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Spring Fly Fishing in Crested Butte & Gunnison

Tucked away into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, your next great fly-fishing adventure is waiting for you. Springtime in the Gunnison/Crested Butte valley offers an incredible time to fish for trout waking up from a long winter. Beat the crowds and brave the elements with us as the valley wakes up and the fish are feeding! Book a trip starting March 1st. We are offering a half-day float and walk wade on the mighty Gunnison river, as well as a half day walk wade on East river, and on the gold medal Taylor river. To book a trip, call the shop at (970)-349-1228.

What does the trip include?

· Knowledgeable and friendly guides

· Flies, Rods, Reels, and terminal tackle(leader, tippet, weight, etc.)

· Waders and Boots for the day.

· Hot cocoa, or hot coffee on the water.

· Bottled water.

· Snacks.

· A great day to get out on the water.

What to bring

· Bring layers! Spring weather can change in an instant.

· A smile because it is always a great day to be on the water!

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Rod’s take on a high water year…

Fishing in the west, it just doesn’t get any better, when conditions are right that is.

We that make our lives around the pursuit of trout on the fly begin our concern way back in December. We start our
weekly snowpack watch in the early winter months and begin to equate what our streams might
look like based on that snowpack. A big December eases our mind a little but by the time late
February rolls around the predictions run rampant. Every big snow storm or every 3 week winter
high pressure system can cause anxiety on what our summer flows will bring. To have that
concern every winter for the past 30 can be exhausting. Too little snow and we have a great
early start but mid summer heat takes a dangerous toll on the rivers and their inhabitants. Big
snow and big runoff brings on a need to be patient as river flows stay high and push the start of
our season back.

Although it shortens our summer season, this is the best situation for the
creatures we pursue. This is where we are in the summer of 2023. We have been patient and
the time is now. It seems that lately we only see 2 or 3 years like this out of every 10.
Snow patches up high will hang on into September, water levels will be ideal as will water
temperatures in months that we have grown to be concerned with and have commonly been
asked to shut down our fishing by mid-day. This summer shouldn’t see that. Water temperatures
should stay cool and lessen the concern of the so-called Dog days of August. We should get
safely to our shorter days in September as fall fishing has the chance to be the highlight of the
season.

As far as the fish are concerned, how nice it is to have more, cooler habitat. How nice it
is to be happy most of the time and feel like eating rather than dropping down deep and sulking.
It’s no surprise and it’s quite refreshing that in years like this you almost daily hear reports from
almost everyone on how they can’t believe how good the fishing is. It is here and now, summer 2023.

Enjoy it as it has seemed to become something other than the norm. To top all of this off,
look forward to the best September and October we have seen in a while.

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    ‘Ramp to Ramp’ River Clean Up Day- April 29, 2023

    Unfortunately, trash happens. 

    We hate to see it, and we never litter intentionally (most of us, anyway). But the fact is, we have to clean up after ourselves, and after others, from time to time. 

    And in the Gunnison Valley, our waters are our life, figuratively and literally. 

     The Ramp to Ramp River Clean Up is an annual event hosted by the Gunnison River Guide Coalition. GRGC is a group of river enthusiasts and local guides founded by Patrick Duke in 2019, with a mission of advocating for the Gunnison River guide community and fishery habitat.

    On Saturday, April 29, 2023, several of Dragonfly Anglers staff joined a group of eager guides and friends of the river to remove trash, debris, and pollutants from the banks of the Gunnison River from Almont to Blue Mesa Reservoir. 

    Most folks filled a large black trash bag with riverside goodies, and others filled several. Occasionally, we found big-ticket items (strollers, fencing, or rogue lengths of 2×4 lumber), but the bulk of our haul was pieces of micro-trash plastics and copious amounts of empty beer cans. 

    Photo Credit: Eli Wilder

    All in all, this group of amazing people piled trash high on a 12 x 7 raft trailer and hauled it to the dump.

    The event wrapped up with food and drinks donated by the Gunnison Angling Society TU Chapter, and a raffle to raise money for future GRGC efforts. Last year’s raffle proceeds were used to print these signs, which will be posted around the Gunnison Valley to educate anglers about the importance of paying attention to water temperature and appropriate fish handling.

    Educational signs on display at the post clean up raffle. Photo Credit: Patrick Duke

    The importance of picking up trash cannot be overstated. Rivers are a vital source of freshwater, providing water for millions of people, supporting diverse ecosystems, and driving economic activities such as fly fishing in Crested Butte and the Gunnison area. 

    However, rivers are often subject to pollution from a variety of sources, and, unfortunately, littering of trash on the riverbanks happens too often.

    By removing trash and debris from rivers, participants helped to improve water quality and protect the lives of trout. Additionally, picking up trash keeps our rivers beautiful and helps maintain one of Colorado’s best fly fishing destinations.

    We are eager to continue the efforts to clean up our rivers and promise to go the extra mile to pick up trash whenever it is found. 

    Team Dragonfly pledges to live by these three principles more specific to angling:

    1. Never litter. Even a banana peel, an apple core, or spent sunflower seed shells go into the trash, not on the ground or in the water. 
    2. When we snag in a tree or on a rock, we do everything reasonably possible to retrieve our tackle rather than breaking off and leaving it there. Pack out all spent leader and tippet material.
    3. Most importantly, leave it better than you found it. This is the main goal of the “Ramp to Ramp”.

    Patrick says GRGC’s efforts are best represented by the ‘leave it better than you found it’ principle. “I think all of us who show up can agree that little if any of garbage we pick up is our own, but taking ownership in our public lands and giving back to the places that bring us so much is our duty as guides and land users. I hope this event resets the “Leave it better than you found it” mentally at the beginning of the summer and we stay dedicated to it all season. As guides and consistent river users we have the opportunity to be stewards as well. We set an example every day on the water. Setting a good example of proper sustainable river use is vital to building a community that respects our public lands.”

    To learn more about the Gunnison River Guide Coalition and to stay updated on future events, click here.

    Thanks for reading, and enjoy the day.

    Team Dragonfly

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

    Fly fishing is one of the best things to do in Crested Butte, and we are thrilled about the upcoming season. At Dragonfly Anglers, we employ only the best Colorado fly fishing guides who are devoted to taking care of their client’s needs and providing an unmatched angling experience. Click here for more fly fishing in the Gunnison Valley. Or click here for our most recent Crested Butte, Colorado Fly Fishing Report.

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    What to Wear When Fly Fishing

    Learning how to dress when fly fishing takes practice and many days of experience. We wrote this article to help remove some guesswork for the beginner fly angler. 

    First and foremost, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the weather and the water conditions. Colorado fly fishing requires anglers to be prepared for variable conditions on any given day, especially in Crested Butte.

    Here are some tips on what to wear when fly fishing:

    The Basics:

    • Waders
    • Wading Boots 
    • Layered Clothing
    • Hat & sunglasses

    Other items to have handy:

    • Neck gaiter for sun and bug protection
    • Rain jacket
    • Sunscreen
    • Insulating layers as the weather demands.
    • Water and snacks

    Let’s discuss the basic attire required to have a fun, safe, and successful day of fly fishing in Colorado.

    Waders – Waders are an essential piece of gear for fly fishing, especially if you’ll be fishing in cold water or rivers with rocky bottoms. Fishing waders are waterproof from the foot to your hip or chest, depending on the style of wader you choose. 

    In Crested Butte, we wear waders 90% of the year due to excruciatingly cold snowmelt running through our rivers. This is the case for most Colorado fly fishing scenarios, except when you’re fishing during some of the hottest days in July and August. 

    There are two types of waders: chest waders and hip waders. Chest waders are recommended for deeper water, while hip waders are good for shallower streams. 

    When you are on a guided fly fishing trip with Dragonfly anglers, we will outfit you with whichever waders are most appropriate for the water we’re wading that day. 

    Note: Waders are unnecessary for most applications when float fishing from a raft or drift boat.

    Additionally, remember to wear a comfortable pair of socks on your feet to (A) help keep your feet warm and (B) assist in getting your foot in and out of the neoprene booties with ease. Socks also help your waders from developing odors over time.

    Wading Boots – Wading boots fit over your waterproof wading booties sewn into the waders. Wading boots have excellent traction and help with stability when walking on slippery riverbeds. 

    In the hottest summer months, when we don’t need waders, we still recommend using wading boots with neoprene socks for traction and to protect your feet from injury. We never recommend wearing open-toed shoes like Chacos or Tevas when wading in rivers.

    Dragonfly will outfit all our clients with wading boots before a fishing trip. 

    If you’re in the market for a new pair of waders, we carry a wide selection from Simms and Patagonia and our staff has a wealth of knowledge about the features and benefits of each model. Fit is super important when selecting a pair of waders and boots, so please come see us at the shop to try some on and find the best pair for you.

    Layered Clothing – Dress in layers to stay comfortable throughout the day. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin. In Colorado, where we are at a high elevation and the sun is intense, we advise anglers to wear a long-sleeve shirt with a hood. 

    Synthetic fabrics, like the material in this Patagonia Cool Daily Sun Hoody and Simms Solarflex Sun Hoody, help keep you cool and protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

    Add a synthetic fleece or non-cotton insulating layer for warmth on cooler days. And top it off with a waterproof and breathable shell layer to protect against wind and rain.

    Remember that fly fishing is a relatively sedative sport, meaning our bodies are challenged to keep our core warm, especially when standing in 50-degree water. When in doubt, pack an extra layer. Your fishing guide from Dragonfly Anglers will gladly help carry it if not needed. 

    For your bottoms, non-cotton tights or long underwear ensure your legs stay comfortable under your waders. ,

    Hat and Sunglasses: Protect your face and eyes from the sun with a hat and polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses are essential to help reduce glare on the water, making it easier to see fish and underwater structures.

    A generic ballcap and a neck gaiter or hooded t-shirt will keep you cool and the sun off your face most days. 

    Other Items:

    If conditions warrant flexibility, or you are fishing when there’s a chance for precipitation or wind, always err on the side of caution and pack more layers. A proper rain jacket is generally advised to have nearby in addition to plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. 

    The last thing you want to happen when you’re fly fishing is becoming hungry, dehydrated, or uncomfortable due to the elements. 

    Summary: It’s essential to prioritize safety and comfort when selecting fly fishing clothes and gear. Ensure your attire allows you to move freely and stay protected from the elements. Crested Butte has some of the best fly fishing in Colorado and we recommend that you dress appropriately to best enjoy the experience. 

    When you’re on a guided fly fishing trip with our company, we will provide waders, boots, fly rods, and all necessary tackle. It’s up to you to dress appropriately for everything else. 

    Contact Dragonfly Anglers at (970)-349-1228 or stop by our fly shop at 307 Elk Avenue, downtown Crested Butte to shop for all your essential fly fishing gear needs.