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Fly Fishing Adventure on the Gunnison River


Fly fishing the Gunnison River is a captivating experience that offers anglers a chance to immerse themselves in the scenic beauty of Colorado while pursuing a variety of fish species. This comprehensive guide will provide you with valuable information on the best time to fish, access points, local guide shops, ideal rod selection, recommended flies, fishing techniques, rigging your rod, local laws and restrictions, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to explore the Gunnison River, this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to make the most of your fishing adventure.

Biography of the Gunnison River and Fishery

The Gunnison River, located in southwestern Colorado, is renowned for its exceptional fly fishing opportunities. Flowing through the breathtaking Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon, this river boasts an abundance of trout species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and brook trout. The best time to fish the Gunnison River is during the summer and fall months when water temperatures are ideal, and insect hatches are plentiful.

Best Access Points, Directions, and Local Guide Shops

To help you plan your fishing trip, here are the top five access points along the Gunnison River, along with directions and recommended local guide shops:

Access PointDirectionsLocal Guide Shop
AlmontTake CO-135 S from Crested Butte.Gunnison River Guides
Pleasure ParkHead south on CO-65 from Delta.Pleasure Park Campground
Gunnison ForksFrom Gunnison, take CO-135 N.RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service
Black Canyon National ParkEnter the park from either Montrose or Gunnison.Black Canyon Anglers
East PortalLocated near the town of Gunnison.Willowfly Anglers

Fishing with Low Traffic

For anglers seeking less fishing traffic, exploring remote sections of the Gunnison River can be a rewarding experience. Areas such as the upper Gunnison River and the less accessible stretches of the Black Canyon offer solitude and a higher chance of finding unpressured fish. Consulting with local guide shops mentioned above can provide you with additional insights and recommendations tailored to your preferences.

Busiest Fishing Spot

One of the busiest fishing spots along the Gunnison River is Almont, primarily due to its accessibility and productive fishing conditions. While it may attract more anglers, it still offers ample opportunities to catch various trout species.

Ideal Rod Selection

Choosing the right rod is crucial for a successful fly fishing excursion on the Gunnison River. A versatile 9-foot, 5-weight rod is an excellent choice for most fishing situations. It provides the necessary backbone to handle larger trout and the finesse required for delicate presentations.

Flies for Each Season

To maximize your chances of catching fish throughout the year, it’s essential to select the right flies. The following table highlights some recommended flies for each season:

SeasonRecommended Flies
SpringBlue Winged Olives, Midges
SummerPale Morning Duns, Caddisflies
FallOctober Caddis, Hoppers
WinterZebra Midges, San Juan Worms

Fishing Techniques

Mastering different fishing techniques can significantly enhance your success on the Gunnison River. Some effective techniques include dry fly fishing, nymphing, and streamer fishing. Experiment with various presentations, retrieves, and depths to adapt to the river’s conditions and the trout’s feeding preferences.

Rigging Your Rod

Rigging your rod correctly is crucial for optimal performance. When nymphing, use a weighted fly line and leader to achieve proper depth. Start with a 9-foot leader tapered down to 5x or 6x tippet. Adjust the weight of your nymphs or split shot to reach the desired depth, typically 1-2 feet above the riverbed.

Local Laws and Restrictions

It’s essential to be aware of local laws and restrictions to ensure a respectful and legal fishing experience on the Gunnison River. Check with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department for up-to-date information on fishing licenses, catch limits, and any special regulations that may apply.


Fly fishing the Gunnison River is an adventure that promises breathtaking scenery and exciting angling opportunities. By understanding the best times to fish, accessing the river through recommended access points, utilizing effective fishing techniques, and adhering to local laws, you can make the most of your fishing experience. Remember to consult with local guide shops for personalized recommendations and embrace the thrill of fly fishing on the magnificent Gunnison River.

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