Monday, August 15, 2011

Stones by Day, Drakes by Night~Taylor River

 Personally, I enjoy being challenged as an angler.  Challenging situations drive me to think outside of the box, and try new tactics on tough fish.  Until recently, I had only heard stories of the grotesque fish that live in the Taylor River Tailwater, also known as the "hog trough".  Big fish, and I mean BIG fish being pulled on a day-to-day basis, tons of mysis shrimp, and solid hatches of a plethora of different insects.  What else could one ask for in a trout stream?  Long story short, I had been chomping at the bit to get to this amazing fishery, and have my shot at some monster trout.

Well, my opportunity came a few weeks ago when a friend of mine invited me to tag along with him, his mom, and another one of his friends on a camping trip to the Taylor River.  I did not hesitate to say yes, and before I knew it, we were on the road, headed down to Gunnison in search of trophies.  I had never fished the Taylor C&R before, so I had no idea what to expect; how tough the fish would be, if we would catch any monsters, etc. 

Well, we arrived at our campground at around six o'clock that night, and headed to a few beaver ponds in search of dinner. We spent about 45 minutes searching for brookies, and ended up with 9 trout for the three of us. As much as I hate keeping fish, it had to be done.  We cooked our fish over the fire, gobbled them down, threw our gear on, and headed to the River at about 10:30 that night.  It was bitter cold, and the river was rushing at around 500 cfs. Being sight fishermen, we both stuffed a flashlight into each side of our buffs, and set out looking for trout. 

We found trout, and sat with our lights focused on them as we drifted our rigs past them.  When we saw the mouth open, a calm lift of the rod produced severe headshakes that made you look as if you were hammering nails, and intense runs that made the hair on your neck stand up straight. We fished all through the night and all through the day, slept for a few hours in the car, and repeated the process again.

21.5 Inch Rainbow that moved out of his spot to slam my fly

My buddy Joe with a sweet brownie that didn't hesitate to move over 3 feet to slam the nymph as it swung through his viewing lane.  My mysis/scud/midge rig was the best producer, so we alternated with that rod
We spotted this fish midstream, and he took on the second drift
A trophy is what you make of it; the colors of this bow made it the fish of the day
This brown was spotted right on the edge of a fast seam, slamming drakes.  We made a presentation, and on about the twentieth drift, he inhaled our green drake nymph.
We also fished the lower Taylor in the Town of Almont, and did quite well with an assortment or fish landed on big dries.
Matt and I spotted this fish from a cliff rising constantly to what appeared to be green drakes.  Using binoculars, we were able to determine that the fish was feeding on small yellow sallies rather than the green drakes that were everywhere.  Joe went down to cast to him, and on about the ninth cast, the fish calmly came up to slurp his dry fly.  We waited until the fish turned to yell "lift!"
 We ended the trip with a stop at duck lake, which is just below squaretop lake.  We were in search of big greenbacks, and boy did we get into them good.  Right off the bat, we all landed cutties, the smallest measuring 16 inches.  we kept having success throughout the day, with the biggest fish being caught by Matt, and measuring 21 inches.

this monster greenback appeared from the depths to try and eat my 17 inch cutty. Luckily, Matt was right there, and was able to coax the fish into eating a beetle pattern off the top.
 Overall it was a sweet trip, and I am looking forward to going back.  My next trip will most definitely be in the winter/early spring when the rainbows are spawning, so that the chances at a monster are even higher.


  1. Jake, looks like a good first trip to the Taylor. Do I see a cornerstone creek net in some of those photos?

  2. Charlie, definitely an awesome time! Im thinking that I will be headed back down in the fall this year. And in response to your question, yes, I finally broke down and got an avalanche model. It really is a must for those bigger fish!

  3. awesome, the net looks great bud. Fall can be amazing on the taylor.

  4. Yeah, I am really impressed with the high quality of the net. I feel bad when it gets a small chip in it! Are the browns as big as the rainbows in spring? I have also heard that there are some good 'bows moving into the public stretch in order to feed heavily before winter.


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