Note: This report is a part of the FlyCast Lite reporting program and is updated seasonally or in the event of substantial changes that alter fly fishing tactics. FlyCast Lite reports are intended to give anglers a high level overview on seasonal conditions and general fishing tactics.
The Taylor River, below the Dam, is in great shape and fishing well. That being said, this time of year brings a plethora of anglers to the water so expect it to be busy. Water clarity is high and will likely remain this way, absent dramatic swings in flow, for the foreseeable future. As such, stealth and presentation are key. Light tippet, yarn indicators and clean casts are imperative to success. Bug life is abundant with stoneflies, midges and baetis dominating the menu. However, you really can’t go wrong with anything in the searcher or attractor variety as well. Persistence and sight fishing will go a long way. Really pick apart the deep and slow pools, runs and pockets in the early hours and as hatch activity materializes look to fish the faster moving stuff like the riffles, outer seams and transitions. Nymphing with smaller imitations continues to produce the most consistent results. However, dry flies have been producing great results as of late too. Single, double or a dry to an emerger are all fair game.
The Taylor River is the largest tributary to the Upper Gunnison River and originates in the high country of northeast Gunnison county near the continental divide. From the headwaters, the Taylor River flows southeast to Taylor Park Reservoir before turning southwest, through Taylor Canyon, for about 26 miles toward Almont where it meets the East River. Below the Taylor Park Dam, is one of Colorado’s most prized tailwaters and is home to some beefy rainbow, cutthroat, cutbow and brown trout. While there is some incredible fishing near the headwaters, above the dam, this report will emphasize the tailwater section and to a lesser extent the subsequent 26 mile stretch through the canyon. Below the dam, you’ll find some deeper runs, slow pools and pocket water. Whereas, further south, water velocity picks up making the pockets and faster riffles more attractive holding places for trout. The Taylor is a must for every angler as it offers some incredible landscape and fishing. That being said, this tailwater see’s its fair share of angler pressure, so come prepared for crowds.
Like any tailwater, the Taylor has its pro’s and con’s. On the plus side, you can fish it year round as the trout receive consistent bug life from the Taylor Reservoir and it doesn’t freeze over in the winter due to warm water being released from the bottom of the dam. As a result of consistent bug life, trout here gorge themselves year round and you can expect to find a few trophy trout. The “Hog Trough”, in particular, holds some of the biggest Taylor River trout and is located just below the dam. While you generally can’t go wrong as far as timing goes, the summer through fall offers some incredible hatch activity in the green drake, caddis and BWO variety making for great dry fly fishing. Otherwise, small and simple nymph rigs will be the most effective mode of fishing regardless of the time of year. On the downside, these trout are picky and skittish due to consistent angler pressure. As such, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. Short clean casts, yarn indicators and light tippet will work in your favor. Additionally, this is certainly a destination location, so don’t expect to have the river to yourself. Fishing is at its best in the late morning to evening, but make sure to get there early to beat the crowds.
The tailwater section of the Taylor River is located roughly 26 miles northeast of Almont. From CO-135, take CO Rd 742 up the Taylor Canyon toward the dam. Here you’ll find a number of walk-in access points throughout the canyon, just off of the road. While the lower Taylor will offer some solitude, the larger trout can be found within a mile of the dam.