Gunnison Trip 8/18-8/20
HPD Gunnison trip
Trip Captain - Mike Owen
August 18 thru 20, 2023
Register button on bottom of page!
We want to invite all club members to one of my favorite fly fishing places in Colorado: the Gunnison River valley, where a person can fish a different river every day for at least a week. For this trip we are welcoming the club families as well because there are activities for them while the fishermen fish. The official club dates are Aug 18 –20, but many will be extending their stay.
I have always done well fishing in the Gunnison Valley. The scenery is spectacular, the weather in late summer is superb, and the fish cooperate. Make plans to join the group and enjoy free food and friendly folks on Saturday night where we surely tell some fish stories. - Mike Owen
Activities other than fishing -
In addition to many sightseeing attractions and shopping in the Valley, the Gunnison Car Club is sponsoring the 35th Annual Gunnison Car Show August 18th, 19th, 20th 2023. The main event is The Gunnison Car Show at Jorgenson Park on Saturday. Hundreds of cars will fill the park with the famous 'W' Mountain serving as the perfect backdrop. It is free to the public with live music, poker run, and plenty of fun for every age. Also on Saturday is a huge local-vendor art and craft sale on the north side of HWY 50 also at Jorgenson Park in the heart of town. It includes some demonstration exhibits such as log carving.
Camping & Lodging -
At least five of the club members with RVs are circling the wagons at Tall Texan RV resort https://gunnisonrvpark.com (There are other camping opportunities including RV resorts, Federal and State campgrounds in the area. You will need camping reservations. A great hotel is the Alpine Inn. Good prices and clean rooms - https://www.gunnisonalpineinn.com/
Group Get together -
We will probably have a club get together on Saturday afternoon/evening; a bar-b-que of sorts. A good spot for this is Shady Island River Park, next to Garlic Mike’s restaurant, 1.5 miles north of the City of Gunnison at 2714 Hwy 135. It is a 10.5-acre parcel which provides safe public access for community members, visitors, anglers, and boaters with the construction of a formal boat launch area and access to the Gunnison River. Shady Island River Park includes parking, 19 tent camping sites, a camp host, picnic shelters with restrooms, trail loop system, recreation path, fishing access, boat staging area, access for non-boaters, outdoor gathering areas, picnic tables, and a boat queue area. We will post more details about the get together as the date gets closer.
Now, back to the fishing. In addition to the Gunnison River, other fisheries in the Valley include the Taylor River, the Lake Fork of the Gunnison, Tomichi Creek, Cochetopa and East River to name some of the more prominent rivers in the area. By the way, the Gunnison and Taylor rivers were recently designated Gold Medal Waters. There are many public access points for all these rivers and I have included a map of public access points for the Gunni available at the website. Click here for website map
The Upper Gunnison is formed by the confluence of the Taylor River and the East River in the hamlet of Almont, flowing nearly 20 miles before it spills into Blue Mesa Reservoir. It’s a classic freestone river with riffles, runs, deep pools, and pocket water with abundant 9- to 17-inch rainbows and browns, and the occasional 20-inch fish. There are six miles of public access for shore or wade angling at seven access sites. There are five public boating access points for deployment or pickup of small rafts or boats.
There are Special Regulations on the Gunni: Almont to Hwy 50, artificial flies and lures only; bag and possession for brown trout is 2 fish 16” or longer; catch and release on rainbow trout; taking kokanee prohibited August 1-October 31. Brown Trout are the most common species making up about 40-70 percent of angler catch. Rainbow Trout make up about 15-50 percent. Kokanee Salmon’s annual spawning run begins in early August and runs through early November. The Colorado Parks and wildlife fish survey in June, 2022, had density estimates for Almont to CR 10/ Gunnison River Ranch, for trout over one year old at 3897 brown trout and 703 rainbow trout per mile. There were an estimated 173 lbs. per acre of brown trout and 50 lbs. per acre of rainbow trout, with an estimated 70 fish present over 14 inches long per acre.
In August the water flow will be low. A dry/dropper rig will work well in the skinnier sections. Bugs present in August include Caddis, Green Drake, PMD, BWO, and the ever-present midges. Always check the stream and use these bug species in dries and nymphs.
Closed Areas -
East River – Gunnison County 1. From the upstream property boundary at the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery downstream to the confluence with the Taylor River: The taking of kokanee salmon is prohibited
CPW says: “From Roaring Judy Hatchery outlet downstream to the Roaring Judy property boundary: Fishing is prohibited from August 1 through October 31”
The East River has excellent dry-fly fishing, but limited public access. Expect heavy Green Drake hatches from mid-July to mid-August. Other hatches include midges, Blue-winged Olives, caddis, PMDs, and stoneflies. The only access (other than private water leased by local guide services and fishing clubs) consists of a 1 ½ -mile stretch adjacent to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. This stretch of riffles, runs, and deep pools has good dry-fly fishing.
The Taylor River (a favorite of mine for dry fly fishing) between the lower boundary of the “hog trough” (directly below the dam) and the junction with the East River at Almont, has 20 miles of river with 10 miles of public access. Most of the Taylor is a pocket water paradise with excellent dry-fly and nymph fishing. Expect hatches of midges, Blue-winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Green Drakes, caddis, and stoneflies. The dry-fly fishing in scenic Taylor Canyon is spectacular. Trout rise eagerly for attractors throughout the summer, and you can’t do much better than a Stimulator with a Copper John dropper.