Sunday the 11th August saw TBird and myself heading out West to Crested Butte, Colorado.
We met up with Leo and Julie Orlowski, to which  we arrived around 10am the following morning. 
After the usual  unpacking, and the fly gear was first! We headed out to the infamous Taylor River, below the dam, which is considered to be one of the most difficult zones to fish. Its a  relatively small section of public water and in consequence fishing pressure is immense.
The small section of river is noted due to the monster fish that reside there primarily eating misis shrimp that were introduced into the Taylor Reservoir above the dam.

Regs for the Taylor River

To say the least l was somewhat burned out by the travel, even so l managed to nail 15 very nice fish, with DW style flies and wet fly tactics, guess those fish had never seen that kind of action before.
Day 2- we headed out to the Gunnison River, which at this time is at low levels, not that the fish were distressed. Decided to again fish DW style wet fly, and that was certainly the way to go in my book, once again the Browns and Bows came quickly, we all had a great days fishing for  sure.

Davy didn’t take long to make friends with the Browns on the Gunnison below Almont.

Day 3- Chose a different location on the Gunnison below the Blue Mesa Reservoir which the Gunnison flows into. Once again wet fly, dead drift soft hackles were the way to go, awesome fishing for wild trout once again we all had a great day.
Day 4.- I had always enjoyed fishing the South Platte river below Spinny, known as the “Dream Stream”, considered to be one of  the premier Gold Medal waters in the state, and that l would agree with. Fish per mile is very high, saying that is also sees a great deal of fishing pressure and we all know what that means, the fish are not stupid. None the less, we had a great day once again fishing combinations of traditional winged wets, soft  hackles, upstream dead drift, emergers and dry was my choice with some 20 fish to hand and the loss of a very big Brown that tailed me out below a bridge pool in very fast heavy water.
No big deal not the first big fish l have lost. The 350 mile round trip was well worth it for the few hours we had on the water.

Julie, new to fly fishing, she did something right, the fish didn’t know any different- proof! Great job, Julie!

Day 5.- We decided to return again to the Gunnison, to the lower section close to the lake, here again we all had a great day. This section of the river has some very deep holes and pocket water ideal for EU style nymph rigs, something that here on the White is not  really a option.
That well paid off for me as many fine browns and bows we taken to hand. TBird and Leo also doing well fishing soft hackles in the slower zones of the river.

TBird took about all of 3 minutes to figure out how to get this Lake Irwin Silver on a fly.

Day 6.- Fishing stillwaters has always been a  passion of mine and coming from the UK, no wonder as for the majority of fly  fishers there, that is where we would go to fish. Guess we picked the wrong day at least so far as traffic, boaters and campers, not that it bothered us to catch the bright silver bows found in the lake, once again a great day. l did have a new experience when a Coyote chose to walk in beside me for a drink.

Day 7.- Well that was the girls day downtown in  Crested Butte and a nice lunch, after which we headed up to the mountain.  Fortunately they had one of the ski lifts working, mainly to carry the mountain bikers up the hill.
To be honest no way would l choose to walk to that  elevation. Either way the day was fun for all and the trout had a rest.

Lake Irwin view from one of the trails- stillwater fly fishing for trout is a challenge- a definite favorite of Davy’s. Those big silvers cruising, and the hook-up, now you have a real fight!.

Day 8.- our last day we chose to fish the East River which is one of the two rivers that form the Gunnison.

River levels were very low which confined the majority of trout into the faster deeper water sections of the river. That being the case there was a good amount of walking needed to locate pockets of water and catch a few from each before the other residents wised up. Once again a great day catching Bows and Browns for all.

After returning back to Crested Butte we loaded the Dodge and all went to town for exit dinner at a very nice location that served a combination of Indian, and other Oriental dishes, after which we headed out for the 1100 mile drive back to Arkansas
More Info:
Here is some further info for you guys who may choose to head out west.
These rivers are primarily dependent on snow pack  melt and release from dams, so bear that in mind as early season may not be a option due to high water levels. 
Check with one of the local fly shops for updated info for water levels and wade access. Western rivers are very unlike the Arkansas tailwaters for many reasons, one of which is they hold percentage wise more wild fish per mile. These rivers also see great mayfly hatches along with caddis and stonefly which means you need to have with you flies that suit for those species as fish in these waters can key on big time to that food source.
That is not to say many generic fly patterns will  not work. I pretty much fished, 5x and in a few cases 6x with 10ft and 11ft mid flex action rods, which will considerably reduce your hooked fish being lost when fishing small flies. Either way some of the tactics needed would be termed as technical fishing, chuck and chance it is not going to work if you wish to hook up good numbers. Long leader tippet sections would also be mandatory for some sections of the rivers.
You will also be fishing in high elevations and  that being so drink plenty of water.
If you have never experienced these waters then l  would add them to your bucket list, in many cases in my opinion they generally  better most Montana waters both for numbers and average size of fish, and its  allot closer to drive.
Of course there are many options for guide services and floats, if you know what you are doing then there are miles of water to  access and wade with a $55 Colorado State license.
A big thank you to Leo and Julie for their hospitality,  a much added bonus in addition to the rest of the trip experience.
Davy
Advertisements