoy my first Taylor River fly-fishing report of the season …

Two weeks ago week I returned from closing our Valle Bonito in Southern Chile for the season and here at Wilder, the grass is green, water is running everywhere and the trout season is just getting underway. Despite the big snows of December and January, at this point it looks like we have a slightly above average snowpack which is predicted to result in moderate to high flows throughout the summer. Expect levels below the dam to range between 275 CFS and 520 CFS through September and peak run off to occur as usual in early to mid June depending on what the weather brings in the next few weeks.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

While most of the local waters are un fishable and dirty during this period of high water, the Taylor river, Dream Stream and Ponds at Wilder remain fishable and very productive throughout the run off season.

Current flows on the Taylor are about 840 CFS and climbing rapidly. Lowest flows each day are about 4 pm and maximum flows are about midnight. Expect flows to rise through May. Water temps are in the high 30’s and will slowly begin to warm over the next few weeks.

A word of caution to all of you Taylor river anglers out there: Be careful wading at these river levels. This is a powerful river with lots of large slippery boulders that can make for tricky footing. Move slowly in the water and don’t wade if you don’t have to. Many fish will be on the edges and near the shore so reaching out to or wading to the middle is not necessary.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Dry fly fishing is limited right now but with patience and in the right time and place it can produce some nice fish. Hatch wise, there are a few minor events going on. Midges, Caddis and Blue Winged Olives are hatching every day and in certain places, despite the high water, fish can be found feeding on the surface during the peak of the hatch between 1 and 4 pm. These fish are very selective but a size 18 dark winged BWO pattern on 5x tippet is deadly if you can locate rising fish. Look carefully as surface feeders are very hard to see and watch the feed lines as they form for slow rising fish. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see lots more bugs and the fish will be looking up for Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, Green Drakes, PMD’s, BWO’s and Caddis.

95% of the fish are eating 95% of their food sub surface this time of year. With cold water temps and high flows most fish are laying low, moving slowly, expending little energy and yet eating well on the variety of nymphs in the water. Stoneflies of a few varieties, Caddis larva, Green Drake, PMD, BWO etc are all on the menu.

Now is the time for a typical dry/dropper set up of a large Chubby Chernobyl (or bobber if you must), 6 feet of 4x tippet to a # 6 Pat’s Rubber Legs or Stonefly nymph and another 14 inches of 5x with a #20 micro Mayfly or Midge. Adjusting your leader lengths to water speed and depth is important to keep from hanging up but you do want your flies to run deep with the slowest drift possible. Fish are not very active so fish each place carefully with numerous casts. Many times you will catch a fish after 10 or more casts in the same place. Concentrate on perfect drifts as any drag is a deal breaker. Many flies can work this time of year so if you’re not having luck don’t be afraid to experiment with San Juan Worms, Stonefly nymphs and different small droppers.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

As a fisherman you have many choices on how to approach the Taylor at this time of year. If throwing a big nymph rig isn’t your thing, you can still fish successfully with a small dry dropper set up if you work the soft edges and find slow shallow areas that hold fish. A #12 para Adams with 3 – 5 feet of 5x and a #16 – #20 BH Pheasant tail is always productive in calmer water.

Another option is streamer fishing. This time of year I prefer a 150 grain sink tip to help get the fly down to where the fish are but a floating line can also work. Cast across and mend trying to keep your streamer swimming as slow and deep as possible. Black is hard to beat but we have had luck with a variety of streamers including Thin Mints, Dalai Lamas and Sculpzillas in flesh and olive colors.

Over the next few weeks we will see many changes in the fishes feeding habits as bugs start to hatch and the fish leave the bottom of the river and begin surface feeding in earnest. Look for Stoneflies and Mayflies during the days and strong Caddis hatches in the late afternoons and evenings.

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor

The “Dream Stream” is in good shape and several large Rainbows over wintered and make for some tough adversaries. These fish are not only selective, they are powerful and a handful once hooked. As in the river, there are times when you can be successful on dries, especially if you see fish rising. If so, you can bet that they are eating BWO’s and a small BWO dry should do the trick.

If not, try a dry/dropper with a small MadameX on top and a #16 BH Pheasant Tail on the bottom attached with 4x. If this is not working, try a San Juan worm dropper and hang on.

When fishing the stream, try to have a good look into each hole as during the winter fish have relocated a bit and some holes are empty while others hold several large fish. Be sneaky as always when fishing the stream. These fish feel your vibrations a long ways off and spook quite easily so despite the time of year, fish the stream like it is August and move quietly while you are fishing.

All of the Wilder ponds are good to go and a few monsters have been spotted cruising the shorelines in shallow water. I always prefer to sight fish in the ponds so I recommend walking slowly and using the sun to your advantage as you search for moving fish. It is a bit early to get these fish to rise for a dry so I suggest fishing a long 4x leader with a small nymph and retrieving it very slowly. When you are bringing in your line watch the fly line/leader junction knot carefully to detect any movement. Oftentimes these fish eat very softly and the only indication of a strike is that your line begins to straighten out or move slowly in one direction or the other. If you even suspect that your line is tensioning up, lift the rod and set slowly and firmly and then get ready to let the fish run. These are big fish and hard, fast sets only lead to broken lines and heartbreak.

If the small nymph is not working you can try either a larger Damselfly nymph and/or a small black or Olive Bead Head bugger style streamer retrieved slowly as well. Keep showing the fish different flies until you find the one that they will eat.

As we begin our 2017 season at Wilder I want to wish you all tight lines and good fishing. Conditions look great for another awesome summer and it won’t be long before the fish are rising and our anglers are experiencing some of the best dry fly fishing in the West.

If any of you are planning a trip to the Wilder on the Taylor, please feel free to write or call me for an up to the minute Taylor River fly-fishing report and gear and fly recommendations.

Cheers

L:u Warner

P.S. Keep up with the latest fish catches on our social media.  Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Instagram.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Owner’s Home Featured in Denver Life Home and Design

Denver Life Home and DesignOriginally built in the 1940s, a ranch cabin spent years sitting beside Crystal Creek on the winding Taylor Canyon Road near Almont, a small town between Gunnison and Crested Butte. This rich piece of hand-hewn architecture was actually slated for demolition in 2009. That’s when Scott Hargrove, owner of Crested Butte-based Hargrove Construction, decided to dismantle and store it until there was a chance to give it life once again.

The light-filled living/dining room has an antique potbelly stove, faux antler chandeliers from Restoration Hardware (restorationhardware.com) and a comfy sitting area for games or reading.

The light-filled living/dining room has an antique potbelly stove, faux antler chandeliers from Restoration Hardware (restorationhardware.com) and a comfy sitting area for games or reading.

Chuck and Holly Schiavo from Edmond, Okla., had just purchased a lot at Wilder on the Taylor, a historic ranch on a 2-mile stretch of the Taylor River not far from the cabin’s original location, when they met with Hargrove in mid-2014 to discuss building a fishing cabin. He quickly realized this was the chance to give the structure a new life: Teaming up with Jennifer Hartman, principal and co-owner of Sunlit Architecture in Crested Butte, he merged beauty and nostalgia into an exquisite three-bedroom, two-bath log home.

When the 1940s ranch cabin was dismantled, each log was tagged and labeled for easy reconstruction. During the years of storage, the plastic tags did not weather quite as well as the beautiful pieces of aged lumber. Luckily, Hargrove had taken measurements and photographs, and Hartman was the architect for the property when the cabin was removed, so she was well aware of the layout and history.

The bulk of the Schiavos’ home, completed in April 2016, comprises the original log cabin plus an addition built mostly on the river side, including a master bedroom and bathroom, a guest bedroom and patios.

State-of-the-art antique replica appliances from Heartland (agamarvel.com) complement furnishings that add splashes of color and interest in the kitchen.

State-of-the-art antique replica appliances from Heartland (agamarvel.com) complement furnishings that add splashes of color and interest in the kitchen.

A long, rectangular great room, featuring living, dining and kitchen spaces, greets guests as they walk in, and the space is visually divided by trusses that mimic the original design. The kitchen leads to a large laundry room, bunk room, guest room and full bath, and an attached chef’s kitchen/covered patio off the living room transitions into a smaller fire pit and “thinking” patios on the short walk down to the river.

Antler handles grace doors throughout the home. The powder room door of reclaimed wood operates with pulleys. Inside, the light fixture is from Restoration Hardware and the mirror from Studio West in Crested Butte.

Antler handles grace doors throughout the home. The powder room door of reclaimed wood operates with pulleys. Inside, the light fixture is from Restoration Hardware and the mirror from Studio West in Crested Butte.

“It was such a cool cabin, and I wanted to save it,” Hargrove says. “When Chuck and Holly purchased property at Wilder and wanted to build a fishing cabin, I said, ‘I have a cabin,’ and we talked it through. They had the confidence and faith to see what might be there and had Jennifer incorporate the old cabin into the new.”

A soapstone-topped island with a colorful base provides extra space for casual morning breakfasts. Above are trusses that divide the space and preserve the log cabin’s character.

A soapstone-topped island with a colorful base provides extra space for casual morning breakfasts. Above are trusses that divide the space and preserve the log cabin’s character.

The Schiavos’ vision was to keep the home “rustic and intimate,” Holly says. “We used all of the logs from the original cabin and also included lots of windows to enjoy the views of both the river and mountain behind us and the cattle fields in front of the cabin. We also wanted enough beds to host fishing getaways with friends.”

The home has a low profile, with natural wood stains and a natural color palette, and was positioned along the riverbank close to the existing cottonwoods, evergreens and aspens. “The reason folks are drawn to Wilder on the Taylor is the outdoors. An architect would be remiss to exclude fantastic indoor/outdoor relationships and access to the gold-medal waters,” Hartman says.

A cheerful guest room sleeps four with sturdy beds built by Hargrove Construction and linens by The Company Store.

A cheerful guest room sleeps four with sturdy beds built by Hargrove Construction and linens by The Company Store.

Reclaimed hardwood floors and ceilings made from barn wood purchased at Distinguished Wood Products in Carbondale enhance the warm and welcoming feel, and painted cabinets and doors “allow the logs to shine and bring a brightness to the space,” Hartman says. “Holly and Alene Davis did a great job with the interior furnishings, colors and accessories.”

Soft colors and generous windows characterize the master bedroom. The comforter, pillows, leather headboard and small table are from Restoration Hardware; sheets are from Pottery Barn. The linen chairs were handcrafted in Tulsa, and the wine barrel stools were made locally.

Soft colors and generous windows characterize the master bedroom. The comforter, pillows, leather headboard and small table are from Restoration Hardware; sheets are from Pottery Barn. The linen chairs were handcrafted in Tulsa, and the wine barrel stools were made locally.

Davis, a designer based in Tulsa and a Crested Butte homeowner, teamed up with Schiavo to find many of the accessories locally, and Holly’s sister, Robi Jones of Tulsa, created most of the painted furniture.

The appliances in the kitchen are state-of-theart antique replicas, with the stove placed where a stone fireplace once stood. Hargrove found an antique potbelly stove from an old barn in Michigan at A & M Salvage in Gunnison that now is part of the Schiavos’ living room.

In the bath, a doublesink vanity with a granite countertop complements an intricate stone wall and rustic mirrors.

In the bath, a doublesink vanity with a granite countertop complements an intricate stone wall and rustic mirrors.

His favorite aspects of the property are the porches, privacy and sounds of the river. “You don’t know anything else in the world exists,” he says. “The cabin is not overpretentious or overstated; it’s very livable and comfortable.”

Original Article Published by Denver Life Home and Design

Shelly Sabrowski Brings Ranch Tales to Life at Wilder

 

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by Shelly Sabrowski

With calves being born every day on the ranch, Don and I keep busy with ear tagging, giving new born shots, and feeding the cow herd hay until the grass appears again.

Hereford Calf

Hereford Calf

We had two premature calves born recently. Don and Calvin rushed the cow to a Montrose veterinarian at midnight fearing she might need surgery. The vet was able to assist the cow without surgery and saved the calf’s life. She was born a few weeks early with a bleak prognosis. Around the clock care and bottle feeding of the calf with all Sabrowski’s involved did the trick. She is now paired with her mother and turned out with the rest of the cow herd.

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

During this same time, another premature heifer calf was born, but the mother was too weak to nurse her. I immediately fell in love with her and named her Sweet Pea. She drinks three bottles a day and feels good enough now to buck and run. Holly Schiavo’s boys, Zabe and Jonathon bottle fed her when they were at Wilder for Spring Break. Sweet Pea loves anyone with bottle in hand, so if you have kids or grandkids who would like to feed her, they are always welcome!

Calvin came home for Spring Break and we kept him busy calving and plowing the last of the snow of the season. He took time to get caught up with high school friends and work on his truck. He was just awarded his second term as a FITSAM which is a student success mentor for next year. He will be the first Junior at OSU to be honored with this position. He’s finishing his Sophomore year happy to pass Financial Accounting and Business Calculus this semester.

Snow is melting quickly on the ranch which means we are in the middle of mud season. No complaints from us, as this will give significant amounts of water this spring and summer for the hay meadows and fishing stream. Rarick Creek is running so quickly right now, we can hear it from our house. The seven bull elk who graced us with their appearance all winter are being chased to the high country as the snow recedes.

Snowblowing with the new BobCat A770 skidsteer.

Snowblowing with the new BobCat A770 skidsteer.

Jay Barton’s crew were not slowed down by the 38” of snow this winter while working on the Homestead 11 Riverfront Home. It is turning out to be something special. Don and I take tours in it to see their vision unfold. I am excited to see the rock fireplace being built. This is something you don’t want to miss when you come to Wilder. Take a tour of this new home yourself!

Reservations for the owner’s cabins are starting to fill up the online calendar. More and more homeowners are letting me know their summer plans of horseback riding, barbeques, fishing and family time spent in the most beautiful place on earth. I am looking forward to a fun filled summer with Wilder Thursdays, catching up with you all on long, lazy horseback rides and enjoying watching your grandkids bottle feed Sweet Pea!

Happy Trails!

Shelly Sabrowski

The Roper Cabin – A Reflection of Ranch Beginnings

Roper Cabin

The Elmer family purchased the Roper cabin from Albert Roper. The young girl in the front is Alta Marie Dunbar, who was born in 1898 and died in 2002 at the age of 104. Her parents started Harmel’s Ranch Resort nearby.

The Elmer family purchased the cabin from Albert Roper. The young girl in the front is Alta Marie Dunbar, who was born in 1898 and died in 2002 at the age of 104. Her parents started Harmel’s Ranch Resort nearby.

Commonly known as the Roper Cabin, the hand-hewn log structure located near the crossroads of County Road 742 and Jack’s Cabin Cutoff breathes history. Although sights and sounds of occupants are long gone, the home with a split-rail fence was carefully crafted and signifies the beginning of the historic ranch now known as Wilder on the Taylor.

“The house is where the Stevens brothers set their roots down and filed for an easement for Spring Creek irrigation to come in. Spring Creek ditch ties into Rarick Creek by the house,” says Ranch Manager Don Sabrowski. “The ranch had the first irrigated hay meadows in Gunnison County.”

James E. Stevens filed to homestead the ranch in 1898 and the footprint of the original house is visible, Sabrowski confirms, but there have been various additions and owners over the years.

Jim and Clara (Haymaker) Boyd lived in a house on the upper ranch, with Jim working for Albert Robert, who at that time owned the lower part of the ranch and lived where the historic Wilder cabins now stand along the Taylor River. In 1920, the Boyds bought 40 acres that included the cabin from Charles T. Stevens for $500. The ownership ended up being short-lived as Boyd was thrown from a horse and killed that fall while guiding hunters to earn extra money.Roper Cabin

Albert Roper bought the land and cabin from Clara and relocated the spruce trees that still stand today from the lower ranch with the help of his children in 1923. Roper also built the hay barn and calving shed near the cabin.

When Don and his wife, Shelly, started managing the ranch in 1995 and first went into the Roper Cabin, one of the first things he noticed was that 1946 newspapers from St. Louis covered the walls to make the home more winter resistant. “You could go in and read about what was going on at that time.” The logs for the walls are still in good shape and if a roof were added, the cabin probably could last forever, Don notes. “Someone went to a lot of trouble to make it a nice place.”

Anita Leonard, who managed the ranch with her husband, Cass from 1953 until retiring in 1995, never mentioned anyone living in the Roper cabin during their tenure, Don recalls. What she did relay is that rooms were added onto the house and it became a saloon and dance hall of sorts that was frequented by workers building the Taylor Park Dam. Next door, there was a schoolhouse that kids attended while the dam construction was underway. The schoolhouse was moved to Harmel’s Ranch Resort just down the road years ago and still stands today.


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Longtime Crested Butte Locals Proud to Call Wilder Home

Judy McGillKeith Hegarty and Judy McGill-Hegarty have lived in the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley since the 1980s, calling Gunnison, the town of Crested Butte, a ranch up Slate River Road on the outskirts of Crested Butte and even Hotchkiss across the mountain home for a time. However, they didn’t cross paths until almost 13 years ago when both attended a friend’s 75th birthday party.

Judy, a licensed real estate broker, was invited to Wilder on the Taylor before any homes were built. She and Keith recall having a picnic and admiring the river and later attending a Wilder barbecue. “About three years ago, good friends from Sun Valley, Idaho, were in town and we took them to Wilder,” Judy says. “They loved Wilder but said, ‘We wish it were in Idaho.’ They raved so much I suggested to Keith we buy a lot here.”

After buying a lot at Wilder, Keith and Judy started construction on their dream home in May 2015 and finished in just under a year. Keith designed the house around the vistas and the couple’s furnishings, including many family heirlooms.

“The view is what it’s all about,” Judy says, noting that the back patio is their favorite place. All wood inside and outside is recycled barn wood, including all the floors, and Keith built four chairs out of leftover wood pieces for the deck.

Both have owned a wide variety of real estate around the valley and consider Wilder their primary residence, spending about one-third of the year at their condominium on the island of Hawaii.

Judy McGillKeith, now retired, has been a builder and owned several businesses in Lake City, Gunnison and Hotchkiss. He fishes nearly every day and Judy several days a week, and both walk the miles of trails located all over the property. Keith says, “Wilder has the best area to fish on the Taylor River. The hatches are great for a dry fly fisherman. The three-mile stream in the hay meadow offers the opportunity to safely walk and catch large stocked rainbows and native fish from Spring Creek.”

The couple also enjoys attending the Thursday Nights at Wilder, meeting up with other homeowners every other week during the summer for dinner, appetizers, drinks and fishing tips from the property’s master fishing guide, Lu Warner. “One of the homeowners and partners in Wilder wants this to be a community so he initiated the Thursday evening events,” Judy shares.

The idea of living on a large working ranch was always appealing to Judy but not the responsibility of maintaining it. “At Wilder, Don Sabrowski and his family, as our ranch managers, do a wonderful job of taking care of the 2,100 acres,” she notes.

The Hegartys are savoring the lifestyle at Wilder and this chapter in their lives. They enjoy meeting new people, seeing their longtime friends and having the freedom to travel between beautiful mountains and beaches.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- Fall 2016

Fly Fishing Report

Wilder’s Master Guide Lu Warner gives his end of season Taylor River Fly Fishing Report. Detailed as always, follow this advice to land a trophy before the snow flies for good!

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportWell, hard to believe we are nearing the end of our fishing season here at Wilder and it is already time for my final Taylor River Fly Fishing Report of 2016. The summer has gone by quickly and we have had many owners and their guests enjoy the wonderful fisheries that we have here.

Currently, the Taylor River has dropped to its winter levels and flows at the dam are down to 100 CFS and 150 CFS. These levels should be maintained until Spring. Water temps are in the high 30’s to low 40’s and should remain there for another couple of weeks before the winter season that brings so many to the Crested Butte area sets in and ice begins to form on the sides of the river.

Taylor River Fishing ReportThis is a perfect time of year to sight larger fish and present a fly to them. The river is low and the water is absolutely transparent. Fish can be seen everywhere, generally holding on the bottom and they will not move far to eat your fly. In these conditions the fish are extra spooky so long leaders and soft presentations are key. In the afternoons you can expect strong BWO hatches on cloudy days and Midge activity regardless of weather. These BWO’s are getting very small right now and imitations need to be in the size 20-22 range to bring up the fish.

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportMany of the Browns are beginning to spawn so please be careful wading and avoid the redds as they can be damaged by walking through them. Redds can be identified as patches of clean gravel in fairly swift and shallow water, normally in the tail outs of the bigger pools. If you see fish spawning please do not fish for them. Leave them alone and let them do their thing so we will have plenty more fish in the future. One of the beauties of the river here is that it is a healthy wild fishery and we want to do our best to keep it that way. That being said, none of the Rainbows or Cutthroats (and not all of the Browns) are spawning, so there are plenty of fish to cast to.

Typically in this low, clear water, the fish will spook as soon as you step into a run. Before you make your first cast, it’s a good idea to start with a few soft casts from the bank before announcing your presence in the river. When the fish spook, they will move to the deepest water and congregate there in numbers. These fish won’t come up for a dry fly but can be caught using a dry/dropper rig with the dropper fished near the bottom. Small bead head Pheasant tails, Hare’s Ears, Egg patterns and Midges will work well when fished with light tippets of 5x and 6x. Fish these deep spots thoroughly and slowly as the trout are not that active right now and sometimes you have to hit one on the head to get him to eat. Make your dry fly as small as you can to still float with a dropper below. Large indicators can work in some areas but generally they will scare more fish than they fool.

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportExpect the mornings to start slow and the fish to get more active after noon and before 5 p.m. Keep your eyes open for spawning Salmon which congregate in the deeper pools. There are several around the camp area in the deeper pools. If you find a pod of Salmon, look behind them as many times large trout will lie below and eat their eggs. Egg patterns ranging from orange to chartreuse can be very effective in catching these fish.

After noon keep your eyes open for hatching BWO’s. On certain days we can have some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Remember that these Mayflies favor cloudy conditions and have an aversion to bright sun, so those blustery, cloudy, even snowy afternoons will have the strongest hatches. Otherwise stick with a dry/dropper and change the dropper if you are not catching fish. Think small!

This is also a great time of year to throw large streamer patterns particularly on cloudy days when the big Browns may be active. I recommend Dalai Lamas in olive and white or Sculpzillas in almost any color. Swing your flies through the runs and vary your retrieves from super fast to slow to find a pattern that may catch you some big fish. During the next few weeks, look for the trout to start grouping up in the deep holes as they dig in for winter.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- The Dream Stream

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportThe Dream Stream right now is low and crystal clear as well, so use caution when you approach. These fish are not stupid and spook very easily! Be patient and you will see a number of large Rainbows and Browns suspended in the foam lines and eating on or just under the surface. They are quite active. Once you locate a fish, take your time and concentrate on one or two good casts to him and you may hook into a monster. Fish can be seen rising to Midges and BWO’s throughout the day and there are still plenty of Hoppers flying around on warm afternoons. Ideally one would be fishing with 6X tippets here now, but the odds are slim of landing that 6 lb. plus fish with such small tippet. Better to use a longer leader of up to 12’ tapered down to 5X for your smaller flies and 4X for a small Hopper. Even then it can be a challenge to land a hot fish. If you show a rising fish your dry a couple of times and he doesn’t eat it, rest him for a bit and try another fly. We have had very good luck with #20 BWO patterns over the last week but some BWO patterns seem more effective than others so experiment until you find the right one.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- The Ponds at Wilder

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportAll of our ponds are full of feisty Rainbows and Browns and after a summer of fine dining some of these fish exceed 8 lbs. Despite their size, you can find these lunkers sipping small Midges and Mayflies throughout the day. I always like to show them a small dry first and see how they react. Keep your tippets to 4X or larger and try to put your fly in front of several different fish before changing. If a small dry proves unsuccessful, try a larger Hopper type dry and see what happens. I have seen some of these large fish ignore a Hopper for several casts and then all of a sudden decide to eat it. So be patient! Otherwise I would suggest fishing a small bead head nymph or #6-8 Wooly Bugger attached directly to your leader. Slow crawl your fly and make sure to let it drop down between strips as this is generally when they’ll eat it. Strip, pause, strip, pause etc. Watch the end of your fly line between strips as many times when the fish take on a slack line the only way you will know is if your fly line starts moving one way or another. These fish are not easy to hook but persistence will pay off and if you stick to it you may land a trophy fish before the snow flies for good.

As mentioned this is my final Taylor River Fly Fishing Report of the season. In another couple of weeks, I’m off to open up our Valle Bonito Lodge in Southern Chile and join Antonia and Vicente for our Patagonia fishing season which runs from December through April. If any of you want to escape winter and get some fly fishing in while things are frozen up here, drop us an email at Luwarner@mac.com. Otherwise I wish you all a great winter and look forward to seeing you in the spring. Thanks for another wonderful season at Wilder on the Taylor!

Cheers,

Lu Warner
Master Fly Fishing Guide, Wilder on the Taylor

Wilder Building a Riverside Cabin Available for Purchase

Untitled design

Wilder is offering the convenience of a brand new, riverside cabin along the Taylor River.

When purchasing a homestead at Wilder on the Taylor, people typically build their own custom homes and fishing cabins, resulting in a variety of beautiful structures that complement the historic ranch’s landscape. In order to make it easy for someone who desires the convenience of a turnkey residence, Ron Welborn, Partner of Wilder and Architect, Dan Murphy have collaborated for months to create the ideal riverside cabin on homestead 11.

Phase 1: Riverside Cabin

The 2,200-square-foot cabin, designed by Crested Butte architect Dan Murphy, has exceeded our goal of creating a one-story home that is nestled on the edge of the Taylor River and aesthetically fits on the ranch. The cabin features covered porches for a relaxed and comfortable setting and other outdoor living spaces that capitalize on the surrounding natural beauty at Wilder.

Wilder in the Taylor Riverside Cabin InteriorSpecially selected reclaimed woods are being used in the interior as well as the exterior to provide a warm and welcoming feel, including Douglas Fir beams from Montana that are more than 100 years old and heated hardwood floors. A low stone foundation fashioned from local moss granite rock also is part of the architectural fabric.

Designed for two families to enjoy with privacy, the riverside cabin comfortably accommodates four adults and their children. The kitchen, dining and living areas casually flow together in one large great room and a master bedroom and bathroom on one side and a junior master suite and bunk room, both with private bathrooms, on the other. A mud room on the riverside of the house has plenty of nooks for fishing poles, waders and other items, with the Taylor River only steps away.

Wilder in the Taylor Riverside CabinAdditional highlights are a soaking tub and steam shower in the master bathroom and a great room with a large rock fireplace, sure to leave guests warm, cozy and relaxed. A breezeway connects to a garage and covered outdoor dining space, handy for those cool summer evenings.

The riverside cabin is masterfully situated with views up and down the Taylor River. The architect, Dan Murphy, carefully planned each room with views of the river.  “With the open floor plan and large windows across the back of the cabin, you have a view of the river from every room of the cabin except the bunk room,” commented Dan Murphy.

This stunning riverside cabin is currently available for purchase directly through Wilder on the Taylor.  Click here to view photos of progress being made. Contact us for a private showing of this rare offering.

Taylor River Fishing Report – August 2016

Taylor River Fishing Report from Wilder on the Taylor – August 24 2016

taylor river fishing reportAs we enter the last week of August, fishing conditions are prime on the Taylor river at Wilder. With flows just below 300 CFS and water temps in the mid 40’s, the last blast of the summer monsoon is bringing large hatches of Blue Winged Olives in the afternoons and the dry fly fishing is excellent. As we enter September these BWO hatches combined with Midge, Caddis, Gray Drake and PMD events will continue and keep the surface activity rolling through October.

As usual on the Taylor, mornings can start slow on the river as the fish are cold and slow to activate knowing that the afternoons will bring a feast of mayflies. There have been a few trico spinner falls around 10 am that can bring up fish in glassy water. This event doesn’t last long and generally an hour is all you’ll have to put on your best trico imitation and try to fool these wily trout. 6x is a must and a 12 foot leader will assist in keeping your presentation light and drag free. Don’t overcast these fish or they will disappear on you. Try a couple of drifts and if they don’t react wait until they begin rising again and try a few drifts with a different fly.

There have also been some PMD spinner falls in mid morning and a size 16 Rusty Spinner can be a great pattern. Look for mayflies dancing up and down over the water doing their mating flight and again, look for smooth water to find fish sipping these dead mayflies.

Otherwise I have been liking a size 12 Para Adams with 3-4 feet of 6X and a size 20 Pheasant tail dropper. Until you see fish rising, this is a very effective way to begin the day.

As the water warms in the afternoon, bugs will begin to fly and you will find the best fishing between 12 and 5 pm. On sunny days, we have already had numerous flying ant hatches so pay attention as these bugs can be hard to see on the water. One clue is that you will see fish rising and nothing on the surface. Closer inspection will reveal thousands of tiny black ant bodies in the surface film. A size 20 Para ant will work well. If you find yourself with no small ants, take a black perma marker and blacken the body of a size 20 para Adams. Flying ants come out in the early fall on a sunny day after a hard rain, usually the day before. They wait until the dirt gets wet and softens before they fly and mate so the females can burrow in, lay their eggs and start a new colony.

taylor river fishing reportSometime in the early afternoon you will start to see fish rising more aggressively as the BWO’s begin to hatch. When you see this, make sure to lighten and lengthen your leader/tippet and be ready to try some different BWO patterns until you find the right one. Make your presentations soft.  This is key on the Taylor.

During this time period keep your eyes open for Gray Drakes and PMD’s. The Gray Drakes are big, size 12 or so and when they hatch larger fish will come to the surface. Watch closely what the fish are eating. The other day during a BWO hatch, I noticed that many fish were eating Caddis. A size 20 Elk Hair fooled 11 fish in front of camp in just a few minutes before writing this report. Whatever is going on out there, be observant and take the time to figure out what the fish are eating before casting your line.

In the next couple of weeks, we’ll see the female Brown trout begin to jump high in the air and slap the water to loosen up their eggs as they prepare to spawn in October. Not only is this a thrill to watch, it tells you exactly where the fish are. This time of year Streamers can be very effective in triggering a large Brown to strike. If things are slow on the river, don’t hesitate to tie on a big black Sculpzilla and swing it deep through the runs and tailouts. Use a minimum of 2x tippet and try to work your fly slowly through promising looking lies that include structure of some sort…rocks, trees, logs etc. Cloudy days and low light times will be best for Streamer fishing throughout the fall.

taylor river fishing reportLook for flows to drop in early September and be ready to spot some monsters as the water drops and the larger fish become more visible. If you do spot a monster, take your time and make a plan to get your fly into his face without spooking him. Oftentimes it is a process of trial and error to find the right fly. Make a couple of good drifts to the fish and if he doesn’t react change. Last week, we landed out biggest Cutthroat ever at the Wilder, a 25 inch male that was one of the most colorful fish I have ever seen. We spotted this fish and changed flies 5 times before he finally ate a #6 Olive Pat’s Rubber legs.

The Dream Stream has been on fire since the hay meadow was cut in July. Big fish are laying by the banks just waiting for a fat grasshopper to fall in. We have had some incredible days out here throwing a large Parachute hopper. Several rainbows well over 20 inches have been landed and a couple have topped the scales at over 6 lbs. Additionally we have caught numerous Browns, Cutthroat and Brook trout throughout the summer.

taylor river fishing reportIt seems like the fish are getting a bit leery of the large hopper patterns, so recently I have been throwing a #16 Madame X as a smaller hopper imitation and it has been working very well. Typically, the hoppers start to fly when things warm up a bit so don’t be surprised if fewer fish react in the morning than the afternoon. There have also been some strong BWO hatches on the stream. If you see fish rising and they ignore your hopper, change to a #16 or smaller Para Adams or BWO and try a few casts. If you don’t and the Hopper isn’t working, tie on a #16 Pheasant Tail dropper or San Juan worm and work through the deeper holes.

Always check your tackle before casting into the Dream Stream as there are some tackle busters in here. I suggest a minimum of 4x tippet even though it can be hard to push through the eye of a size 16 fly. If you hook a large fish in here it may take some antics to land it as these fish try to burrow under the rocks and can break your tippet pretty easily. Try to work the fish around the rocks keeping your rod high while engaged in battle with one of these monsters. Please release your fish carefully and don’t remove him from the water. Remember any fish you catch has been fighting for his life so take the time to revive him well before continuing on your way. While we all love pictures of our big fish, more important is to release the fish in good condition. Holding a fish up for a picture is fine if you do it quickly but please remember that the fish is suffering when out of the water and that they do not breathe air.

Approach the Stream carefully so you don’t spook all the fish before your first cast. Fish cannot hear you talk but they can feel every vibration of your feet hitting the ground so walk softly along the stream. Your best shot is the first cast so make it count and get ready.

The 6 ponds at Wilder are full of very large trout. Some Rainbows are close to 10 lbs and they pull hard. At this time of year, the fish are looking for Hoppers, Midges and small nymphs. I always like to start by throwing a big Hopper out there and see what happens. If the fish ignore it then it is time to either try a smaller dry or to slow crawl a small nymph through the weed beds. If both of these techniques fail, don’t hesitate to try a #6 or #8 Black or Olive Wooly bugger dragged slowly near the bottom.

taylor river fishing reportAs in the stream, make sure to check and re check your terminal tackle and use tippets of 4X or larger to handle these bruisers. When you hook one let him run..don’t try to stop him or you will hear the sickening snap of your tippet breaking.

Before you release your fish, please take some time to revive it and make sure it swims away right side up. Many times these fish will be stunned from capture and will go belly up. If that happens either re capture and revive the fish or give him a poke with your rod tip. Oftentimes this is all they need to wake back up and swim away in good shape.

As we come into Fall, I look forward to seeing the leaves turning, the big browns jumping and the BWO hatches getting thicker as the fish put on some pounds before the long winter that lies ahead.

Enjoy your time on the water in this beautiful place.

Cheers,

Lu Warner
Master Guide, Wilder on the Taylor

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Building Community of Owners with Wilder Thursdays

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building

Building community begins with Wilder Thursdays, the time of the week that homeowners gather on summer evenings for casual conversation, delicious food prepared by on-site concierge Antonia Beale and casting tips from master fishing guide Lu Warner.

Wilder on the Taylor Community BuildingThe safari-like Founder’s Porch and spacious Wilder lawn, surrounded by the sweet sounds of the nearby Taylor River, are the living and dining room for the 5:30 – 8 p.m. gatherings, which kick off with hors d’oeuvres and beverages that typically combine Colorado foods and tastes of Argentina and Chile.Building Community at Wilder

Wilder on the Taylor Community BuildingWilder Thursdays happen in July and August, the months when many homeowners are enjoying their Wilder properties. At the first August gathering, Antonia shared her Argentine heritage by serving empanadas made with Wilder beef and Pisco sours, which Lu and Antonia described as similar to a margarita but with a unique twist. It is a beverage they share at Valle Bonito Lodge, the fishing property they operate in the Patagonia of Chile during the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley’s winter season.

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building DessertTender and flavorful Wilder steaks were grilled and served with sweet corn fresh from the field in Olathe not quite two hours away along with roasted vegetables and other tasty dishes, including over-the-top chocolate brownie bites topped with brilliant red raspberries.

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building Thursdays“The idea of this event—held every other Thursday—is that the owners could get to know each other. They are invited to attend with their guests,” Antonia says.

One of our owners had three visitors from Dallas accompany them at the early August gathering. Their annual girlfriend getaway includes attending Crested Butte Arts Festival , getting some time on the water fly-fishing, exploring the area and relaxing at Wilder.

Even if Mother Nature elects to share a few drops of rain on the Thursday evenings, there is plenty of space under the shelter of the Founder’s Porch along with heaters to take any chill off the crisp, clean mountain air. A few sprinkles definitely didn’t dampen any conversations or clinks of wine glasses to celebrate a time of building community of owners at Wilder on the Taylor on an idyllic August Thursday evening.Wilder on the Taylor Community Building Collage

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: July 8, 2016

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report
It’s been a while since my last Taylor River fly fishing report and lots has changed on the river at Wilder. Currently the dry fly fishing is as good as it gets with BWO’s, Green Drakes, PMD’s, Stoneflies and clouds of Yellow Sallies and Caddis hatching throughout the day. River conditions are excellent and with the high Spring flows steadily dropping, more and more water is fishing well and fish are moving into the shallows and looking up. Water temperatures have been hovering right around 50 degrees which is perfect for the fish to be aggressive and the bugs to hatch.

Morning Fishing

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportIn the mornings there are clouds of Midges as well as Mayfly spinners and Caddis. In the right water fish can be found rising softly and a small dry fished very quietly can find some large fish. We have done well with a #22 Sierra Dot fished behind a #18 Yellow bodied Elk hair Caddis. These fish won’t be rising like crazy, every once in a while they’ll come up so be patient as you scan the water looking for a target.

Mid-Day Fishing

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportAround 11 a.m-noon, fish will start to rise more frequently as the bugs start to pop. You’ll also see egg laying Caddis dipping on the water and fish will be chasing them. Other fish will be sipping small Mayflies and a few are looking for a well presented giant Green Drake. Search in the foam lines and seams and try to figure out what the fish are eating.

One technique that works very well for the next couple of weeks is skating a Caddis. Dress a size 14 or 16 Elk hair Caddis well, put it on a long 5x leader and cast across and slightly downstream. Hold your rod high and try to dance the fly lightly off the surface of the water. If the fly drowns, pull it back upstream and let it drift down again….repeat. When you get the hang of it you’ll be surprised at how many fish you will move.

Early Afternoon Fishing

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportIn the early afternoon is when you may see lots of Mayflies. Cloudy days are best. Recently between 1 and 4 pm there have been strong BWO, PMD and Flav (small Green Drake) hatches. Typically if the fish are eating Caddis you will see splashy rises, whereas if they are eating Mayflies, they will sip. They hammer the Big Green Drakes so watch the rise forms and choose your fly accordingly. That being said, at this time of year at Wilder, almost any dry fly you throw out there has a chance of being eaten by a wild trout.

Evening Fishing

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportAfter 4-5pm, the Mayfly action dies out and you can pretty much fish Caddis imitations until dark. I like small Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Para Caddis and Para Adams. Around 7:30 p.m. waves of Caddis travel up the river and it is one of the best times to be out there.

As usual, a soft presentation and good drift with a 9 foot plus 4X-6X leader is more important than a long cast. The softer that your fly hits the water and the better the drift is, the higher your odds of hooking into a Taylor River trophy trout.

If you feel the urge to fish a Dry/Dropper I’d recommend a #8 Golden Stone or Madame X as a dry with a 4 foot 5X dropper to a #14 Drake Nymph. If the larger Drake Nymph doesn’t produce, downsize the dropper fly to a size 16-20 Pheasant tail or micro May pattern.

Look for consistent afternoon hatches to continue and fish to keep rising through the month of July.

Fishing the Dream Stream

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportThe Dream Stream has been fishing better than ever. Consistent hatches of Caddis BWO and Green Drake keep the fish very surface oriented and a number of dry flies, well presented can entice fish up the 8 pounds. The deeper pools typically hold the bigger Rainbows and small to medium sized Browns are everywhere in the riffles. Once in a while a fish will respond to a Hopper but it is still a little bit early in the summer for that. I am finding that Para Adams from size 12-18 and size 8 Green Drake patterns are irresistible to the fish when they aren’t spooked. When the fish do get spooked, that’s the time to either move on to other fish or tie on a small dropper such as a #18 bead head Pheasant tail. Make your first cast right down the center of the foam line and get ready because these fish can crush your fly the instant it touches the water. Do as much as possible to be sneaky and not let the fish know that you’re there. Move and cast quietly and you greatly will increase your odds of hooking a monster.

Fishing the Ponds at Wilder

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportAll Wilder ponds have fish that can break your tackle, so rig up well before hooking into a 10 pounder that will quickly find the weak point of your equipment and/or knots. This time of year they are eating Damselflies like crazy and you will see them eating the nymphs subsurface in the shallows as well as jumping up in the air to catch the adults. Not only is this entertaining to watch it can be some fun fishing. Tie on a Damsel on 2-3X, check your knot, re check your tippet/leader knots, sight the fish, make the cast and hang on. Of course it’s not always that easy but it certainly can be. If the dry doesn’t produce, either a Black or Olive Wooly Bugger size 10 or a Damsel nymph cast out and retrieved slowly can do the trick.

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportThese are very big and very strong fish but do your best to land them quickly and take the time to revive them by working them back and forth in clean water and getting their gills moving. Try your best not to remove them from the water. Watch the fish as you release it and make sure it is right side up and stays that way. If the fish flips belly up, wade in, re-net it and revive it some more before letting it go.

This is the best time of year for the fly fisherman in Colorado so I hope you all get out there, enjoy the fishing and do your best to take care of the fish and the beautiful places that they live.

Keep your backcasts tight and high,

Lu Warner
Master Guide, Wilder on the Taylor