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

Calving Time Means Excitement at Wilder!

Calving Time at WilderCalving time at Wilder on the Taylor is always a special occasion, especially this year. Calvin’s registered Angus show heifer, Chevelle, was due to calve on March 1. She has a big personality and loves people. Calvin, Clay and I hauled her almost 7,000 miles last year to shows all over Colorado, Nevada and Oklahoma. She helped him win a spot to compete in the prestigious National Junior Showmanship contest. Being away at Oklahoma State University, Calvin was doubly anxious about this calving time and excited to see her first calf.

Calving time at WilderChevelle’s big day arrived on February 25. I was headed to Gunnison for Clay’s spring teacher conferences when she went into labor. Clay wanted to skip seeing his teachers to get home to Chevelle. We sped through the meetings and got home as Don was ready to assist Chevelle with having her calf. Clay jumped in and knew how to help his Dad pull a calf. I stood back speechless and extremely proud that my 14-year-old knew what to do! After a few tense minutes, her first calf was born, a beautiful, solid-black heifer. Just what Calvin wanted! She was a big girl, tipping the scales at 88 pounds. We all celebrated, and I called Calvin and could hardly choke back the tears. 

Calving time at Wilder

Clay’s Angus show heifer, Bella, loves to play with Chevelle’s new calf, as she is just a yearling herself. They run around the hay feeders at top speed, stop, buck and butt heads. It’s comical to watch those two enjoying life. When we feed Bella, we have to tie her halter to the fence while she eats her grain, otherwise she helps herself to everyone’s feed tubs in the pen. Chevelle’s calf proved she has her mother’s spunky personality as she stuck her nose in Bella’s feed, then pulled the tub just out of Bella’s reach! Bella was bawling at her, and Calvin was falling down laughing! He has really enjoyed watching her since he’s been home for spring break.

Calvin Sabrowski Jr AngusThere is no one in the Sabrowski family who doesn’t look forward to calving time despite the sleepless nights, anxiety and worry. It is a small investment of our time for what we get in return: lots of laughter, funny stories and time spent together as a family. I cherish these moments experiencing the first breath of a new life with Don and my boys at Wilder. (Calvin Pictured with his prized heifer, Chevelle)

For more information about this special Crested Butte land we know as the Wilder, visit our website at WilderColorado.com.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide Sends Letter from Patagonia

From Lu Warner, Master Guide at Wilder on the Taylor

Hello All,

Greetings from Southern Chile. I hope you are all enjoying the Crested Butte winter activities and getting ready for another fun season of Taylor River fly fishing at Wilder. I will be arriving there on May 2nd and am looking forward to getting out and spending some time on the water with all of you and doing whatever I can to help you enjoy and fish well in this amazing place.

Wilder on the Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide, Lu WarnerThe Taylor is truly a world class fishery and all signs indicate that the river is super healthy and so is the large population of fish that live in it. Last year, Taylor River fly fishing at Wilder was nothing short of awesome and I think that despite higher than normal flows, all of our owners and guests enjoyed some very productive days on the water from mid May right on through October. On my last day of guiding last year, the river had just dropped to 150 CFS and I was astonished at the amount of huge fish that I saw throughout the entire river. Beware: there are some monster fish in there!

Rarick Creek and all of our Ponds also fished well and a large number of wild Browns and Rainbows mixed with a few wild Cutthroat and Brook trout moved in through the ditch system connected to Spring Creek. Hatches were strong and the fish were large and powerful.

Although we had a few fairly busy days, for most of the season the fisheries had very little pressure and due to higher water levels much of the river went un-fished until the late season. The current 2016 river level forecast predictions range from about 130 CFS in May to a high of 400 in early July and then dropping to between 300 and 150 in September and October. These are less than the predicted flows for 2015 but the reality is that lots can change in the coming 3 months in terms of the snowpack. Last year peak high water was forecast to be around 530 CFS yet the actual flows were double that due to lots of late snow in May. So it is really too early to tell. Regardless, on Wilder’s stretch of the river, Taylor River fly fishing can be excellent in both high and low water years.

One of the first orders of business this season will be to rebuild and fix the River trail where impressive ice dams tore it up over the winter. During this time we will see how the Dream Stream and Ponds did over the winter and make a stocking plan if needed. I will continue to dial in our fly selection and will have on hand an even better selection and larger stock of patterns and essentials for our owners and guests. Additionally, our stock of waders and boots will be upgraded.

Once we get all caught up with that, we will begin working on a Fisherman’s trail on the South Side upper part of the river and burning the brush piles from last years trail work projects as the weather conditions allow. This will open up access to a few spots that are almost impossible to access right now. During the summer we will continue removing branches and dead trees from strategic places to provide as many fishing locations as possible and as usual I will be sending out a detailed fishing report about every two weeks and will include info about the flows, hatches and best techniques.

Until then, I’ll be finishing off my season down here in Patagonia and will be available by email for any questions, requests or concerns that you may have regarding Taylor River fly fishing. I look forward to seeing you all this coming Spring and Summer.

Tight lines,

Lu

Crested Butte Home Construction: A Year-Round Affair

Crested Butte New Home Construction

Crested Butte home construction continues regardless of the weather that winter brings. It might be contrary to common logic, but building homes is a year-round affair even where snow falls regularly enough to ski, snowboard, snowmobile and snowshoe any day you choose in winter. Two longtime builders, based in the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley and working on homes for families from Dallas and Oklahoma City at Wilder on the Taylor, don’t think twice about working on projects when snowflakes fly. They offer some wise pieces of advice for those who are considering a Crested Butte home construction project.

“I’ve been building here 40 years and built every winter, it’s part of what you do,” says Steve Cappellucci, owner of Spring Creek Timber Construction located in nearby Spring Creek. “Generally you build year-round here, especially with the houses being built now that take time and have a lot of detail. They are year-long projects at a minimum.”

Crested Butte New Home ConstructionHe notes, “The best advice for anyone involved in a Crested Butte home construction project is to get the foundation in as soon as you can in the spring so you have the summer and fall seasons to get the house closed in. The key is starting early, not late, but we can’t always control the timing.”

Crested Butte New Home ConstructionFor example, the home he is working on for the Dallas couple was started in the fall of 2014, with the foundation dug before frost hit and an expected completion date of late February or early March of this year. Working through the winter does require some extra effort like snow removal and heating to keep tools, features and construction workers warm. For example, completing the masonry work on the fireplaces for this home during winter required tenting both chimneys.

Crested Butte New Home ConstructionThe home Scott Hargrove is building for the Oklahoma family integrates a historic cabin from the area and had an even later start date, mid-December 2014. A March completion date is expected. “It was such a warm, beautiful winter last year,” he notes. “In February it was so beautiful that dirt work was being done with shirts off!”

Crested Butte New Home ConstructionWhile that might not be the norm, it’s typical to strive for getting the roof on and the house dried in so the construction team can work on the interior during the winter. “We have the house warmed up and heat on by Thanksgiving. We work on the inside all winter and wait for the nice days to work outside,” says Hargrove, owner of Hargrove Construction in Crested Butte.Crested Butte New Home Construction

“If you don’t figure out how to work during winter, you would be home watching soap operas,” he chuckles. “Sometimes working in the winter is better than the rainy weather of summer.”

Home construction at Wilder on the Taylor is active throughout the seasons, and the blanket of snow on the meadow hasn’t slowed the pace of building this winter. Ron Welborn, development partner at Wilder, says, “We are all anxious to share the warmth and comfort that these beautiful homes will bring to the families at Wilder.”

For more information about Crested Butte land for sale visit wildercolorado.com.  We look forward to speaking with you about life on the majestic Taylor River and why this is a special place to begin your Crested Butte home construction plans.

Women’s Fly-Fishing Clinic: September 14 & 15

Woman Fly-FishingWilder invites the women in the valley to come out and enjoy a complimentary day of fly-fishing on the private waters of Wilder on the Taylor.  Whether you are looking for a relaxing mom’s day out with your friends or just looking for a reason to celebrate the start of fall, it is sure to be a fun day.  For those of you ladies who are not familiar with the property, Wilder on the Taylor is a historic 2,100-acre ranch located between Gunnison and Crested Butte along 2 miles of the Taylor River.

Woman Fly FishingWilder is providing complimentary instruction, equipment and a light lunch with two days to choose from, Sept. 14 or 15, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Our very own Master Fly-Fishing Guide, Lu Warner who is full of knowledge and always has insightful fishing advice will be leading the clinic. Whether you are a beginner that has never tried the sport or simply want to expand your current skills, Lu offers treasured pointers.

Lu-Warner-TroutSince 1985, Warner has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Alaska, Argentina and southern Chile. He has guided during the summer and fall in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area since 2000, the last six years at Wilder. The rest of the year, Warner is in the Patagonia of Chile where he owns and operates Valle Bonito Lodge.

Woman Fly FishingAlong with Master Guide Lu, our General Manager, Brad Willet will be on-site and ready to help. Brad states, “We want to celebrate the women who live or spend time in the valley with a half-day of learning more about fly fishing and utilizing Wilder’s ponds, creek and river access. Taking a break for lunch on the lawn is the perfect time to swap stories and meet each other, and we hope it leads to more families and groups of women getting out to enjoy the sport.”

Please note that limited space is available and registration is required for this free event. You do not want to miss this fly-fishing clinic led by Lu. Register for free today by calling 970.641.4545.

Hope to see you there!

Women fly fishing clinic

 

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report: August 18, 2015

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportAn updated Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report written by Wilder’s Master Fly-Fishing Guide, Lu Warner. 

So far August has provided excellent fishing on the Taylor River. Flows at Wilder have remained about 30% above the 100 year average at approximately 485 CFS, with a drop of 50 CFS forecast to occur in the next few days. Despite the high water, the dry fly fishing has been phenomenal as hatches have occurred almost every day between noon and three p.m. Cloudy days have the strongest hatches and on peak days, the hatch can last from noon until 4:30 pm. River temperatures are about 52 degrees in the mornings and warm up slightly to reach the mid – fifties on warm afternoons.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

As usual, as the season progresses, the bugs get smaller and the fish more selective. We are still seeing a few Green Drakes but most insect activity is coming from PMD ‘s and BWO’s. The PMD’s are a size 16 and the BWO’s are smaller and average about a size 20. The BWO’s will become more important as we approach Fall and anglers should come well stocked with some different BWO patterns including emergers, dries and nymphs.

Caddis are still a factor, particularly the pupae, however the prolific hatches of June and July are behind us. Evenings and early mornings provide the best dry fishing with Caddis and skating a small dry seems to be much more productive during these periods than a dead drift.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Mornings are typically slow on the river, yet fish can be found rising in calm water for spent Mayfly spinners, Caddis and Midges. If you can find some fish feeding, making a stealthy approach and presentation will increase your odds of a hook up. Otherwise we have had excellent luck with a large PMX dry and a variety of droppers underneath. Good patterns include: Bead head Pheasant tails and Hare’s Ears, Rockworms(Caddis pupae) Midges and micro Mayflies. Tippets for the Droppers should be fine, 5-6x and the length and weight should be adjusted for the water that you are fishing.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportTowards noon, especially on cloudy days, you will start to see PMD and BWO Mayflies hatching. When you see lots of bugs flying and/or fish rising, it is time to change over to a small dry. I recommend a double dry with a size 14-16 Para Adams or PMD above and a size 18-22 BWO behind. This makes it possible to fish a size 22 dry and maintain visual contact by watching the larger dry. Any rises near the larger dry signify that a fish has eaten the small one. Leaders should be long(over 9 feet) and tippets should be 5x and 6x. Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportDuring this time, if you are patient and pay attention, you may see some larger fish slowly sipping these small bugs. If you do, watch carefully and try to present your fly exactly to the fish that you see rising. If you are not on target, there is a good chance that a smaller fish will grab your fly first and spook the bigger fish out of the pool.

If you are lucky, the hatch will last until about 3:30 – 4:30, then things will slow down considerably. Post hatch, between 4:30 and 7 pm., is a good time to fish a heavy Dry/ Dropper rig in the deeper holes and look for a larger fish. During this post meal time, the fish react pretty slowly so takes can be very subtle.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportWith any luck there will be some degree of a Caddis hatch from 7 til dark but recent hatches have not been consistent. Try skating a Caddis dry or fishing a large Moth type pattern as dusk approaches. If you find yourself on the river at dark, this is the time to try a large Mouse pattern over good holding water. Do not try to wade after dark, but fish carefully from the banks and skate your Mouse over the deeper holes.

Even on slow days on the Taylor, some fish will always respond to a well presented Para Adams in almost any size. The key is a soft presentation on the water and a good drift. Yesterday we had a son of one of our owners catch 2 fish on the same cast with one eating the Adams and the other, the dropper.

If you find yourself out of the action on the River, try a large terrestrial such as a Hopper, Beetle or Ant pattern. Oftentimes a juicy meal such as this will entice a lazy fish into eating.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

I look for slowly decreasing flows into September and increasing BWO and Mahogany Dun activity both on top and sub surface. As the water drops, fish become more spooky so remember your two best weapons as an angler: Stealth and Observation. Move slowly, look around and use a long leader to present your fly softly.

As flows drop, this is the time to search the deep holes for big fish that have remained out of site during the early season. If you spot a monster, take your time and figure out the best approach and rig to get your fly right in front of it’s face without spooking it.

With all of the thunderstorms and rain in July, the hay cutting in the meadow has gone slowly. At the moment Don and his crew are cutting the last of the hay along the Upper part of Rarick Creek. This is the best time to throw a Grasshopper pattern and big fish oftentimes forego all caution to eat a well presented Hopper. As always on Rarick Creek, your best bet is to start with a dry and see how it goes. If you do not have any action, then it may be time to try a small Pheasant tail dropper tied about 2 feet below your dry. Last week we hooked and landed an 8 lb rainbow in the Creek and several fish in the 20-24 inch range so make sure that here, you use larger tippets such as 3 and 4x.

If you try a variety of Hopper patterns without success it may be time to size down and try a smaller dry such as a #16 para Adams or BWO.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

When you land one of the larger fish in the Creek, make sure that you take your time and revive the fish well before releasing it. Oftentimes it is best to carry the fish quickly up to faster water and hold him there in the current until he recovers. Once he swims away, keep your eye on him until you are sure he is ok. Oftentimes the fish will take off quickly and then turn belly up a moment later. If so, try to recapture the fish and revive him well.

As with all of our waters at Wilder, barbless hooks are required so please carefully check or de-barb each fly before you tie it on. Fish mortality rates increase dramatically with a barbed hook.

All of our 6 ponds are full of large Rainbows and Browns. We caught a Rainbow 2 weeks ago that was close to 10 lbs. While on the spooky side, these fish can be caught with a well presented dry or dry/dropper combo. There are still a few Damselflies around but mostly the fish there are looking for Hoppers. I like to throw the Hopper pattern well in front of a fish, twitch it a couple of times and see how he reacts. If he doesn’t eat it the first time, keep presenting your fly directly to the fish until he either swims away, spooks or eats it. I always like to try a fly on 2 or 3 different fish before I change patterns. Remember the basic rule: If what you’re doing isn’t working,change and try something else!
Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

As with the stream, please take the time to revive your fish until he swims away strongly. With warm summer temperatures, oxygen content of the water drops and the fish have a hard time recovering after a lengthy battle. Try to play your fish quick and hard and bring him to the net as soon as possible to avoid over tiring him. After landing a fish, check your tippet by carefully running your fingers along it. If it feels rough and abraded, take the time to change the tippet as abraded tippets will likely break on your next hookup.

Despite it being the dog days of mid August, fishing is still excellent on all of our waters at Wilder. Hope you have a chance to get out there and enjoy it.

Please feel free to contact me directly for an up to the minute fly-fishing report or any questions that you may have. I can be reached at 970-946-4370.

Tight lines,

Lu

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: July 27, 2015

With the Spring runoff finally gone, flows on the Taylor River at Wilder have stabilized around 500 CFS with the dam release set at 400 CFS until mid August. This is still about 100 CFS above normal for this time and even though a bit on the high side, the River is on fire with large hatches occurring everyday and dry flies being the fly of choice.

Taylor River Fishing ReportMorning river temperatures are about 49 degrees and as usual the fish can be a bit sluggish in the mornings as they await the big hatches of the afternoon. Try fishing shallow riffles with Green Drake spinners and Para Adams on the surface. Concentrate on these areas with your dries as in the deeper pools fish will be unwilling to rise until about mid day. If you choose to start off with a dry/dropper or nymph rig, one of your droppers should be a Green Drake Nymph and the other a small Caddis pupa or micro Mayfly. Make sure that your presentation is getting down to the fish before changing your rig. Oftentimes a small split shot on a nymph rig can make all the difference in your success.

Taylor River Fishing ReportTowards Noon you will start to see a variety of bugs hatching on the water, particularly on cloudy days. These will include several types of Stoneflies, Caddis, Green Drakes, PMD’s and BWO’s. When you see the first insects hatching…get ready! Change up to a long leader(9 plus feet) and 5x tippet, tie on a Green Drake Dry with a smaller Dry such as a #18 Para Adams, #16 PMD, #18 Para Caddis or #20 BWO about 20 inches behind and cast to rising fish. This double dry rig can save time in helping you figure out which fly they want. We have seen the most intense hatches occur during the hardest rainstorms as the rain traps the emerging insects on the surface and the fish literally go crazy eating these helpless bugs.

Taylor River Fishing ReportOn Saturday at 1 pm, the rain was pounding on the river and I witnessed one of the most intense rises I have ever seen. For about 20 minutes, it seemed as if every fish in the river was crashing the surface eating Drakes, PMD’s and BWO’s. These intense feeding periods are often short lived, so assuming that there is no lightning, it is worth standing out in the rain to experience one of these incredible moments in fly fishing. These are times when the big fish come to the surface so try to target a larger fish with your dry. Many times what happens is that the small fish beat the bigger fish to your fly. To avoid this, watch carefully and look for a big fish to target.

Taylor River Fishing ReportWe have had success with a variety of Green Drake and PMD patterns during the hatch. If you are sure that you are getting a good drift and the fish aren’t eating your fly, try different patterns until you find something that they like. Make sure that the fish you see is actually eating on the surface and not below. If you see heads popping up, it’ a good sign that a dry will work. If all you see is the fishes backs, there is a likelihood that they are eating emergers just under the surface and a floating nymph or emerger pattern will be your best bet. These fish can be finicky during the hatch. If you are not having luck with a dead drift, try skating your fly and bouncing it along the surface. Often times this will trigger a strike that a dead drift won’t.

Taylor River Fishing ReportWe are currently experiencing the best dry fly fishing of the year on the Taylor. The fish are eating like crazy and it is a perfect time to be on the river. Last week with a crew from Tennessee we caught the same 22 inch Rainbow on 2 different days on a dry, a sure sign that the fish are looking up and willing to eat.

Peak activity is from around 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. This is when you want to be on the water. It seems that between 4 and 7 p.m., the fishing slows quite a bit until the evening Caddis rise begins around 7-8 pm. We generally do better during this Caddis hatch by skating rather than dead drifting our Caddis patterns. Cast across and slightly down, hold your rod way up and try to tease your fly along the surface. Be careful with your hook set when skating with a tight line as it is easy to over set and break off the fish.

Taylor River Fishing ReportI would like to caution everyone to be watchful of the sky and at the first sign of lightening or nearing storm cell, please reel up and get off of the water. Oftentimes these storms will be violent and fast moving but also short lived. Waiting until they pass is the right call no matter how many fish are rising. Remember that no trout is worth the risk of waving a 9 foot graphite fly rod around in a lightning storm.

I look for flows to hold in the low 500 range through mid August and fishing to continue to be excellent on top. The Green Drakes will pass soon but smaller dries will continue to bring up fish for the rest of the season.

Taylor River Fishing ReportRarick Creek has been providing explosive surface action with Hopper and Damsel patterns. As the hay meadow is cut, Grasshoppers flock to the stream banks and particularly on windy afternoons, the fish are just laying in wait for one to hit the water. They are liking a #8 Parachute Hopper pattern presented very lightly on the water. Look for foam lines and deep edges along the banks to present your fly. Last week we had a guest land a heavy 25 inch Rainbow that absolutely annihilated a Hopper pattern the instant it hit the water. If your Hopper pattern goes untouched, try a #16 Pheasant Tail dropper about 18 inches below your dry and see what happens. Taylor River Fishing ReportAs you walk the Creek, fish the shallow riffles as well as the deep holes as you may find some large fish hiding in shallow
water.

Taylor River Fishing ReportIf you catch a fish in the Creek, please take the time to revive it well before releasing him. If the fish is not looking good, quickly take it to a riffle and hold the fish pointing into the fast current until he swims away. Then watch him as he swims off to make sure he is ok. Sometimes the fish will appear ok, but then a couple of minutes later will turn belly up. If this is the case, re-net the fish and revive him some more. Please do not hold the fish out of the water for any longer than necessary to take a quick photo.

Taylor River Fishing ReportOther successful patterns have been a #16 Para Adams, Green Drake and Damselfly dries.

After releasing a fish, run your fingers along your tippet to check for abrasions. These big fish like to rub your line against the rocks and will do a good job of weakening it. If you feel any roughness, cut off the tippet and replace before casting again.

The Ponds have been kicking out some big Rainbows on Hopper and Damselfly patterns. Walk the edges and try to sight a big fish, then throw your fly about 10 feet in front of it, give it a twitch or two and see how he reacts. Try this on a few fish before changing your fly or adding a dropper. These are big, powerful fish so when you hook one make sure to let it run when it wants to to avoid breaking off what could be a trophy Rainbow. If the larger patterns are not working, scale down and try a smaller dry. I try not to use any tippet lighter than 4x here as 5x will lead to many broken off fish.

Taylor River Fishing ReportIt is common that after hooking a few fish, the rest will spook and stop eating. If you find yourself in this situation, walk away, try another Pond and return an hour or two later to try again.

All in all the fishing at Wilder has been off the charts for the past week. If you want to experience world class dry fly fishing, schedule a trip with us soon and enjoy our amazing fisheries.

Please feel free to contact me directly for an up to the minute fly fishing report or any question that you may have. I can be reached at 970-946-4370

Tight lines,
Lu

Taylor River Fishing Report: June 12, 2015

Crested Butte Fly-Fishing

The recent storms have made a big impact on the summer fly-fishing forecast.  Wilder’s Master Guide, Lu Warner, gives his updated Taylor River Fishing Report

This April, we were very concerned about our low snowpack as totals for the Gunnison River basin were in the 65% range and all indications pointed towards low river flows for the summer. In early May, all water level projections were thrown out the window as storm after storm pounded the mountains. Over a 10 day period, our snowpack increased from 65% of normal to 95% of normal. Cold temperatures delayed the runoff as the snowpack increased. In early June the runoff started, triggered by a few warm days and river levels rose to normal historic flows. Just when it looked like flows had peaked at 1050 CFS, the rain began again and combined with accelerated snowmelt from the rain, river flows spiked again and some rivers in the area like the East and Slate reached record historic flow levels as of today. Taylor Park reservoir filled to the brim and currently outlfows at the Dam are at 775 CFS and expected to climb into the 900’s over the weekend. Last night the Taylor at Almont reached 1700 CFS and I expect that figure to increase over the next few days before we reach peak flows sometime next week. Water is off color but fishable and water temperatures remain in the low to mid 40’s.

Crested Butte Fly-FishingAt this moment river fishing in Gunnison County is pretty much on hold due to high water. The Taylor is one of the few exceptions and although high and slightly off color fishing can be productive using weighted nymph rigs and fishing “soft spots” and pockets along the banks. Wading is dangerous at these river levels and anglers should use extreme caution when entering the river. My recommendation is to fish from the bank as plenty of fish move out of the heavy water and can be found near the shore.

The most important thing when fishing the runoff is to make sure that you have enough weight to get your fly or flies down to the fish. This is more important than what pattern you use. Adding and removing split shot to your flies can make a big difference in your results.

Crested Butte Fly-FishingAt this time of year, the fish are quite opportunistic and will eat a variety of nymphs including large Princes, Pheasant tails, Hare’s Ears, Stonefly, Caddis and Mayfly nymphs as well as San Juan Worms and Streamers fished deep on a slow swing. Find places where the water slows down and fish these spots carefully, making several drifts before moving on. The water is cold, visibility is below normal and speedy currents move your fly in strange ways underneath the surface. Your fishing speed should slow down to compensate for these challenges. Many times you will get a strike after 5 or 6 casts in the same area. There has been a little hatch activity along the edges of the river during the afternoon and some fish can be seen rising for BWO’s and Caddis. Look for the surface activity to increase throughout June as flows drop, water temperatures warm and visibility increases.

Crested Butte Fly-FishingThe “Dream Stream” is an excellent choice right now while the river is high. Water is clear and fish are responsive to a variety of Dries and Droppers. Mid-day they concentrate on Blue Wing Olives and the hatches on the Stream have been quite strong, with many fish rising in each hole. To fish a small Dry here successfully your approach and presentation must be quiet and precise. These rising fish will not tolerate a sloppy cast and will spook quickly if you get to close. Long (12”) leaders tapered to 5x are a good choice here. If the fish go down(Spook) when you begin fishing a hole, it’s time to switch to a Dry/Dropper set up as spooked fish will hardly ever eat on the surface. Try a small Hopper pattern with a #14 Bead head Pheasant Tail dropper and fish the main seams and currents as this is where the fish will try to hide. The Rainbows are fat and aggressive in the Stream right now and it is a great time to get out there and test your skills against these little torpedoes.Crested Butte Fly-FishingAll of the Wilder Ponds are clear and fishing well. The water temperatures are perfect for the fish to be very active and feeding fish can be seen throughout the day on any of the Ponds. Right now, the fish have a preference for small Dries but soon, the Damselflies will begin hatching and non-stop surface action can be had with the right Damsel imitation. If you’re not having luck on top, try a Dry/Dropper set up with a #16 Bead head Pheasant Tail nymph Dropper. As the fish approach, twitch your fly slightly to get their attention and then let it fall. These fish have a habit of eating the fly on the fall so watch your Dry carefully as there might be only the slightest indication that a fish has taken your fly. Some of our ponds contain some monster Rainbows so make sure to play your fish carefully as it doesn’t take much for one of these slabs to break you off.

All in all we are right on track for another awesome fishing season at Wilder. By the end of June we should be greasing up the Dry flies and fishing to rising fish as the big hatches get underway.

If any of you are planning a trip to Wilder on the Taylor, please feel free to write me at Luwarner@mac.com for an up to the minute Taylor River Fishing Report.

Tight lines,

Lu

The Impact of Snowpack on Summer Fly-Fishing in Gunnison Valley

Fly Fishing in Gunnison Valley
Article written by Guest Author, Jim Garrison.  Jim is a 23 year resident of the Gunnison Valley, fly-fishing guide, and photographer.

SnowpackSnowpack in the Colorado mountains is a critical part of our lives. As a flyfishing guide and landscape photographer I pay attention to the snowpack each year. I have lived in the Gunnison Valley for 23 years. My work time is divided between guiding flyfishing and photography. This snow season has been a unique one. Early snow storms had us set up for a good snowpack but an unseasonably warm January, February and March brought us down to 56% snowpack. February and March were great fishing months this year but we were worried it could be a dry Summer. Fortunately April had a “normal” amount of snow and May has been one of the wettest, coolest ones I can remember. We went form a 56% to a 74% snowpack and still have wet weather in the forecast.

Fly Fishing at Wilder on The TaylorI feel confident that our snowpack will get us through the Summer and Fall in good shape. Most of our insect hatches should be close to their normal schedules this year. One thing that is unique this year is our run-off was not as big as usual so our trout had a less stressful Spring.

wildflowers at WilderThis year, fly-fishing in Gunnison Valley at Wilder on The Taylor should be great, as will the wildflower season. Speaking of Wilder there has been constant improvements to the property and new construction has been ongoing. The Gunnison Valley derives quite a bit of its income from tourism and second home owners. I personally feel that second home owners are the driving force behind our local economy. All of the construction guys I know, several are working on Wilder homes right now, are thankful that we have the second home owners here. I guide and sell my landscape photographs to several second home owners and have become friends with some. Projects like Wilder on the Taylor bring a lot of positive energy to the valley.

To view photos of the progress at Wilder, visit our weekly updated photostream.

About the Author:
Jim Garrison started his second career as a magazine photographer in 1985. From 1987 -1990 he took his family with him during the summer months and toured the state of Colorado doing arts festivals. During this time he was able to see every part of Colorado.  Out of all the beautiful places, he chose the Gunnison Valley as his home in 1991. Since then, his focus is area photography, the Paragon Art Gallery, and fly-fishing guide. Jim states, “I am lucky to have vocations that allow me to enjoy the beauty that God has created.”

Taylor River Fishing Report : May 10, 2015

Rainbow TroutWilder’s Master Guide, Lu Warner, gives his updated Taylor River Fishing Report. Before heading out for your next fish, be sure to take advantage of his expertise…

Springtime in the Colorado Rockies this year has brought much needed moisture to the region as a continual line of small, wet storms have helped to make up for the light winter snowpack. On May 1, the flows out of the dam on the Taylor were increased from 96 CFS to 150 CFS. Yesterday after a wet snow in the mountains and rain following, the Taylor bumped up from 250 CFS to 315 CFS at Almont signifying that the runoff has begun. I look for flows to peak in the low 600 range in late May and early June. Last year we peaked at 1560 CFS on June 3rd. Flows should maintain in the 300 range through Oct. 1 which is great news for fly fishermen as these levels are plenty to maintain a healthy fishery and just right to afford anglers reasonably good wading.

Currently, the river is slightly off color which is normal for this time of year and the fish are getting quite active feeding on a variety of nymphs but at the right times you can find fish rising for BWO’s and Midges in the eddies and seams. After a long winter of low flows and cold water, the Spring runoff helps to stir things up in the river and get both the bugs and the fish moving. We are fortunate at Wilder on The Taylor because the Taylor remains fishable throughout the runoff season while many other rivers in the area do not. ??Green Drake Nymph

Screen tests in the river reveal a huge biomass of Mayfly and Stonefly nymphs , Caddis Larva, and Midges. Colors average from light olive to a very dark olive/black and the majority of sizes range from size 14-20. During this time of year there is a ton of food available for the trout and they are not as selective as they will become when our legendary hatches begin. As the flows increase fish can always be found on the soft edges and banks with a Dry/Dropper set up or Streamer. I like to start with a #8 Madame X and a #16 tung head Prince nymph about 4 feet below.

Green Drake, Caddis and Stonefly nymphsIf you find yourself fishing the deep holes, it is probably time to fish a Bobber set up and allow as much as 8 feet from your Bobber to your nymph. Generally I find this unnecessary as lots of fish are in shallow water and can be caught without a Bobber and many will actually eat the Dry.

Around 1 p.m. look for Blue Winged Olives and Midges to begin hatching. You may also see some #20 or smaller Caddis and Stoneflies. If so, take a walk and look for seams and slower water where fish may be rising and sight fish a small dry. Peak activity seems to be between 12 and 5 p.m. and as usual the strongest hatches occur on the cloudiest, worst weather days.

Over the next few weeks we will begin to see stronger hatches and it won’t be long before a Dry fly is all that will be needed to have an action packed day at Wilder on The Taylor.

The Dream Stream is fishing very well right now. The fish respond to many different nymph patterns and in the afternoons can be found eating small BWO’s on the surface. Flows are perfect and should remain so throughout the season. The larger Rainbows in the Stream have become very wary so make sure to approach each hole with caution. I have seen these fish bolt (spook) before anglers even got into position to cast so make sure to move slow and make each cast count. There are some lunkers in here that will eat a variety of flies if they aren’t spooked. Trout CandyThis is a perfect time of year to spend a few hours on the Ponds and test your skills with some monster Rainbows. The fish here spend their days cruising slowly around and looking for easy to get food such as Backswimmers, Damselfly and Dragonfly nymphs, Mayfly nymphs, dries and Midges. When you arrive, take a few minutes to watch the water and see if you see any cruisers. make sure to get the sun at the right angle so you can see into the water. If you see a cruiser and he is near the surface or rising, a #20 Para Adams can be deadly. If the fish aren’t looking up, at this time of year I like to fish a #14 Para Adams with a 3 foot 5x dropper to a #20 Bead head Pheasant Tail or Midge and put the fly 10-15 feet away from the fish in his direction of travel. You have to experiment as some fish will tolerate a fly landing right on their noses and others will spook at the drop of a hat. Always show your fly to a few different fish before changing the pattern. If all else fails or the light is tough, try a Black Wooly Bugger and strip it in giving long pauses between the strips. Oftentimes the fish will take the fly on the pause so make sure to watch your fly line to detect any movement and set at the slightest indication.

If you are planning a tour of the Wilder, feel free to contact me at Luwarner@mac.com for an up to date Taylor River fishing report and recommendations.

Cheers,

Lu

Learn more about fly-fishing Patagonia Chile with Lu here.