Friday, April 30, 2010

On the River: Taylor River, Gunnison, Colorado

April 17, 2010

With the dicey spring weather always changing every 15 minutes, Michelle and I headed out on Saturday for a quick trip to the river. Just the week before, with my Sister and Brother-in-law in town, we did some sight seeing and checked out the Taylor (without our rods) and had spotted a few large rainbows holding in a favorite run of mine.

They were no doubt stockers from the upstream private property, but that was no reason to stop Michelle and I from seeing if we could locate them again. Our first attempt was thwarted by a thunderstorm cloud that produced hail and lightning. So, like any Colorado natives we decided to drive upstream until the weather improved. The weather did improve, but we were so close to the C and R by the time it did that we decided to check it out.

Bad move ... it was like a sea of cars out there. No joke, if there was a pull-off, or even a space large enough for a car, it was filled. Nuts to that. So we headed back downstream and just as predicted, the location that was previously a wild storm, was now sunny blue.

It only took a few good drifts before Michelle hooked her first fish. My second fish was one of the big rainbows we had spotted last time we were there and he put up a decent fight, but ultimately pulled out just before I netted him. If I may digress for a moment, there was a good reason he pulled out ...

We were fishing a hare's ear as a point fly, trailed by a blacktail baetis. The fish took the hare's ear and as I pulled him close, he made a fast move, in which he caught the baetis in a pectoral fin. The result was he popped the hare's ear out and was now foul-hooked. My digression is this ... I'm not so sure about the two fly rig. I like the concept of not using lead, but I have had this very same scenario happen to me a few times in the last month or so. I'm about ready to denounce two fly fishing. I'll keep you posted and let you know how my mental battle goes.

After 20 more minutes of drifting and hooking a few other small fish, I hooked into another one of the large rainbows. Shortly after that we made our way downstream and got into a couple runs with browns in them. All in all I'd have to give the Taylor two thumbs up right now. The fish are definitely feeding hard and since it's a tailwater you can find some clarity that the rest of the valley is lacking.

It was a great time for getting out on the river for just a few hours!

-Jeff Allen


  1. whoa whoa whoa.... Did I just hear your thinking about going DOWN to one fly? your still going to foul hook some,,, prob not as many, because you wont hook as many... what about..... which one did he eat? whitch one is he on.......somtimes wondering is a kick!! was that hares ear barbless? you ever netted a fish for Michelle, but before she sees, you pop the foul hook from the pooper of the fish... she be smiling.

    I think one fly would catch more fish in very picky water with smart fish, for the simple reasion that there is only one choice to make refuse or take.... But further downstream two flys!!! if the fish eats the fly... angler proplem 1 if the fish spits the fly....eventhough how can they spit once there hooked but if it does.. angler has another problem... a lost fish... unless.... the tailing fly hooks the fin.... angler problem number 3.... Now! this is starting to sound like a fun fish!! Do what ever... it only takes a second to loose a fly or tie one on.. All I can say more is,,, I wouldnt drop a quarter in to the dollar slot!!

  2. Nice day to be out and about - and it sounds like a bunch of other folks had the same idea, huh? C&R see's some heavy traffic.

    But it looks like you two did pretty well on the lower sections.

    I'm not even going into the one fly / two fly subject...ya'll know where I stand with that!

    When you coming out to hit the Canyon?????

  3. Biggerfish: many thoughts to consider ... Really, I'm not one to look down my nose at anyone, I'm just starting to think two flies isn't worth the trouble.

    Maybe going to one fly is just a way to challenge myself ... whatever. As for Michelle, I'm too honest of a guy. I always tell her if it was foul hooked. In fact, if I see it's foul hooked I usually put the pressure on to bring the fish in as fast as possible, even at the expense of breaking off the flies.

  4. CO Angler: I'm not sure I do know where you stand with the one fly/two fly subject. I'm guessing you are a one fly kinda guy ...

    Actually, we got up to Cheeseman last Sunday (I'll be posting soon). I was going to buzz you, but we were already rolling in a crew of 6 people.

    I kinda got it "handed to me". Super low flows, the clearest water I've ever seen there, and 50 mph winds/gusts. Not exactly a recipe for delicate presentation. Though I think they just stocked the Wigwam! There were some monster fish (we landed a few of them), but definitely lost more fish than I would have liked to.

    I'll let you know when I'm coming that way next!

  5. I've never tossed more than one fly. My philosophy is, if you pitch strikes over home plate, then there's no need to be throwing multiples.

    It's been a windy Spring this year...more than past years it seems like.

    Thanks for the consideration, but I was out of town last weekend anyway - but glad to hear ya'll got into some of the tubs.

    There's a lot in that river, to be sure. Look forward to that post!

  6. That's cool. I never was a two fly guy until I moved out west and was hit in the face with blazingly fast water! Though that's not a good excuse and I think my "new leaf" will be to go back to one fly.

    Really, any time I'm not blind fishing deep runs, I stick with one fly. I feel more effective with it anyway. I've always felt fishing two flies and missing a fish doesn't really let you know what the fish is taking (other than a 50/50 guess).

  7. I have to point out... My nose is on my own face, although certain issues on the www get me voicing a little more than my opinion. Sorry if I came accross as anything but, a dude who like to fish and see others hook fish, how ever, and when ever, they want...

    I also must point out that the "two fly" subject Isnt always to double the chances of catching a fish,

    Ron is right about the home run... but hiding your split shot under a little rabbit dust... sounds like a curve ball on the outside corner... so pull the top fly off I guess and replace it with shot. what ever catches the one your after..

    I found a fly in the pooper of a trout the other day from a foul hook, I also foul hooked one myself, and ran it down, got my fly, the next drift, I snaged a 20 inch fish all over the mouth!!

  8. I hear you biggerfish. To be honest I'm not too picky either, in the sense that I don't care how others fish. I'm not going to snub anyone because they like to fish egg patterns, two flies, three flies ... whatever (though I suppose there is a point where I may strongly disagree).

    Mostly, I just say all this stuff to point out "where I draw the line" and my line tends to change over time too, as I fish more and more.

    Mostly, it's about having fun, and trying to enjoy fishing without killing too many fish, so the rest of us can have fun too!