Fall Fly Fishing Paradise in the Gunnison Basin

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The Gunnison Valley hosts the best trout fishing in Colorado. Whether fly fishing on the Taylor River or trolling Blue Mesa Reservoir, the next trophy fish is waiting.

Photo Credit: John Norton Angler: Robin Norton

Colorado State Record fish in Gunnison County:

By Weight

Rainbow Trout: 19 lbs 10 oz
Brown Trout: 30 lbs 8 oz
Mackinaw: 50 lbs 6 oz
Tiger Trout: 8 lbs 3.68 oz
Kokanee: 7 lbs 5 oz

By Length

Brook Trout: 26"
Cutbow: 33.5"
Cutthroat: 31"
Mackinaw: 46.9"
Rainbow Trout: 40.25"
Tiger Trout: 28"

As the influx of summer tourism winds down and the aspens begin to turn golden, it marks one of the best times to fish the Gunnison Valley. Many outdoorsman make the transition to big game hunting which leaves the rivers and lakes quiet.

The kokanee salmon begin moving up from Blue Mesa into the Gunnison and East Rivers on their annual pilgrimage to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. This is the largest kokanee run in the United States. Rainbow and brown trout come in behind the salmon clusters and some of the biggest fish of the season can be caught. Egg and flesh patterned flies trick the monster trout that follow the run.

While the caddisfly hatches begin to slow down, the fall blue-winged olive hatch keeps the trout excited as they search for their last food before the winter months.

Into October, the browns and brookies begin their spawning journey. Before and after this phase, they become increasingly aggressive on flies to prep for the spawn.

Water releases from the Taylor Reservoir drop making wading and access to the Taylor River easier. Also, less water means fewer places for fish to hang out narrowing down the amount of river to cover.

The next state record could be coming this fall.

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