Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report – September 15, 2014

By Lu Warner, Master Guide

Fly-fishing on the Taylor River at Wilder for the first two weeks of September can best be described as ridiculous. Cool weather, cloudy days, good flows, and lots of Blue Winged Olive and Pale Morning Dun hatches have kept the fish looking up. Small, softly presented dry flies on 5x and 6x tippets have been extremely effective, particularly in the afternoons.


The amount of fish on the Taylor River is staggering and these are 95% wild fish. This fishery is nothing short of amazing so get out and enjoy it, respect it and help preserve it as one of the best wild trout fisheries in the Western U.S. This season we appear to be seeing an increase in “wild” Rainbows as the recovery from whirling disease continues. While the fishery is 80% Brown trout, we have caught a few very big Rainbows this year and look forward to seeing more in the future.

River flows bumped 25% due to hard rain in the high country last week and have recently resettled in the low 300 range. These “average” lows are predicted to last through the month of September. In early October, we will see a “draw down” to leave the river in the low 200 range for the month.

River temperatures have been cold. It has been 48 degrees in the morning and warming into the low 50’s in the afternoons. Fishing as usual is best in the mid-afternoons as the water warms up a bit and bugs start hatching. Leaves are changing color and so are the Brown trout. As they approach spawning time the males get a beautiful golden orange color and their lower jaws (kype) get a pronounced hook. Female Browns are jumping high in the air and slapping the water in each pool loosening up their eggs to get the next generation of Brown trout started.

Timing is everything and being on the water between 1 and 4 pm with a small (size 20) dry can maximize your fishing time and success. In this time period you can catch a lot of trout very quickly. Other patterns that have been successful are a size 14 Royal Madame X and different sized bead head Pheasant Tails for droppers. It’s not rocket science right now!

When the bugs start hatching (cloudy afternoons are best) fish will be seen rising throughout the river. The trick to catching a big one is patience. Take your time, move slow, look around, ignore the smaller fish rising, and find a big fish. Then make your presentation exactly to that fish. Otherwise a smaller fish will be sure to grab your fly and spook the big one. Easier said than done.

Fly-Fishing on the TaylorIn the mornings, I suggest beginning with a smaller Madame X and a long 5x dropper line with a #16-20 bead head below. In the afternoons a size 20 BWO or 16 PMD can be all you need to wear your arm out in a short while catching fish. Most important is making a soft presentation with whatever you are fishing. Even though there is a lot of water in the Taylor River, fish are spooky and the larger fish especially don’t like noisy presentations.

The big Browns getting ready to spawn will not be eating these dries. To catch one of these trophy fish your best bet is to get down and dirty with a large dark streamer during low light periods of the day. Fishing this way is not usually a numbers game but once in a while you might find a huge predator Brown trout attached to the end of your line. Concentrate on the tail outs of the pools and under structure i.e., logs, big rocks.

This time of year is one of the most beautiful and also most productive fishing wise. Fish are fattening up for spawning and a long winter. BWO and PMD hatches can be epic. The worse the weather, the stronger the hatches, so look for the cloudy, nasty days to produce longer and more intense hatches that can last from 12 – 5 pm or so. Dry fly-fishing should continue to be excellent throughout the end of October.

Rarick Creek has had little pressure, great flows all season and is fishing super well. A strong population of wild Brown Trout are growing fast and these fish pull hard and are well fed. Several Rainbows over 20 inches have recently been caught on dries but a dropper is almost a sure bet in the deep holes. The Browns seem to prefer smaller dries while the Rainbows are a sucker for a large Hopper imitation and a large nymph hanging underneath.

The Ponds are full of big fish with several Rainbows over 8 pounds swimming around in plain sight. The problem is catching them as they can see you as clearly as you can see them. Best advice is to approach the water slowly and try to sight the fish. Present a small Hopper/Dropper combo and see what happens. Then try it on a few more fish before changing. Evenings, early mornings and cloudy days are best. Bright sun, middle of the day can be challenging.

Overall we are winding down the season with the best dry fly-fishing of the year.

For up to date fishing reports, gear, fly selection, river conditions, and more, feel free to call me directly at 970-946-4370.


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Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report – July 27, 2014

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

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


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

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

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Taylor River Fly Fishing Report – June 16, 2014

Taylor River Fly-Fishing Report

June 16, 2014 – Well, after a week or more of warm and windy weather our snowpack is disappearing rapidly and river levels are dropping every day. The Taylor River peaked at 1560 CFS on June 3 and since then has been steadily dropping and clearing. Today we are at about 900 CFS and I look for the flows to drop into the 600 range by the beginning of July. River temperatures are still on the cold side with daily highs in the mid – forties and overnight lows in the low – forties.

Taylor River Fly Fishing

Fishing has been steady with deep nymph rigs as well as Streamers. Most fish seem to be still holding under heavy currents and the biggest key for the fisherman is to get your fly down to where they are for as long as possible on each drift. Remember that when your cast hits the water, it will take a certain amount of time for your nymph rig to get down into the target zone where the fish are. As soon as your line begins tensioning up at the end of your drift, the flies will rise up in the water column and your chances are over until you recast. The more time that your fly is dead drifting in the target zone the better your chances are of hooking fish. Efficiency is the name of the game, covering the water thoroughly and paying attention to the slightest little bump. Watch those mid drift mends that can ruin a good drift by pulling the fly up off the bottom. Maintaining a dead drift is more critical than what fly you use so choose your casting angle to maximize your drift and minimize mending.

At this point in the season, the fish are pretty opportunistic and will eat a variety of different nymphs including Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ears, Stoneflies, smaller Mayfly nymphs and Caddis larvae. The exception to this is the early afternoons where strong Blue Winged Olive activity can make the fish extremely selective for the Emergers and Nymphs. I have recently watched Trout migrate from deeper water to suspend and eat the BWO Emergers in fast, riffly water. These fish are best fished with a Dry/Dropper set up. I like a large Golden Stone Dry on top which they will occasionally eat but the important part of the equation is a size 20 BWO bead head that if well presented will be eaten like candy.

Aside from the BWO hatch mid afternoon, the River is pretty quiet hatch wise. This will change soon and within the next week or so we’ll be seeing lots of Caddis and Smaller Stoneflies throughout the daylight hours and Dry Fly fishing will be the most productive.

We have also been fishing well with large black Streamers, swinging them slow and deep through the runs. Typically, Streamers produce the most action but result in fewer hook ups than nymphing as short strikes are common. A trailer hook is a good solution for this and Streamers with long tails and no trailer hook should be avoided.

Rarick Creek is fishing very well right now with good flows and hungry fish. These fish are a lot more active than the fish in the River at this time of year and good fishing can be had with a Dry as well as a Dry/Dropper combo. Make sure to approach each hole carefully and quietly as you may find a pod of fish sipping greedily on the surface. If you see this, slow down, check your terminal tackle as some of these fish are bruisers and determine how you can make a nice soft cast without spooking every fish in the hole. A few moments spent “sussing” up the situation can lead to a nice Rainbow on your first cast.

All six ponds are also fishing well and the fish are very surface oriented, eating lots of Midges throughout the day. Calm days are best for a dry and large fish can be taken by sight fishing with very small dries.

I’m pretty excited as today we received an order of over 2,000 flies, specific to the fishing that we offer here at the Wilder. As we all know, fish can be selective and change their diet frequently during the season from the tiniest midges to the biggest Grasshoppers and Stoneflies. After guiding on the Taylor and screening numerous samples of the bug life underwater for the last several years I am looking forward to trying out some new “bugs’ that I hope will be productive for both our Homeowners and guests.

Wildflowers are out, the grass is green, the River is clear and any day now the Taylor is going to begin kicking out the biggest hatches of the year. If you haven’t had a chance to experience our world class Dry Fly fishing at the Wilder, be sure to make it a priority this summer. Hope to see you on the water.

Lu Warner
Head Guide
Wilder on the Taylor

Click [here] to view videos and images of Wilder on the Taylor.

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Wilder on the Taylor: Fishing Report – June 2013

Rainbow Trout at Wilder on the Taylor

Net full of Rainbow- This 6 lb Rainbow was recently taken in the river on size 20 Blue Winged Olive nymph.

June 9, 2013 – While Western Colorado struggles with difficult fishing conditions due to peak spring flows, fishing at Wilder on the Taylor is fantastic, with stable flows and clear water. With summer just around the corner, warmer water temperatures on the horizon, and hatches of Blue Wing Olives on cloudy days – afternoons on the river have been the best time for fishing.

Otherwise, the river is fishing well with a number of droppers set up, including pheasant tails, small mayflies, and larger stoneflies fished deep in the runs. Over the coming weeks we expect the dry fly fishing to improve immensely, with more consistent daily hatches of caddis, mayfly, and stonefly.

Rarick Creek is fishing very well on the surface, with small mayfly hatches occurring throughout the day. A well-presented small dry, such as a Parachute Adams, is a great option to hook one of the large rainbows you’re sure to see swimming through the water.

The hatches on the pond have been quite good as well, with fish rising to midges in the mornings and small mayflies throughout the afternoons and evenings. The best bet is to spot a feeding fish and cast your fly towards where they will be swimming. Hoppers are already getting big and active, so it won’t be long before the fish start looking for large bugs on the surface.

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Rarick Creek a Fly-Fishing Gem at Wilder on the Taylor

Rarick Creek at Wilder Colorado imageThe Taylor River may be the best-known stretch of water at Wilder on the Taylor in the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley, but Rarick Creek also has been receiving rave reviews. Developed in a detention area where the original Rarick Creek ran through the property years ago, three miles of meandering stream was reconstructed by Matt Weaver of Bozeman, Montana-based Five Rivers Restoration and completed in 2009.

Located in the meadow behind the owners’ cabins, the creek has developed into its own self-sustaining ecosystem with the trout reproducing and wintering safely. “It’s a habitat that fish like,” says Jackson-Shaw Vice President Ron Welborn. “We just enhanced what Mother Nature created before the property was a ranch years ago.”

The original creek didn’t disappear; it runs along the north side of the ranch and delivers vital water to the hay meadow when the snowmelt makes it way down the mountains. The reintroduced stretch offers excellent sight-fishing opportunities and is an ideal option when people want to fly-fish without wading, get out for a few casts before dinner and develop confidence in the sport.

When discussing Rarick Creek, Weaver notes that it’s “the best expression of my work in creating new waters for comfortable and challenging fly-fishing that I have done yet.”

Rarick Creek at Wilder-on-the-Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder-on-the-Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image

Rarick Creek at Wilder on the Taylor image


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