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.
Flows on the Taylor have come down substantially since the beginning of September and are on the lower end of normal for this time of year. At this point, trout are stacking up in the soft water for most of the day and feeding selectively on smaller bugs. Water clarity is high so do your best to sight fish. Also, keep in mind that trout here are often stubborn and selective given the high volume of angler traffic. This will be especially true in the summer months, but also in the fall with the highly coveted drake hatch. That being said, with a little stealth and finesse you should see decent results. As is always the case on tricky tailwaters like this, depth and presentation will trump all other factors. Keep a low profile when approaching the river using high water clarity to your advantage and making sure to sight fish when possible. Nymphing continues to be the most effective mode of fishing. However, surface action has been great with a variety of hatches. When nymphing, lead with a mysis shrimp, midge or baetis . Eggs and worms have also been productive and we like to think of them as our slump buster patterns. As far as surface action goes, midges are making regular appearances as well as grey drakes. Otherwise, BWOs are apparent, but increasingly less so.
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.