Taylor River Fishing Report – August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your time on the water in this beautiful place.

Cheers,

Lu Warner
Master Guide, Wilder on the Taylor

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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

Spring 2016 Taylor River Fishing Report

The first Taylor River fishing report of the 2016 fishing season!

Greetings to all. I hope the winter wasn’t to long and everyone is ready to get out on the water. Antonia, Vicente and I just finished a fantastic season in Chile at our Valle Bonito Lodge and are excited to be back at the Wilder. From November through early April we entertained a variety of guests, enjoyed wonderful fishing and shared good times with our clients in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Please check out our website at http://www.vallebonitochile.com.  Come and visit us in the Patagonia of Chile.

Taylor River fishing report

Speaking of beautiful places, the Wilder is particularly beautiful right now. Green grass is popping up everywhere, herds of elk cruise through the ranch, geese are nesting in the hay meadow, birds are returning daily and the fishing can be excellent. The river trail has been opened up, camp is ready and the fish are waiting.

Both Antonia and I are excited to get things rolling for the summer Taylor River fishing season and do all that we can to make your experience at the Wilder a memorable one.

Funny how much difference a year can make. Last year we were worried about drought in April and then we got inundated with moisture in May, leading to one of the highest and most unpredictable run off years on record for the Taylor. This year we had a stronger winter snowpack and although May has not been without precipitation, river levels are not expected to get that high.

Taylor river fishing reportOn the Taylor at the Wilder, current flows are around 250 with the Spring runoff rise expected to kick in in the next couple of weeks. Max flows are predicted to be in the mid 400’s, a good level for the fish and the fisherman as well. Water temperatures are in the high 30’s and it seems as if the fish are just waking up after a long winter. Hatches are pretty sparse which is normal for this time of year, yet a few Caddis, Midge and BWO’s can be seen in the afternoons with a few fish rising.

Fishing on the Taylor River has been very good but it is not the type of fast mid summer action that we’ll have soon. Fish are mostly holding deep in the pools and reluctant to move very far to eat a fly. We have had the most success with a dry/dropper rig which would include a large Chubby Chernobyl or equivalent as a dry/indicator. 4-5 feet of 4x tippet to a large rubber legs or stonefly imitation and then another 16 inches or so of 5x tippet to a #20 mayfly nymph or midge. Most importantly in these conditions is to get your fly deep to where the fish are. A split shot or two can be added for the deeper holes. It is important to manage your slack and react quickly to any movement of the dry as the fish are not overly voracious yet. Takes are very slow and feel like you have hooked a stick or something stationary. Fish each hole thoroughly, making several casts in each drift. We caught fish the other day after several good casts went untouched. Finally, persistence paid off and soon we caught a bunch of fish in the same water where we had had no action before.

Taylor River fishing reportAnother technique worth trying now is to fish a streamer deep and slow in the deeper runs. Mix up your retrieves and experiment but I have found that the best streamer action this time of year comes from almost dead drifting the streamer and slowing it down as much as possible. Takes are soft so pay attention to your line and watch for any movement that might indicate a fish. I am liking Dalai Lamas in olive and white as well as Sculpzillas in natural as well as black. Cloudy days and slightly off color water always seem to be best for fishing a streamer.

Once you find a spot that produces a few fish, stay on it and even change up your flies because oftentimes you will find fish podded up in large numbers until the run off blows them out of their winter areas. When fishing here in the spring season, keep an eye on the weather, as during colder periods the river will drop and clear and during warmer periods it will rise and get a bit off color. Best fishing is always when the river is dropping.

It won’t be long before bugs start to fly and fish start to rise again in this fantastic fishery we have at the Wilder. Soon we’ll be seeing Giant Golden Stoneflies, a variety of smaller Stones, lots of Caddis, Yellow Sallees, more BWO’s, PMD’s, Green Drakes and a whole lot of fish rising to eat them.

The Dream Stream is looking super good right now. Climactic conditions allowed adequate flows to be maintained throughout the winter and fish survival rates were quite high. We are seeing more wild fish in the system every year. Brook trout, cutthroat, rainbows and browns can all be found here. It has been rewarding to watch the Stream evolve and witness some of the strong hatches that now happen quite frequently.

Even though we are in early runoff conditions, you can find big rainbows sipping small Blue Wings in the afternoons and a few greedy/dumb ones will even move for a Hopper. The best fishing right now however is sub surface with a dry/dropper set up. The dry can be a medium sized Madame X, say an 8 or a 10 and the dropper should be about 3 feet or less of 4x. I am liking the #16 BH Pheasant Tail or Hare’s Ears as a dropper although if things get tough a San Juan worm can be effective. Even though it is early season, fish are naturally spooky so approach the holes with caution and make your first cast count.

In the next few weeks, look for afternoon hatches of BWO’s and fish a small to medium size dropper. In June we’ll start seeing Green Drakes and that can be some of the best surface fishing of the year.

taylor river fishing reportThe Ponds at the Wilder have some huge Rainbows. We caught one the other day that was easily 7 lbs and 26 inches. It was one of the strongest fish I have caught in a long time. People that say that still water fish don’t fight as hard as river fish ought to watch their line disappear well into the backing on one of these brutes. Right now big fish can be seen sipping almost any time of day for very small midges. Typically the midges are a size 22 which creates a dilemma, as a 22 fly requires a tippet of 5X (6X is better) which is marginal to hold one of these fish. In fact, you probably won’t. Mostly however fish are cruising sub surface and concentrating on the weed beds where they are finding a variety of groceries including damselfly and dragonfly nymphs, scuds, backswimmers and mayfly nymphs. For this type of fishing I like to fish a 9-12 leader with a 4X tippet and a small bead head nymph attached to the end. I cast out and retrieve very slowly using a hand crawl retrieve. Most importantly is that I am watching my fly line-leader junction for any movement. I find that these fish take your fly more when it is falling than rising. They eat on a slack line and there are only 2 ways to detect the strike, because you won’t feel it. One is to watch the fish. When he opens his mouth you will see white inside. When he closes it, the white will disappear and that is the time to strike. The second way is to watch your leader/line junction. Cast, slowly take the slack out, let the nymph fall and watch for any line movement. Repeat. Strike swiftly and get ready to let the fish run. It is easy to break these fish off on the strike so be careful.

Soon we’ll be seeing Damsel fly hatches which will bring large numbers of fish to the surface as they jump up and eat the Damsels in the air.

Both Antonia and I hope to see you out at the Wilder this summer for some fun fishing, fine dining and good vibes in this amazing place. Come on out and enjoy what we have to offer at the Wilder and you’ll be glad you did. Stay tuned for more Taylor River fishing reports, photos and river conditions and remember: it’s all about the backcast!!

Cheers

Lu

 

For more information on this Crested Butte land for sale, visit WilderColorado.com.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide Sends Letter from Patagonia

From Lu Warner, Master Guide at Wilder on the Taylor

Hello All,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: September 10, 2015

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportThe leaves aren’t the only things changing at Wilder! Changes in the season bring changes in fish behavior and water conditions as well.  Be sure to read Master Guide Lu Warner’s Taylor River Fly Fishing Report before your next fish. In search of big fish? Read why Lu says now is the time to land one.

Fall is in the air and the last few stormy days have brought color to both the leaves and the Brown trout. River levels have been steady at right around 390 CFS and hatches are becoming stronger as the fish fatten up for the upcoming winter. Water temperatures are cooling and have dropped slightly from 52 to about 50 degrees during the last week. In almost every pool you will see large female Browns jump high into the water and slap themselves down hard on the water to loosen their eggs up and get them ready for the coming spawn.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportAll of this bodes well for the angler. Fish are hungry! As usual, mid day provides the best surface activity and particularly on cloudy, rainy, nasty days epic hatches can occur this time of year. Slate Gray Drakes, Blue Winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Mahogany Duns and Fall Caddis will hatch off and on through most days. While the BWO’S are almost always the trout’s favorite, we had great success last week fishing a size 12 Gray Drake pattern with a size 14, BH Hare’s Ear as a dropper. I suppose that had we fished only small BWO’S we would have done just as well on the surface but it was fun watching fish after fish come to the big dry on top and under tough light conditions, the larger dry was much easier to see.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportOne of the keys to success on the Taylor River is to see the fly you are fishing. Duh! But not always so easily done with surface glare, fast currents and fish whose preference is really for very small dries. Long leaders(9’ plus) help with a softer presentation but accurate casting is necessary to keep your fly out of the “washing machine” and riding high down the edges of the faster currents. Long casts (over 30 feet) on this river generally scare way more fish than they fool. It is more effective to move slowly and quietly in the water and concentrate on fishing specific currents and seams, making your fly land on the water as lightly as possible. Once you slap the water and announce your presence to the fish, the larger ones have a tendency to disappear.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportFish the foam lines!!! On this river with lots of varying current speeds, eddies, deep holes and riffles, your highest percentage area is in and underneath the many foam lines that characterize this water. As they ebb, flow, disappear and re-appear, so the fish will follow. Where the foam concentrates, so do insects and other debris floating down the river. For the fish, unless there is a big hatch underway, these foam lines are their highest percentage places to find easy food.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportIf you are in search of big fish now is a perfect time to rig up a streamer and mend it deep through the pools and tail outs. Larger Browns, as they approach spawning, get territorial and respond aggressively to intruders such as a #4 Black Sculpzilla. When fishing a streamer, vary your retrieves to see if you can find one that triggers an arm wrenching strike. Short and fast, long and slow, make some pauses and keep mixing it up until you connect. Most of the truly larger Browns don’t move much during the day, especially in bright sun and your best odds for finding one on the prowl is to fish very early in the morning and late in the evening…low light conditions.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportRarick Creek is on fire right now as it has been for most of the summer season. Big fat Rainbow, Browns and the occasional Brookie are very surface oriented and are still suckers for large Hopper patterns. If unsuccessful with the large Dry either tie on a #16 Pheasant tail dropper or try a smaller Dry. Some of these fish are brutes so be careful setting the hook overly hard and prepare for several strong runs before they calm down. After reviving and releasing each fish, inspect your tippet carefully for abrasions and re tie if necessary as these fish have a habit of rubbing your line against the rocks.

Taylor River Fly-Fishing ReportOur 6 ponds are full of tackle busting Rainbows and some good sized Browns. Many of these can be seen slowly cruising the shorelines looking for food. Try to time your cast when the fish is looking or heading away from you and place your fly about 10 feet in front of your target. I like Hopper patterns right now as a well placed Hopper is hard for these fish to resist. These should be fished on 2X or 3X tippet but nothing lighter. If you need to use a small dropper fly, 4X is the minimum tippet size I would use. When you approach the ponds, walk slowly and try to spot fish to throw to. Fishing to s specific fish is generally the most effective technique here. Next week at Wilder, we are proud to host Project Healing Waters and the Wounded Warriors, who will be here for the fifth season in a row. We all hope that they enjoy their stay and our special waters here on the ranch.

As usual for an up to the minute fly fishing report and information, please feel free to contact me at luwarner@mac.com.

Have fun out there,

Lu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu Warner
Master Fly Fishing Guide
Wilder on the Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you there!

Women fly fishing clinic

 

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report: August 18, 2015

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: July 27, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,
Lu

Young Fly-Fisherman Reels in his Catch

Have you see our latest fishing video of a young boy netting a fish?  Check out the memory he will never forget in this video shot by his mom …

View more amazing videos from Wilder here: http://www.wildercolorado.com/videos