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

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,

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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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