Spring Fishing in the Gunnison Valley
March 7, 2011
There isn’t much that I like more than spring fishing in the Gunnison Valley. Your legs are exhausted from a long ski season, it hasn’t snowed in weeks and the mountain is in full spring conditions and most importantly the East and Taylor Rivers are starting to warm up enough to fish. Spring fishing is not for the faint of heart, temperatures are often in the high 30s, the fish are sluggish and down deep, and the walking and wading can be treacherous. For those willing to brave the early spring conditions the payoff can be legendary. We have all heard the stories of the epic spring day; someone throws the rod and waders in the car for a quick trip on the way to or from Gunni for groceries, they stop, wader up, tromp out to the first slow hole, hook two 20+ inch fish on eight casts, then pack it up for the day. Therein lies the beauty of early spring fishing, the rivers are in pre-runoff stage and the fish have been holding in the slow deep holes all winter long. If you know where to look the fish will generally be stacked up. Your favorite summer riffle might be empty, you hear nothing but crickets when fishing that shelf that you hook up on all summer long, but if you head to those deep slow holes the bite is on.
Not every day produces; if you can try to make your way out on those warmer days, the warmer it gets outside the more likely it is that the water will warm up a tenth of a degree and the fish will be that much more active. Remember, the name of the game is getting your flies to the fish. Bring your thingamabobbers and your split shot and make sure that you are getting down. The fish are going to be holding tight to the bottom and the water is cold enough still that they are not going to expend a lot of extra energy to eat your flies. Being willing to change your depth is key. This time of year the fish generally aren’t keyed in on any specific bug, so it is presentation that will get you the most action. A well drifted fly at the right depth will get the job done every time.
Weather depending we have been able to fish parts of both the East and Taylor in February, but most years the spring fishing really starts to get hot in March. When the days get a bit longer and the sun is a bit higher in the sky it gives the water that much more time to warm up. If you are thinking of heading out stop by the shop at 307 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte, give us a call at 349-1228, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.