River Reports

Gunnison River at Pleasure Park

Begining at the confluence of the North Fork of the Gunnison there are two sections. The North Fork to Smith Fork which goes up into the NCA, and the lower section, the confluence down to Austin.

Flow 702cfs

Temperature 33.3°F

Wind 6 mph

Hi / Low 57/27

Powered by Dark Sky

Current Conditions

March 27, 2021

Spring Flows on the Gunnison River have arrived!

Pleasure Park -We are currently fishing baetis nymphs in the deep runs and riffles. Mayfly emergers, BWO Nymphs, and Midges are putting fish in the net. Fishing is starting to pick back up especially on these warmer spring days. Nymphing the deep long runs making sure your flies are getting close to the bottom will lead you to success. Starting to see some Dry Fly activity pick up with BWO Dries as well as Midge Hatches. 

The Gorge - Nymphing with mayfly nymphs has been productive. Leading with an Attractor pattern with smaller Midges below has been putting fish in the net. 

Lower Gunnison -  Do not be afraid of throwing smaller streamers right now either!  Nymphing the riffles and deep holes with small baetis patterns, caddis, and smaller red and purple midges have been productive.

Dirty Bird #16, Purple Rainbow Warrior #18, Flashback Pheasant Tail #18, Red Tungsten Zebra Midge #18, Purple Darth Baetis #20, Peanut Envy, Baby Swim Coach

River Information

The genesis of the famed Gunnison River is in Almont where the East and Taylor Rivers merge.  Lazily snaking through cottonwood-lined ranchland for 20 miles, the upper "Gunny" is dammed to form Blue Mesa Reservoir, the Centennial State's largest body of water.  After being dammed two more times forming Morrow Point and Crystal Reservoirs, the lower Gunnison River escapes Crystal Dam and carves through one of the most breathtaking and wild chasms on earth, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and its more mellow downstream neighbor the Gunnison Gorge, before slogging toward a rendezvous with the Colorado River in Grand Junction.

     The Gunny is a big fish river in the truest sense of the words, as the entire upper Gunnison and the lower Gunnison downstream to the Smith Fork meets Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s criteria for Gold Medal status.  Wild brown trout and a mix of wild and stocked rainbow trout, along with a few cutbows (mainly in the upper river), inhabit the Gunnison River.  While there are ample opportunities for a walk and wading angler throughout the entire length of the Gunnison, both the upper Gunnison and the Gunnison Gorge are tremendous float-fishing destinations with the Gunny Gorge easily rating as Colorado’s marquee fly float trip.  Ample public access, robust aquatic insect hatches, excellent numbers of trout, and big fish potential all make the Gunnison one of the Centennial State’s best fisheries and a must-visit destination for your fly fishing trip to western Colorado.

Seasonal Conditions

Spring

Spring

Quality spring fly fishing begins throughout the Gunnison River system in mid to late March and revolves around blue-winged olives and stoneflies. The warmest parts of the day generally provide the best angling. Overcast days with rain, sleet, or snow can produce strong BWO hatches and cause trout to rise with reckless abandon. Early spring is a great time to target large, unpressured, and aggressive pre-spawn rainbow trout.

Highlights

  • Two-Bit Hooker #18-20
  • Rubberlegs #6-10
  • Micro Stone Poxyback Dark #16
  • BWO Comparadun #16-20
  • Mayhem BWO Emerger #18-20
  • Barr's Emerger #18-22
Summer

Summer

Summertime ushers in the most magical 8-10 weeks of dry fly fishing on the Gunnison River. Caddisflies, various types of mayflies, and numerous species of stoneflies hatch throughout the river system. The upper Gunnison River’s most exciting event is the green drake hatch which occurs from late June to mid-July above Blue Mesa. The Gunnison Gorge and Black Canyon experience a biblical salmonfly emergence beginning in late May or early June at Pleasure Park before proceeding upriver over the next few weeks. Golden stones hatch right on the heels of the salmonflies.

Highlights

  • Frenchie #16-20
  • Rubberlegs #6-10
  • Two Bit Hooker #16-18
  • Elk Hair Caddis #14-18
  • Flush Floater Salmonfly #6
  • Chubby Chernobyl #8-14
Autumn

Autumn

Autumn offers Gunnison River fly anglers an embarrassment of riches. On the upper Gunny the largest kokanee salmon run in North America takes place, creating an opportunity not only to catch koks but also huge browns and ‘bows dogging pods of salmon to Roaring Judy Hatchery. On the lower Gunnison, grasshoppers offer trout big bites of protein and later in the season BWOs fire off again, sometimes in spectacular numbers. And throughout the Gunny, big colorful brown trout become more active in preparation for their spawn.

Highlights

  • Morrish Hoppers #8-12
  • Chernobyl Ant #10-12
  • Chubby Chernobyl #8-14
  • Autumn Splendor #4
  • Baby Gonga #8
  • Mini Sex Dungeon #6
Winter

Winter

During most “normal” winters the upper Gunnison River has little open water and begins to ice-up by December 1st. And although East Portal Road closes with the first November snows and the roads giving access to the trails descending into the Gunnison Gorge become wet and impassable, Smith Fork Trail does offer anglers excellent wintertime angling throughout the lower 4 miles of the Gunnison Gorge. Another option to satisfy your late season fly fishing fix on the Gunny is the Pine Creek tailwater area below Blue Mesa Dam.

Highlights

  • Neon Nightmare Midge #20-22
  • Top Secret Midge #18-22
  • Demon Midge #20-22
  • Span Juan Worm #16
  • Egg #14
  • Two Bit Hooker #18-20