Taylor River Fishing Report: May 2023

If you weren’t paying attention, most of Colorado had an exceptionally above average snowpack this winter. Unlike most recent summers, there is a significant amount of runoff and reservoir filling potential. Currently, the Taylor River is flowing around 850cfs in Almont. Only 300cfs of that is coming out of Taylor Park Reservoir. The next scheduled bump in flows should come June 1st, when outflows gradually increase to 445cfs out of the dam. The Bureau of Reclamation is projecting 1200cfs at the gauge in Almont by June 15th. Water temperatures are fluctuating between 40 degrees and 48 degrees during the day.

The Taylor River is starting to show signs of life. As the water warms up during the day, the fish are starting to spread out in search of a feeding lie. We are seeing Midges throughout most of the day, Blue Wing Olives during the warmest part of the day, and the sporadic Caddis hatch closer to the evening hours. You probably won’t see many fish coming to the surface to eat yet, and the dry fly gets ignored a lot still, but there may be short moments during the day where you see fish actively eating. It’s a good idea, and almost a necessity, to bring a dry fly rod already rigged with a #18 P. Adams. The dry fly action can be so short lived that you will miss the bite in the amount of time it takes to change over to a dry fly.

When you don’t see fish actively eating, nymphing with large Stoneflies(#8-12 Rubber Legs), Mayflies(#10-20 Pheasant Tail), and Midges(#18-22 Zebra Midge) should be productive. Keep the faith! This time of year requires a little persistence with the nymph rig. The fish are low and slow, and sometimes you get the feeling they won’t move far for your offering.

Small streamers have been productive also. As spring runoff continues(high, turbulent water), keep in mind that a streamer might be the best way to present a food form to a trout in a hard to reach location. A weighted streamer can swim through some complicated currents, get down to where the fish are, and look realistic doing it.

The Dream Stream is currently experiencing above average flows. The fish have plenty of cover, and are moving into feeding lies during the heat of the day. Remember, if you see fish sipping in the tail of a pool, suspect small Midges. Size 18-22 Mayflies often bring the fish to the head or run of the pool. They might take a dry fly, but with the cooler water temps, lesser quantity of bugs, and above average flows, a subsurface offering would be preferred. Mayflies(Pheasant Tails #16-22, BWO nymph #18-22), Caddis Larvae (BH Caddis #12-18), and Midges(#18-22 Zebra Midge) dangled off the back of a large dry fly or small strike indicator should get some looks.

The ponds are starting to be consistent during the heat of the day. Small Midges are probably the only hatch you will see, but the ponds are full of Damselfly nymphs. Consider stripping a #12 olive or black Woolly Bugger along the dropoff. Use small strips or consistent twitches to imitate their swimming action in the water.

Be safe, and pinch your barbs,

Benjamin Riedel
Wilder on the Taylor
Master Fly Fishing Guide