Friday, November 22, 2013

Almont Part 4...The Taylor River

It was day four and the trip was coming to an end. Before the day was up, it would be time to head home and say good bye to the Gunnison Valley for the year. Eventually all trips come to an end; however, the same desire that calls us to the river for hours on end and longing for one more cast at the end of the day was the same desire that caused us to long for one more day!

I found myself responsible for breakfast on our last day. I was up at 5:00am making my version of high altitude pancakes and I tried something new as a side. Not out of creativity; rather, out of the need to get rid of brats that we had not eaten during the trip. I split a bunch of beer soaked brats, fried them in a pan and they provided the protein to go with the pancakes. Gotta admit, I will be making them again on future trips.

After breakfast, we started packing and loading up. We were all excited to get on the river, and the excitement was obvious. We looked like an ant hill that had been kicked over by a big wading boot. When all was said and done, finished our final walk through, checked out, stopped by the fly shop, and we were heading for the Taylor River. The plan was to fish the Taylor River most of the day and then head home.

We took CO 135 from Almont to Jack’s Cabin Road. You might remember that we had to take Jack’s Cabin Road because Taylor Canyon Rd (CR 742) was closed to any vehicle or pedestrian travel as they completed road construction. Taylor Canyon Rd runs along the Taylor River and excites the senses. 

The morning sun was just peeking over the surrounding ridges. The fields and hill sides were lush and green. As we drove into the canyon that the Taylor River called home, the cool crisp morning air smelled of moist pines. The whistles of chickadees and the barks of the Stellar jays welcomed us to the Taylor.

We found two separate pull outs and geared up. 
Knowing that it was the last morning in the Gunnison Valley, I took extra time to gear up. I noticed that the air anywhere I plan on fly fishing is lighter, fresher, and electrifying for the soul more so than anywhere else I find myself. I filled my lungs, stretched, grabbed my St Croix admired the canyon walls as I walked to the river.

The river was flowing at approximately 280cfs, the water was clear and a balmy 60 degrees. Combined with the clear and sunny skies it promised to be another amazing day on the river.

I found a stretch that was a mix of steep and gentle grades, pocket water, pools, and some sections that not only had structure in the water but also afforded the trout overhead cover from over hanging quaking aspen trees.

I fish very slowly. I seldom move through water fast, even water that needs to be moved through fast. I worked the banks, and any water that looked fishy. This included any water that was darker than its surroundings and any water that had its current changed by a piece of structure regardless of how big or small.

I fished a hare’s ear, ABU, and a zebra midge, in that order. I attached one fly to the next from the bend of the hook with 8 inches of 5x tippet material. 

 I made short upstream casts and made sure to keep the entire leader off of the water. 

I hooked into my first Taylor River rainbow holding tight to the bottom of a deep hole covered by a large River Birch.

Based on the conversations on the radio, the fellas were having luck in the pockets of water they chose to fish. An occasional “raft hatch” would occur; however, the fish didn’t seem to mind. For the most part, we had the section of river we were fishing to our selves.

The remainder of the day was spent fishing any flat water, pools, protrusions from the bank, and any rocks breaking the flow of the river or creating current breaks below the surface.  

Make sure you fish all sides of the rocks. Don’t forget to let the nymph come up to the front of the rock before they break to one side or the other. The cushion of water in front of the rock will hold the nymphs in the cushion. The leader needs to be tight and more often than not, a trout will subtly take the nymph. Of course, you will have your share of snags so make sure you are ready to part with a few flies or can get to them to free them.

One more cast lead to one more cast which lead to one more cast before we finally headed home around 3:00pm. We took the beautiful drive up Taylor Canyon Rd, past Taylor Reservoir, to CR 209 up to the summit of Cottonwood Pass, a mere 12,126 feet in elevation. 

CR 209 winds up to Cottonwood Pass in the shadows of 14’ers such as Mt. Princeton, elevation 14,197 and Mt. Yale, elevation 14,194. It is nestled between North and South Sheep Mountain and gains elevation and switches back on itself until the summit is reached. The summit of Cottonwood Pass is breath taking.

When we hit the outskirts of Denver, the reality that the trip was over hit me. The end of a trip inevitably becomes a time to reflect on the trip and memories of time spent with friends; yet there are mixed feelings of satisfaction of a memorable trip yet the disappointment felt by the trip coming to an end. The overwhelming excitement was present to see the family; yet the desire and longing for the next trip already came to life. I found myself wondering if there was another place that we could fish one more time before we got home.

We made it back home without incident, and the excitement has already begun to building for Almont 2014!

Tips of the Trip…

Value every opportunity you get to spend time outdoors and enjoy the beauty that is fly fishing.

Slow down and appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and sensations created from standing in a river.

Share your experience, your time, and knowledge with others.

Value every moment spent with family and friends.

Take time to breath and connect with the spiritual aspect of being outdoors.

JT and I decided to fish Rocky Mountain National Park the next day and round out the week with a trip to the Poudre River. Little did we know it would be our last trip for a while because a flash flood was in the region’s future.

Ill share our days in the park and on the Poudre prior to the floods…Stop back by

Happy Nymphing!


  1. I am so impressed with this post because of the informative information, and the outstanding scenery you encounter. I wish the trout here had colorful markings like those you guys landed. What weight/length fly rod were you using? I assume you were dead drifting, because you didn’t mention an indicator. I may have missed that in the read. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hey Bill! Thank you for the comments! The fish and the area was amazing! I was using my 9ft 6wt St. Croix. I was using an indicator on some stretches and the cutthroat nymph leader on others. Thanks for stopping by! Tight lines!

  2. Nice post Al. It sure brought back a lot of good memories of cutting classes and fishing the Taylor so many years ago. I'm looking for your report on the Park.

    1. Hey Howard! I am glad I could bring back some memories for you! The Taylor is beautiful water to fish and well ya know the area!!! The Park and the Poudre were the last two days prior to the flood and it will be strange since it will be written post flood! Always a pleasure and thanks for the constant support buddy!

  3. I sure hope BDF didn't make a pig of himself and eat all the breakfast brats...

    1. HAHAHAHAHA Well ya know that didn't happen! Although he was the only one eating the veggie brats! Yes they make veggie brats! BDF was covered! Thanks for stopping by buddy!

  4. What a way to start the morning, reading this great post on a snowy morning with a nice cup of coffee. I like how you broke the trip down, great memories and tips for next year. And a quick note to all of those reading, Al truly puts on a clinic whenever we fish, he is modest in these posts, but he can really break down a pool that we have all raced by, and pull out some great trout!

    1. Thanks buddy! It was a great trip and ready for the next one. Hope the coffee was hot and had a lil something extra in it! I let you fellas chum the water for me! HAHAHAHA Always a pleasure BDF and ready to tie some flies!


Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully you found something that interested you. Leave a comment and I'll get back to ya. Happy Nymphing!