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

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Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Master Fly Fishing Guide’s Summer Wrap-Up and Fall Forecast

Taylor River Fly Fishing As the Aspen leaves turn yellow, mornings on the river become a bit frosty and the brown trout “color-up” for spawning, it is becoming quite clear that Fall is just around the corner.Taylor River Fly Fishing

So far at Wilder, we have had an excellent season of fishing, good water levels and many happy owners and guests who have enjoyed the incredible fisheries that we have at the ranch.

Taylor RiverOur season started with concerns that a low winter snowpack would keep river levels at minimum levels throughout the summer. However, the month of May had different ideas and record precipitation quickly raised the snowpack from 65% of normal to well over 100%. As we watched the Taylor River rise from 200 CFS to over 2200 CFS, suddenly concerns were reversed as the dam at Taylor Reservoir was at maximum release capacity for about 2 weeks.

Taylor River Fishing ReportDespite the high flows, the early season provided plenty of action as fish moved to the edges and were receptive to big dries and droppers. As we progressed into late June, the legendary Taylor River hatches commenced and dry fly fishing season officially began. Green Drakes, Yellow Sallees, Caddis, Golden Stones, PMD’s and BWO’s hatched like never before on cloudy afternoons and evenings and our anglers were rewarded with epic catches and non-stop action right on through the dog days of mid August. Then, typical of all of our western rivers, things slowed down to a dull roar as hatches became spotty and the fish were not as reckless in their eating habits. Great fishing continued but the time window for the best dry fly fishing shrank from all day to 12-4 p.m. when small hatches of BWO’s and PMD’s enticed some of the larger fish to eat on the surface.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report  Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Now as we enter September we are beginning to see stronger hatches of BWO’s, PMD’s, Slate Gray and Mahogony Duns. These will intensify through the month of September and into mid October and our fishermen will enjoy some of the very best dry fly fishing of the year until the snow flies, ice forms on the river and rod guides ice up.

Taylor River Fishing ReportRarick Creek has been consistently good for the entire season with large Rainbows attacking Hopper patterns with a vengeance. In the last month we have landed several Rainbows north of 24 inches including one monster of 27 inches that ate one of our Hopper patterns.

Taylor River Fishing ReportOur six ponds have been consistently amazing as well with many hard fighting Rainbows in the 5-8 lb range being taken on Damselflies, Hoppers and Callabaetis dries.

All in all the 2015 season has been one of the best that I can remember at Wilder. Cool days, higher than normal water levels and continually increasing fish populations have provided wonderful sport for our growing contingent of new owners and their guests. We look forward to more of the same to continue this Fall and through the 2016 season. If you haven’t had a chance to cast your line at Wilder, now is the time to see what our ranch and fisheries are all about. You will not be disappointed.

Tight lines,

Lu Warner
Master Fly Fishing Guide
Wilder on the Taylor

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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 : 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.

Taylor River Fishing Report : May 1, 2015

Lu Warner Surveys Taylor River

Wilder’s master guide, Lu Warner, has studied the current river conditions and gives us his early spring Taylor River Fishing Report. Be sure to take advantage of his expertise before heading out to the river!

Hello Everyone,
I hope you are doing well and looking forward to some outstanding days of fishing at Wilder on the Taylor this coming season. I know that I am. I recently returned from my Lodge in Chile after a successful season and I am excited to get things rolling at Wilder. Green grass is coming up quickly, the snow is mostly gone, and our fisheries are looking better than ever.

Fishing the Taylor River

So far we are in pre-runoff conditions on the Taylor River at Wilder. Water levels out of the Dam are low at about 100 CFS and the Taylor is running clear and about 180 CFS at the Wilder. The recent Water Users Report for the Dam indicates that flows will increase on May 1 to 150 CFS, May 16 to 225 CFS and June 1 to 340 CFS. This will keep peak levels well below those of last year and moderate flows in the low to mid 300‘s should be sustainable until October.

Fly Fishing at Wilder on The TaylorRight now at Wilder, river conditions are low and clear. This ought to be the case until May 1. Even though it is springtime, fish are very spooky in the water conditions that we now have. Anglers should approach the water with stealth and fish as quietly as possible. Fish are starting to spread out through the river but some holes still have large numbers of fish podded up. Water temperatures are in the Upper 30’s. Fishing is best in the early to mid-afternoon when the water warms up a little. The fish can be quite active during this brief time period. In terms of hatches, we are seeing some Micro Stonefly, Midges and a few Blue Winged Olives. In the right places you can find nice fish sipping these small bugs and can have good success with a #20 Para Adams, Midge or BWO.

Generally however it is time to fish sub-surface with a nymph or double nymph rig. A good choice is to fish a large dry with a two dropper set up. I prefer a large Dry such as a #6 Madame X to a Bobber as occasionally a big fish will surprise you and eat the dry.

For the upper nymph I like a (#6–8) weighted Golden Stonefly imitation and for the bottom, a small(#20) Baetis or Midge nymph(pupa). The Stonefly will help bring your smaller fly down deep in the water column and although some fish will eat it, the majority of fish are concentrated on smaller bugs and will eat the smaller Mayfly or Midge pattern. I also suggest trying San Juan Worms, large Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ear’s, Pheasant Tails and Rubber legs. Egg patterns drifted deep can also be deadly this time of year as many Rainbows have recently finished spawning and their eggs are a popular menu item for all of the fish in the river.

One of the keys to fishing a Dry/dropper rig this time of year is to make sure that your nymphs have enough weight to get to the bottom of the water that you are fishing. In the early season most fish are not super aggressive so fish slower than you do during the summer. Frequently after multiple unproductive drifts, a large fish will come out of nowhere and grab. Getting “perfect” drifts with your flies at the right height in the water column is your goal. Strikes in this cold water are most often very subtle, so pay attention to the slightest hesitation of your indicator fly and react quickly.

Fly Fishing at Wilder on the Taylor RiverStreamer fishing is another alternative for early season fishing.. Mending a heavier streamer down into the deeper holes can be very effective and can entice some larger trout to strike. I like Sculpzillas (black and white), Muddy Buddy’s and Cone head Olive and Black Wooly Buggers. Fishing these Streamers by the banks is also a good technique. Look for undercuts, brush piles and any kind of structure and work your fly slowly along the edges.

Keep your eyes open for larger Rainbows in the shallow water at the heads and tails of the runs. Many of these fish just finished spawning and are actively feeding in the shallows. If you find such a fish, I like to change up to a smaller Dry/Dropper rig such as a #16 Para Adams and a #16-20 Bead head nymph heavy enough to get the fly in the fishes face. Try a couple of drifts and if he doesn’t eat, change the dropper until you find the right one rather than continuing to stir up the water with a fly he may not eat and risk spooking him. It can be worth the time spent.

Taylor River Fishing Report

The Dream Stream is looking fantastic right now. Due to a mild winter the Stream was basically free of ice dams throughout the winter so the natural fish population is the highest that we have ever seen. Many of these larger fish have been in the Stream for three to four years and are big and full of fight. In the afternoons fish can be found rising to small Mayflies and Midges. Before you make that first cast, take a minute and have a good look at the water to see if you see any risers. If so, tie a #20 Para Adams or BWO on a long leader with 5x tippet. If not, then it is best to try a Dry/Dropper with a #16 Bead head Pheasant Tail or San Juan Worm underneath a sized #10-14 Dry. Approach
each hole with caution as you may find fish in the very tail outs of the pools that will spook very quickly and go hide in the faster water above.

The Ponds also wintered very well. Fish are healthy and very active at this time. Most of the day you will see huge Rainbows sipping small Midges on the surface of the ponds. Best bet is to sight a fish and present a small dry on 5x tippet about ten feet away from the fish. Maybe give the fly a little twitch to attract the fishes attention and then let it sit. I like to show the fly to at least two or three different fish before changing it. If the fish eats your fly, be patient and wait until he closes his mouth completely before setting the hook. It is very easy to set to early and lose your crack at a monster Rainbow. If you can’t entice a fish with a Dry then tie on a small dropper and sight fish with this setup.

New Canal Crossover at Wilder on The Taylor RiverNow is a good time to enjoy wonderful early season fishing at Wilder. The Taylor River is easy to wade, fish are concentrated in deeper holes and the post spawn Rainbows are very aggressive as they try to put on the weight they lost during spawning. Look for the fishing to continue to improve as our legendary hatches are just around the corner.

Hope to see you on the water soon.

Cheers,
Lu

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report – July 27, 2014

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

We have been enjoying 2 weeks of the best dry fly-fishing of the year here at the Wilder. The Taylor river has dropped to just below 500 CFS and hatches have been prolific during the days as well as evenings. Fishing has been off the charts and several large fish have been taken on Dries including a 23 inch hefty Cutthroat fooled by a 6 year old with a Green Drake Pattern. Lu Warner, master guide at Wilder on the Taylor, provides suggestions for flies and gear as well as a full fly-fishing report.  Take advantage of this resource and download the full report [here].

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This is a great time to be on the water at the Wilder so get out here and enjoy some of the best dry fly-fishing in the West while it is hot.

Click to Download the Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report-July 27, 2014

Angling for Fishing Properties in Western Colorado

This was an original article written by partners of Wilder on the Taylor, Hall and Hall. Good read and thought you’d enjoy.

By Jim Taylor – President of Hall and Hall

BACKGROUND

Since the Rocky Mountain region is home to the best trout fishing in the United States, it should come as no surprise that those seeking a prime recreational ranch property would consider availability of trout water as a major determining factor. Time and again prospects have tended to focus their search on a ranch that offers on-site fishing. In fact, a quality fishery has consistently come second only to privacy on a typical buyer’s wish list.

Although the Rocky Mountain West covers a large geographic expanse, the availability of the fishing resource associated with ranch properties is more finite than one might initially suspect. The major rivers that are hallowed names in the chronicles of trout fishing include the Yellowstone, Missouri, Madison, Big Hole, Bighorn, Gunnison, North Platte, Colorado, Rio Grande, Henry’s Fork of the Snake, and on and on. The Rocky Mountain West is full of them. For each of these reputation freestone streams, there are countless others, less well known, that provide outstanding trout fishing. Add to this compilation the many spring creeks – both renowned and those never mentioned – and it seems as though quality fishing properties should be available in abundance. Why then should it be so difficult to locate and buy a quality fishing property?

First of all, there are many other buyers who have placed this same criterion at the top of their lists. The wonderful thing about the prevalence of catch and release fishing is that one can basically fish all day every day throughout a long season without depleting the resource. It is perhaps for this reason that interest in fly-fishing has exploded over the past three decades. It was inevitable that its popularity has evolved into a widespread desire to actually own a fishing property. Over the years many people who regularly vacation in the Rockies ultimately decided that they would like to own a property on a good stretch of water. Of course the demographic of the retiring baby boomers has exacerbated this trend. In short, high demand has resulted in scarcity.

Secondly, when it comes to considering a purchase, most prospects gravitate to the concept of private fishing water. It may well be that it was the wide variety of water available to the public that attracted them to the region in the first place, but exclusivity and the privacy which it brings are important to most when it comes down to actually owning a property. This emphasis on privacy eliminates a lot of possibilities. Many famous rivers and streams course their way through stretches of public land, guaranteeing access to any and all. Furthermore, all of the Rocky Mountain States, by law, allow float fishing. This means that a piece of water bound on both sides by private land can be floated and fished as long as the entry and exit points are public or permission is granted. Accessing fishing waters by means of a boat has become a highly effective way to fish many Western rivers. States in the region differ on the issue of setting foot or anchor on the river bottom without permission, but all allow floating and fishing from watercraft.

THE SEARCH

So, the first decision to be faced is whether you will be satisfied with a property that borders a stream or river easily accessed by the public, or whether you will insist on a stream that is private – either by law or because its geography makes it inaccessible to the public. For those who are content to share their fishing water with others, ranches of varying sizes are more commonly available and tend to be less expensive. It may be that one desires fishing water, but other selection criteria hold equal or greater weight in the ultimate decision. It might be that, while one desires to live on a trout stream, the real enjoyment comes from fishing a variety of water. Consequently some traffic on one’s home stream is not much of a detriment. It is also true that, while some streams are heavily fished at certain times of the day, they are completely deserted for a good percentage of the season. As a result a resident on that stream can have it to himself or herself most of the time.

You might choose to consider a property on a public stream knowing that the stream will not be busy all season long. The Smith River in Montana, for example, is heavily floated early in the season during high water but float traffic by mid-July is severely limited by reduced flow rates. From then on, adjacent landowners enjoy near exclusive use of the river. Natural characteristics of a stream may also serve to limit the amount of float traffic. Montana’s Boulder River is a challenging boulder strewn river that can only be floated in inflatables. Even then it requires an experienced helmsman. Irrigation draw down makes this float all the more challenging. For practical purposes it is a wade stream from mid-summer on.

If, on the other hand, you place a stronger emphasis on absolute privacy, then the number of potential choices decreases significantly and the price goes up pretty dramatically. Streams can be private by law. An example of this would be a Wyoming or Colorado stream that is too small to float. The law in these states prohibits an individual from placing a foot on the stream bottom without asking permission. This means that even floaters are not allowed to anchor or pull off to wade fish during the course of a float.

Streams can also be private due to their physical circumstances. An example of this would be a stretch of water on a Montana or Idaho stream that is too small to float, where the ranch is so far removed from a public access point that one would only be able to access it by hiking several miles up the streambed. Montana and Idaho law allows people the right to fish virtually all waters in the state as long as they stay below the average high water mark. Initial access must be via public access point or permission from a private owner. In Montana then, insistence on complete privacy means a smaller stream that eliminates both access and floating possibilities.

In Colorado and Wyoming it is much easier to find a private stream because there are hundreds of streams that are impossible to access without permission. Basically it is fair to say that, in these states, any stream of significant size that ends up being private for any reason carries a very high price tag.

Having made the initial decision concerning the level of exclusivity desired the search process can begin in earnest. At this point it makes sense to associate oneself with a real estate broker who is both experienced and an active outdoorsman with an extensive angling background. He or she can listen to your thoughts about the generic ideal and translate those thoughts into a list of appropriate choices. Experience here is critical. The right broker can speak to the quality of respective fisheries throughout the region and can also identify potential streams that may slip under the radar. The broker should be able to answer questions considering the amount of public activity on various streams. He or she should also be able to locate credible local experts that can provide greater detail about a particular fishery. Together, you can complete a search that extends through some or all of the Mountain West states depending upon the importance attached to your specific criteria.

Your broker will need to know just how serious a fisherman you are, and just what your expectations are with respect to a fishery. He or she will also need to know whether you prefer wade fishing or float fishing. Some streams are user friendly while others demand a fair amount of athletic prowess.

Stream enhancement and pond development are commonplace these days and it is therefore important to inform the broker of your willingness to spend money on such projects. Doing so can certainly expand the number of potential properties available to you. Armed with all of this information, the broker should be able to develop a list of possibilities. One cannot over emphasize the importance of taking the time to visit a large number of possibilities. It is easy to create a list of optimum criteria while sitting behind a desk but that list will very likely be unattainable in the real world. A successful search most likely involves some sacrifices as the theoretical perfect place likely does not exist in the real world.

In choosing a broker Hall and Hall offers two very important qualities that cannot be found elsewhere:

We have nearly 25 years of experience in the management of fishing properties, spring creeks, and enhancement projects.
We have 18 partners in 6 states and most of them are avid and experienced fly fishermen who know this region’s waters like the back of their hands. We also share all our commissions equally regardless of the source of the business. Consequently you will receive and benefit from the undivided attention and incentive of every partner in the firm while you consider all the alternatives.

This list of possibilities may well include both small and large “freestone” streams. A freestone stream is one that is directly fed by natural runoff. It may also include properties located on “tailwater” streams – streams that are dam controlled and consequently relatively consistent in flows and not usually subject to spring flooding. Many dams release water from the bottom thereby assuring that good cold water is released even during the hottest summer months. In fact some of the very best fisheries end up being lower elevation rivers that would normally heat up in the summer to temperatures that are not conducive to trout. As a result of dams, trout are often able to thrive in habitable water temperatures throughout the year and are even fishable in the winter months since these streams typically do not freeze over.

The list could also include one or more “spring creeks” – streams that are spring fed and therefore consistent in flow and temperature. These are particularly attractive options because they often rise on a property and flow through the same property for many miles before emptying into a river. They are also known for having prolific aquatic insect life providing a rich food source for trout. Spring creeks are fishable throughout the year and are often not accessible to the public in any way.

Finally, it might include properties that possess solid water sources that presently do not offer much as a fishery. These are referred to as “enhancement” candidates. It is often possible to take parts of certain ranches that, as a result of heavy livestock use over many decades, have turned into shallow marshes and restore them into significant spring creeks. This benefits not only the owner of the property but the fishing public at large by providing spawning habitat for the trout coming out of the main river.

Today there are a number of individuals and companies who are well versed in the science of habitat development. These consultants can change the entire character of a stream in order to increase the amount of biomass that the stream can maintain. If there is a sufficient water source, they can even build a completely new stream that in some cases can be even better than the existing stream. In situations where there is available water, but it is insufficient to maintain a trout stream, the construction of a pond or series of ponds may be an option. This provides yet another alternative for the prospect seeking fishing on the property.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Perhaps the most important “other consideration” is the classic conflict between aesthetics and the number and size of trout. As a general rule the most classically beautiful country occurs at the upper end of most valleys beneath the high craggy peaks where there are pine forests and aspen groves. Unfortunately, this is not where the large numbers of trophy size trout occur. The great fishing usually happens further down the valley where the growing season is longer, the hatches more abundant and the streams carry more flow. Of course, as the flow increases so does the potential for float fishing which reduces the possibility of finding privacy.

Another consideration that comes into play is that the lower elevation properties have two important benefits. They tend to be more user friendly for a longer season and they tend to be closer to towns, airports, restaurants, and other services. This might appeal to the non-fishing members of the family.

At the end of the day, angling for fishing properties calls for a number of compromises. These compromises can only be properly assessed from the ground.

SUMMARY

While there are many rivers and streams throughout the Rocky Mountain West, the supply of available fishing properties in any given price range is very limited. Obviously private water is the preferred alternative if price is no object and location relative to towns and other streams is of secondary importance. There are actually many good reasons to consider a less than totally private piece of water with price being only one of them. It is essential that one visit a large number of alternatives so that one can become comfortable with what is available and how one feels about the various alternatives. In the end there is no substitute for making some carefully considered compromises.

Fly Fishing the Taylor River

Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers,\’94 said President Herbert Hoover. The angler-in-chief believed that none of life’s joys compared to that which could be found only while standing at a river; that which could be captured only with the aid of a rod. Hoover worked to help preserve the source of this pleasure by cleaning rivers and harbors and increasing the production of fisheries.

We at Wilder also believe that the activity of fishing allows one to connect with past generations who have also shared this sensations of the stream. Amidst the rushing water all your concerns are washed away. Your sole concern is catching that great rainbow trout (that will grow only greater by the time you make it back home). This is why we strive to maintain the superior quality of the water that runs through the heart of our property. We want to conserve the Taylor River because we want our waters to be just as pristine and our fishing to be just as rewarding as they were during the times when Hoover worked as a Colorado gold miner over a century ago \’97 likely finding blissful escape while fly-fishing in the state’s magnificent waters.

“Two months after you return from a fishing expedition you will begin again to think of the snowcap or the distant mountain peak, the glint of sunshine on the water, the excitement of the dark blue seas, and the glories of the forest,” Hoover once reflected in his book Fishing for Fun and To Wash Your Soul.” There is no cure for these infections. And that big fish never shrinks.” It is as if the outdoorsman was remembering a moment, standing in the Taylor River, soaking in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding forest.

By purchasing one of the limited homesteads at Wilder on the Taylor you are allowing you and your family the opportunity to “return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers” whenever you please. Along with 2,000 acres of preserved wilderness \’97 much of which is home to a century-old working cattle ranch \’97 you will have private access to nearly five miles of world-class, Gold medal status water.

Come experience all that Wilder on the Taylor has to offer. We guarantee our river will sweep you away.

Call (970) 641-4545