Fishing Season: April through October

Upper Gunnison River - CO

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Temperature 8°


Water Temp:


Willowfly Anglers's Tip of the Week

The Gunnison River from Almont to Blue Mesa Reservoir is now at winter flows of under 300 cfs. The majority of the river is now iced over and practically un-fishable.

Directions open in app

Map of Upper Gunnison River

Water Flow Data

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Willowfly Anglers
RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service

5-Day Outlook as of 2/13/24

Winter is upon us! Snow is in the forecast and the lakes are iced over.

Techniques & Tips as of 2/13/24


Local Species Available April through October

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Willowfly Anglers's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Quasimodo Pheasant Tail Natural 16
RS2 Grey 20
Hot Head Euro Pheasant Tail Natural 16
Flashback Baetis Nymph Olive 18
Mercury RS2 Grey 20
Pat's Rubberlegs Brown 12
Vernille San Juan Worm Pink 14
Tunghead Pheasant Tail Jig Natural 16
Egan's Frenchie Natural 14-18
Two Bit Hooker Red 14-18

Quasimodo Pheasant Tail

This little dropper has all the bells and whistles of the best nymph flies.

Willowfly Anglers's Recommended Gear

Description: About Upper Gunnison River

The Gunnison River begins at Almont, Colorado, where the Taylor River and East River merge to form its headwaters. The river grows in size as it flows down through the Gunnison Valley and into Blue Mesa Reservoir. This is the first of several dams as the Gunnison continues its flow through the Black Canyon and eventually into the Colorado River. Our section of the Gunnison River, the upper Gunnison, is from the headwaters in Almont to Blue Mesa Reservoir. The East River is a freestone river which drains out of Emerald Lake, which is located at 10,500 feet in the Rockies near Crested Butte. So the upper Gunnison is impacted by both snow-melt and the controlled releases from Taylor Reservoir. The Gunnison is best fished from a boat in the early season during high water. There are also plenty of public access points for wading the river during summer and fall. The Gunnison River contains a very high density of trout, including browns, rainbows, and cutthroat. There are long riffles and runs, and deep pools which hold large trout. There are good hatches of stoneflies, caddis, and mayflies during the season. The peak season is from mid June to late September, and fall fishing can be spectacular on the Gunnison. The fall kokanee salmon run brings hard-fighting kokanee salmon up the Gunnison River from Blue Mesa as they run to the Roaring Judy fish hatchery on the East River. There is a catch-and-release season for kokanee from August 1 to October 31. Big trout will follow the salmon up to feed on their eggs. A 9-foot 5-weight fly rod is a good all purpose choice for the Gunnison River. A 6-weight rod can also be used for heavier nymph rigs and/or for streamers.

Nearest Airport:

Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport


Baetis, Midges.

Best Time to Fish:

11am - 4pm

Best Stretch:

Almont to Blue Mesa.

Best Access:

Curecanti Recreation Area