Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report – May 2017

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

L:u Warner

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

Building Community of Owners with Wilder Thursdays

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: July 8, 2016

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

Morning Fishing

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

Mid-Day Fishing

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

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

Early Afternoon Fishing

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

Evening Fishing

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

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

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

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

Fishing the Dream Stream

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

Fishing the Ponds at Wilder

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

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

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

Keep your backcasts tight and high,

Lu Warner
Master Guide, Wilder on the Taylor

Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide Sends Letter from Patagonia

From Lu Warner, Master Guide at Wilder on the Taylor

Hello All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Women fly fishing clinic

 

Taylor River 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 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 Honors Wounded Soldiers with Time at the Ranch

Wounded Soldier Fly Fishing

Last month, 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).  Wilder has partnered with PHWFF for the last four years to bring wounded soldiers to Wilder.  It’s a way to honor the men and women who courageously serve our country.  This year, Wilder also worked with ASC to host injured soldiers participating in ASC’s Operation Rise and Conquer initiative.  All of the soldiers and their mentors were able to relax, take in the scenery, and go fly fishing on the Taylor River with master guide Lu Warner.

Both organizations are dedicated to serving the men and women in uniform. The PHWFF connects wounded soldiers to recreational opportunities like fly fishing to assist in the physical and emotional rehabilitation. The ASC provides high-quality adventure activities in and around Crested Butte for military service personnel.

Wilder was delighted to share the breathtaking views and world class fly fishing with these brave men and women.  “We are honored to be involved with two organizations that focus on true American heroes and their dedication to our country,” says Ron Welborn, development partner at Wilder on the Taylor.

Photos from the visit were captured by Adaptive Sports Center.  To view the photo album, visit us our Facebook page!

Wounded Soldier Making a Catch

Breathtaking View at Wilder

Wounded Soldier Resting by the Taylor River