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

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

Taylor River Fishing Report: May 29, 2015

Fly-Fishing at Wilder on The Taylor
An updated Taylor River Fishing Report written by Wilder’s Master Fly-Fishing Guide, Lu Warner. 

Well, in Colorado the last month has been more like Winter than Spring. Daily snow and rain showers combined with cool temperatures have brought lots of moisture to the local mountains, increasing the mountain snowpack and keeping the runoff at bay for the time being. This is very good news as in April there was a worry that water levels would be very low for the season. Now the late moisture that we have received has greatly improved the water forecast and local waters should be in good shape for the season. River levels at Wilder on The Taylor are currently at about 350 CFS and water temperatures are in the low to mid forties. Look for a substantial increase in flows out of the Dam on June 1 when we expect levels to rise 100 CFS. When the weather warms up, we’ll see the runoff kick into gear as well and flows should reach the 600 CFS range before settling down for the summer in late June.
Baetis Nymph
Fishing on the Taylor has been very good, especially for this time of year when many local rivers are un-fishable due to high and dirty water. The Taylor is just slightly off color and fish are getting very active. Most of their food is sub-surface and consists of a variety of nymphs including Green Drake, Baetis(BWO), Stonefly, Caddis and Midge. At this time of year the fish are quite opportunistic as a variety of food is available so many different fly patterns can produce results. We have fished very well with a bead head Green Drake Nymph and a small Baetis behind it. One of the keys this time of year is to make sure you are getting your flies down to where the fish are. With cold water temps, the fish are less apt to move far to eat so it is important to put your flies right in their face. Sometimes adding or subtracting a small split shot will make all of the difference in the world in getting your fly to the depth that the fish are.

This time of year, I generally like to fish a dry/dropper set up with a large Chubby Chernobyl Ant as a dry and a Stonefly/Baetis dropper combination. The big Chernobyl resembles a large Golden Stone and don’t be surprised if you get some action on it. Fly-Fishing on The Taylor River
Around late morning you may see bugs beginning to hatch on the river. These will include, Midges, BWO’s, micro Caddis and Micro Stoneflies. While the fish aren’t that surface oriented yet, in the right places you can find fish rising, especially to BWO’s during cloudy afternoons…the worse the weather, the better the hatch. These BWO’s are very small this time of year so your imitation should be a size 22. Using a double dry can help you see where your small fly is at on the water and a #16 Caddis could be a good choice for your upper dry fly.

If you see lots of BWO’s on the water, look carefully for rising fish. These fish will not be easy to spot as they ease up really slowly and suck the BWO’s in with hardly a ripple on the water. The best plan is to get yourself into position and watch the water carefully. Often times from a distance it looks like there is nothing going on but when you enter the water you may begin to notice fish eating very quietly all around you. Prime hatch time is from about 12 until 5 pm.

As we get into June, our big summertime hatches are just around the corner. Make sure you keep your eyes open for hatching bugs and rising fish as things could break loose at any time.

The “Dream Stream” is prime right now. With good flows from Spring Creek and virtually no fishing pressure at all, the fish are ready to eat almost anything that you throw at them, presuming that you don’t spook them first. While some fish will move for a large Dry, it is still a bit early to get much action on the surface with big flies. A better bet is to fish small dries such as a #18 Para Adams to any rising fish that you see. Otherwise, a Dry/Dropper set up is what you want. Here you can put a large Dry on top as an indicator but most action will come from your Nymphs. Size 16 Bead Head Pheasant Tails can be deadly as well as San Juan Worms, Hare’s Ears, Green Drake Nymphs and BWO bead heads. Be careful not to use too light of a tippet as these fish are big, powerful and are very good at breaking your line. If possible try to use a minimum of 4x on the Dream Stream to increase the odds of landing a trophy Rainbow. Look for great fishing to continue and fish to get more surface oriented during the next couple of weeks.
Fly-Fishing on The Taylor River
The Ponds at Wilder offer a fun diversion from the River and the Dream Stream. If you want to catch a big fish on a small dry, this is the place to do it as cruising Rainbows spend their days here eating Midges and small insects on the surface. As usual, your best bet is to walk slowly around the ponds looking for targets. Once you spot a fish, make your first cast pretty far away and see how the fish reacts. Some are incredibly spooky and will take off at the drop of a hat while others will let you put the fly right in front of their nose. Finding this magic distance is critical to your success on the Ponds. Too far away and the fish won’t see your fly, too close and they spook.

If this method does not produce, I would recommend as a last resort tying on a #8 Black Wooly Bugger and stripping it slowly. As you do this make sure to watch your fly line/ leader junction as it is common for these fish to eat during the drop(slack) and your only clue to set will be to see the line move a little.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll see Damselflies begin to hatch in the ponds and the fish will become more surface oriented as they jump up to nail these tasty morsels when they fly over the water.

If any of you are planning a trip to Wilder on the Taylor, please feel free to write or call me 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.

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.

Wilder’s Best of 2014

The Best of Wilder

We had a great year at Wilder on the Taylor and know that 2015 will be even better! Take a look at Wilder’s Best of 2014.

[VIDEO] Great Winter Activities at Wilder
(January 2014)

Wilder is often known for its picturesque summers and great outdoors, but it is also the perfect destination for winter activities.  Chris Kopf, a leading Created Butte real estate agent, spoke with Brad Willett, manager at Wilder on the Taylor, about activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing… [Read More]

[VIDEO] Wilder on the Taylor Developer Update/Founder’s Offering
(
January 2014)

Wilder successfully completed their Founder’s Offering, the sale of the first five homesteads on the Taylor River… [Read More]

Wilder Featured in Denver Life Magazine
(
May 2014)

Wilder was featured in Denver Life Magazine, the leading magazine that celebrates life in Denver and the surrounding region.  The feature including information about Wilder and goes on to say, “Wilder on the Taylor encapsulates the ranching traditions, history, and culture of the American West.” [Read More]

Wilder Featured in 5280 Denver Magazine
(
June 2014)

Wilder was also featured in 5280 Denver Magazine, a local magazine that was named one of the five best city magazines in America.  In the feature, Wilder on the Taylor was showcased as a location where you can enjoy the benefit of wide-open spaces without the work—recreational ranching as they called it… [Read More]

 Riverfront Homestead #2 Sold


A Reel Fly-Fishing Tale on the Taylor River
(July 2014)

Lu Warner, Wilder’s fly-fishing guide, and homeowner Mike West thought they were just going to reel in a 12inch Brown trout. Drama surfaces when a 32-inch Rainbow trout snatched the Brown. After 40 minutes and about 400 feet, Lu and Mike caught the Rainbow, a total of 32 inches and 14 pounds! Just two inches shy of the Colorado state record… [Read More]

Fishing Report
(
July 2014)

Lu Warner reported that Wilder was experiencing the best dry fly-fishing of the year! Fishing was off the charts and several large fish have been taken on Dries. A 6 year old kid landed a hefty 23-inch Cutthroat on Green Drake Pattern… [Read More]

Couple Adds International Flair and Years of Knowledge to Wilder
(July 2014)

Lu Warner, a master guide for fly fishing and mountain biking, and Antonia Beale, who leads Wilder’s concierge program, bring a taste of South America to Wilder on the Taylor.  Both Lu and Antonia contribute an international flair from their time owning and operating fishing and recreational lodges in Chile and Argentina, where they reside half the year… [Read More]

 Riverfront Homestead #1 Sold


[VIDEO] Homeowner Shares Indescribable Wilder Experience
(August 2014)

Chris Kopf, a leading Created Butte real estate agent, spoke with Wilder homeowner Mike West about his experience living at Wilder.  Mike said that pictures and descriptions really don’t capture the experience of Wilder on the Taylor… [Read More]

Wilder Offers Master Guide Program and Concierge Services
(August 2014)

Wilder now unveils Master Guide Program and Concierge Services to enhance the Wilder experience for owners and guests who want to fly-fish, mountain bike, horseback riding, hiking, and hunting.  Our concierge services ensure our guests have everything they need for an enjoyable experience such as transportation, appointments with master guides, meals, winterizing homes… [Read More]

[VIDEO] Sometimes You Get Lucky…Fishing the Taylor River
(August 2014)

It’s hard to believe that Master Guide Lu Warner caught a 29-inch Rainbow trout on his first cast, but we have the video and pictures to prove it! Sometimes you just get lucky… [Read More]

Another CO Custom Home Under Construction
(September 2014)

The secret is out and more people are joining the Wilder family! It is exciting to see the ranch community continue to come to life! This summer we welcomed 5 new owners to Wilder. We are also seeing current owners make additions.  One of our owners has a beautiful architected guest home they built in 2012.  They are now breaking ground on their main home that will face one of the many ponds at Wilder on the Taylor plus feature epic views of the magnificent Taylor River flowing through the ranch… [Read More]

 Riverfront Homestead #12 Sold


Wilder Honors Wounded Soldiers with Time at the Ranch
(October 2014)

Wilder on Taylor hosted two military groups for a few days of relaxation and fly-fishing. Wilder welcomed wounded soldiers from Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) and Warfighter Sports through the local Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) to honor the men and women who courageously serve our country… [Read More]

Break Ground on Another Custom Home at Wilder
(October 2014)

Ground has been broken and construction has begun at Wilder. The family, who built their guest home at Wilder a few years ago, will soon be able to enjoy their custom built home… [Read More]

Live Web Cam
(October 2014)

One of our current owners have a beautiful architected guest home they built in 2012. They are now building their main home that will face one of the many ponds at Wilder on the Taylor plus feature epic views of the magnificent Taylor River flowing through the ranch. You can watch the Crested Butte web cam and see the progress LIVE or on demand…. [Read More]

 Riverfront Homestead #3 & #13 Sold

There are still homesteads available for sale. Visit wildercolorado.com for more information about the exclusive opportunity to own and build your Colorado custom home.

Homeowner Shares Indescribable Wilder Experience

Virtually surrounded by nearly 2 million acres of the Gunnison National Forest, Wilder on the Taylor is 2,100 acres that features riverfront homesteads with breath-taking views of the Rocky Mountains.  In a recent interview, we asked one of our homeowners how he would describe living at Wilder on the Taylor.

Pictures and descriptions really don’t capture the experience of Wilder on the Taylor.  It’s hard to describe what it’s like to sit here and watch the fish rise, to see the sunset and to do it every single day with really quality people around. It’s just wonderful. — Mike West, Tennessee.

Watch the full interview:
Interview Transcript
Chris: Hi, it’s Chris Kopf with Mike West at Wilder on the Taylor. Mike and his wife Tiffiny just completed their beautiful home here, so tell us about this beautiful country. How does it feel to be a homeowner now at Wilder on the Taylor?

Mike: It feels great, I mean, it is so much fun to be here, to experience all of what the ranch has. I sit in this chair every night and I watch the fish rise, and eventually they get to me, and I walk down there and I have to try and catch three or four of them, and then I come up. That has been a routine every night since we got here.

Chris: It’s a beautiful location you’ve built, a beautiful home, and this is your guest home, but I know you told me once that you don’t even need to do anymore, because this is awesome. Tell other people what they should want to know about Wilder on the Taylor, this ranch, 2100 acres with a river running through it?

Mike: It’s just a great life, a great lifestyle, because there’s so much you can do. You don’t have to fish, but if you want to fish you can fish all day long. There’s just so much to do, it’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and it’s beautiful. I watch the trout, I watch the deer, and I watch the elk.

Chris: So, how about building remote? A lot of people ask what it’s like to build a home from TN to CO. How do you manage that and how did it go for you?

Mike: Well, you know, it went really well and I think it comes down to who you work with. Architects and builders, and you know, it’s not easy to do, but if they communicate well and they are engaged, and our builder certainly was, it’s just an amazing process. They knocked this out in a little over a year and it wasn’t as nearly as painful as it could’ve been. I talked to somebody yesterday and he is having more trouble building a home in his home city than I did here.

Chris: Any final words on the ranch, and how things are progressing? Seems to be a lot more activity and interest. You were certainly one of the first, and I know you’ve really enjoyed it, but what would you tell the others?

Mike: It’s interesting because when we first bought the place out here, we tried to describe it, pictures and descriptions, really don’t capture it. People come out here and say, “You undersold this”. I would say it is actually better than anybody could imagine. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to sit here, to watch the fish rise, to see the sun set, and to do it every single day, there’s really quality people around, and it’s just wonderful.

Chris: You caught a monster 32 inch fish a week ago?

Mike: Yea, last Thursday. It’s a true story. It’s sort of one of those things, that when something like that happens, at some point you go, “it will never get any better than this, this is the pinnacle of my fly fishing life.” It was a forty minute adventure, and four hundred yards later, we landed a really nice fish. Two inches off of the state record.

Chris: Well congratulations, and we wish you all the best.