April, 2017-With spring in full effect and run-off barking at the door, now is THE time to hit the upper Gunnison River with your fly rod. The flows are perfect, water clarity is fantabulous, and the fish are on the feed. The Guardrail Hole and some of the deeper water at McCabe’s Lane are fishing really well right now with a light colored Pat’s Rubberlegs with a #18 Barr’s Beadhead BWO Emerger or Judson’s MR3 BWO Emerger as a trailer. For those of you who may not know, Pat’s Rubberlegs Stonefly Nymph parrots a golden stonefly, like the Gunnison Country golden stone photographed above. The fly is incredibly ugly, not true-to-life at all, and super-simple to tie (it’s the only fly I can tie well), but it catches fish like no other. I shudder to think how much money “Pat” has made off his simplistic stonefly imitation, but I’d likely be distressed if I knew. Blue-winged olives aren’t hatching en masse yet but on dreary, dank afternoons you will see BWOs on the water and a few trout taking them of the surface, but nymphing is still your best bet. This dual-fly nymphing rig is killer this time of year and will capture fish for you not only on the Gunny, but the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River and Taylor River as well. There really isn’t a better springtime set-up with the possible exception of an egg pattern (Glo-Bug, Micro-Egg, or trout bead) later in April. If trout are dialed in and snatching BWOs off the surface, target willing risers with a Parachute Adams, Furimsky’s Foam BWO, Furismsky’s B.D.E. BWO, or Mathews’ BWO Sparkle Dun (if fish are finicky.)
As many of you may have noticed, Gunnison Country rivers and streams have become much more crowded in the last 3-4 years as more and more worm dunkers and lure lobbers look for more out of their piscatorial pursuits, so get to the stream early (no later than 8AM) and make your first water count. Grab the Guardrail Hole early or you might as well go somewhere else because there will be someone flogging the water there all day…guaranteed. There is a lot of quality water below Cooper Ranch as well, and if you venture out for an afternoon salmonid siesta I’d start looking for trout (and available elbow room) here.
Fly Fishing the Gunnison Country