Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- Fall 2016

Fly Fishing Report

Wilder’s Master Guide Lu Warner gives his end of season Taylor River Fly Fishing Report. Detailed as always, follow this advice to land a trophy before the snow flies for good!

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportWell, hard to believe we are nearing the end of our fishing season here at Wilder and it is already time for my final Taylor River Fly Fishing Report of 2016. The summer has gone by quickly and we have had many owners and their guests enjoy the wonderful fisheries that we have here.

Currently, the Taylor River has dropped to its winter levels and flows at the dam are down to 100 CFS and 150 CFS. These levels should be maintained until Spring. Water temps are in the high 30’s to low 40’s and should remain there for another couple of weeks before the winter season that brings so many to the Crested Butte area sets in and ice begins to form on the sides of the river.

Taylor River Fishing ReportThis is a perfect time of year to sight larger fish and present a fly to them. The river is low and the water is absolutely transparent. Fish can be seen everywhere, generally holding on the bottom and they will not move far to eat your fly. In these conditions the fish are extra spooky so long leaders and soft presentations are key. In the afternoons you can expect strong BWO hatches on cloudy days and Midge activity regardless of weather. These BWO’s are getting very small right now and imitations need to be in the size 20-22 range to bring up the fish.

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportMany of the Browns are beginning to spawn so please be careful wading and avoid the redds as they can be damaged by walking through them. Redds can be identified as patches of clean gravel in fairly swift and shallow water, normally in the tail outs of the bigger pools. If you see fish spawning please do not fish for them. Leave them alone and let them do their thing so we will have plenty more fish in the future. One of the beauties of the river here is that it is a healthy wild fishery and we want to do our best to keep it that way. That being said, none of the Rainbows or Cutthroats (and not all of the Browns) are spawning, so there are plenty of fish to cast to.

Typically in this low, clear water, the fish will spook as soon as you step into a run. Before you make your first cast, it’s a good idea to start with a few soft casts from the bank before announcing your presence in the river. When the fish spook, they will move to the deepest water and congregate there in numbers. These fish won’t come up for a dry fly but can be caught using a dry/dropper rig with the dropper fished near the bottom. Small bead head Pheasant tails, Hare’s Ears, Egg patterns and Midges will work well when fished with light tippets of 5x and 6x. Fish these deep spots thoroughly and slowly as the trout are not that active right now and sometimes you have to hit one on the head to get him to eat. Make your dry fly as small as you can to still float with a dropper below. Large indicators can work in some areas but generally they will scare more fish than they fool.

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportExpect the mornings to start slow and the fish to get more active after noon and before 5 p.m. Keep your eyes open for spawning Salmon which congregate in the deeper pools. There are several around the camp area in the deeper pools. If you find a pod of Salmon, look behind them as many times large trout will lie below and eat their eggs. Egg patterns ranging from orange to chartreuse can be very effective in catching these fish.

After noon keep your eyes open for hatching BWO’s. On certain days we can have some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Remember that these Mayflies favor cloudy conditions and have an aversion to bright sun, so those blustery, cloudy, even snowy afternoons will have the strongest hatches. Otherwise stick with a dry/dropper and change the dropper if you are not catching fish. Think small!

This is also a great time of year to throw large streamer patterns particularly on cloudy days when the big Browns may be active. I recommend Dalai Lamas in olive and white or Sculpzillas in almost any color. Swing your flies through the runs and vary your retrieves from super fast to slow to find a pattern that may catch you some big fish. During the next few weeks, look for the trout to start grouping up in the deep holes as they dig in for winter.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- The Dream Stream

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportThe Dream Stream right now is low and crystal clear as well, so use caution when you approach. These fish are not stupid and spook very easily! Be patient and you will see a number of large Rainbows and Browns suspended in the foam lines and eating on or just under the surface. They are quite active. Once you locate a fish, take your time and concentrate on one or two good casts to him and you may hook into a monster. Fish can be seen rising to Midges and BWO’s throughout the day and there are still plenty of Hoppers flying around on warm afternoons. Ideally one would be fishing with 6X tippets here now, but the odds are slim of landing that 6 lb. plus fish with such small tippet. Better to use a longer leader of up to 12’ tapered down to 5X for your smaller flies and 4X for a small Hopper. Even then it can be a challenge to land a hot fish. If you show a rising fish your dry a couple of times and he doesn’t eat it, rest him for a bit and try another fly. We have had very good luck with #20 BWO patterns over the last week but some BWO patterns seem more effective than others so experiment until you find the right one.

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report- The Ponds at Wilder

Taylor River Fly Fishing ReportAll of our ponds are full of feisty Rainbows and Browns and after a summer of fine dining some of these fish exceed 8 lbs. Despite their size, you can find these lunkers sipping small Midges and Mayflies throughout the day. I always like to show them a small dry first and see how they react. Keep your tippets to 4X or larger and try to put your fly in front of several different fish before changing. If a small dry proves unsuccessful, try a larger Hopper type dry and see what happens. I have seen some of these large fish ignore a Hopper for several casts and then all of a sudden decide to eat it. So be patient! Otherwise I would suggest fishing a small bead head nymph or #6-8 Wooly Bugger attached directly to your leader. Slow crawl your fly and make sure to let it drop down between strips as this is generally when they’ll eat it. Strip, pause, strip, pause etc. Watch the end of your fly line between strips as many times when the fish take on a slack line the only way you will know is if your fly line starts moving one way or another. These fish are not easy to hook but persistence will pay off and if you stick to it you may land a trophy fish before the snow flies for good.

As mentioned this is my final Taylor River Fly Fishing Report of the season. In another couple of weeks, I’m off to open up our Valle Bonito Lodge in Southern Chile and join Antonia and Vicente for our Patagonia fishing season which runs from December through April. If any of you want to escape winter and get some fly fishing in while things are frozen up here, drop us an email at Luwarner@mac.com. Otherwise I wish you all a great winter and look forward to seeing you in the spring. Thanks for another wonderful season at Wilder on the Taylor!

Cheers,

Lu Warner
Master Fly Fishing 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

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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Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report: August 18, 2015

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu

Taylor River Fly Fishing Report: July 27, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,
Lu

Taylor River Fishing Report: June 12, 2015

Crested Butte Fly-Fishing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines,

Lu

Taylor River Fishing Report: May 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If any of you are planning a trip to Wilder on the Taylor, please feel free to write or call me for an up to the minute Taylor River Fishing Report.

Tight lines,

Lu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taylor River Fishing Report : May 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Lu

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