Monday, August 31, 2009

On the River: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

August 29, 2009

Oh, the Black Canyon ... If I've said it once people, I'll say it again, "this is a must fish destination sometime in your life."

Yes, that is a seriously fat, 20" rainbow.

I have never been to the Black Canyon and walked away empty handed, even if there are some days that you may not do as well, you always are seeing large fish, actively feeding in some way. It really is like fishing a natural version of the Taylor River C and R. I say natural, because let's face it - the C and R is a freak of nature.

With the Black Canyon, you've got a lot of amazing fish, that grow large, tucked into an amazing canyon that has very little easy access. Even at East Portal, if you don't cross the river in some sort of floatable device, you can only fish a couple of hundred yards that gets pretty pounded by the RV fisherman.

But ... if thou shalt pass through the waters to the other side, thine shall be a reward of big rainbows and browns, feeding eagerly ... thus saith Jeff.

Michelle and I had a great day! The gammarus scud reigned supreme. Early in the day there was a large fish that wasn't having it (or more likely, I stung him with it and he just wouldn't take again) so I switched up to a midge and then a blacktail baetis for a bit. I got some looks and even a small fish or two, but before long I switched back to the gammarus scud and never looked back. All day long fish were going out of their way to hammer it.

Our mission was to really hook Michelle up. It had been a while since she had a real quality day on any river - the kind of day where the weather, water and fish all cooperated - so the deal was she would pass the rod off to me after every 3 fish she caught ... Neither of us lacked for the day.

We estimate that Michelle landed close to 20 fish, leaving me with a meager 7 fish, but when I had the chance I didn't waste it on small fries. The whole day was fishing the scud 16" below a micro-indicator sighting big rainbows and browns.

The best part of the day definitely came last. Michelle was sworn to end her day on a good fish, so she persevered and at around 6:30 PM she hooked into what was her biggest fish of the day, about an 18" Brown.

Take my advice, go to the Black Canyon, and call me when you're on your way ... I'll try and meet you there if I can!


Michelle's final fish of the day! and the victory shot afterward.


  1. OH YEAH! Now THATS what I'm talking about! WOOOHOOOO!

    That HEALTHY bow in the first pic is niiiiiice. The brown you got in your sticky little hands is a good one, too. But Michelle's bruiser is just as sweet, if not a tad bit nicer. Sorry...just calling it like I see it - way to go Michelle! That's a well-earned victory pose!

    Looks like you two had yourself a grand ol' time - wow. That's exactly what we like to hear. I know you've told me about that stretch of river before, Jeff, and I have to....scratch that, I NEED to get a taste for myself. All of my best-laid plans have been derailed this summer...and nothing has panned out like I had hoped.

    BUT...there's still a few more months left before it gets too blustery and cold out...hmmmm,,,,

    That random thought aside - you know it warms my heart to hear you talk about the oh-so-mighty scud like that - it's one of my favorites - for me, it ranks up there with the heavy-weights like the PT and RS2 (and my oft-forgotten friend, the Zebra).

    After reading your report and seeing the pictures, I am in dire need to hit some water

  2. Awesome fish my friends. My fish envy is fierce.

  3. That rainbow is obnoxious... :) Hoping for some action like that on Monday!

  4. That is awesome. I love that place.

  5. So glad I was able to finally fish Black Canyon with you Jeff. It totally lived up to my expectations -- exactly how you describe it. We had an amazing time. Thanks again to you and Michelle. /g

  6. I am going tomorow if you want to go lol.

  7. Dang! I would love to. It might be my favorite place on earth. However, the drive from Michigan to Montrose is a solid 30+ hours ... tough day trip!