Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Taylor River In
The hot spot on the Taylor River, shown in the photos,
is the small tailwater section of the stream. It has some
huge trout. The trout become big from feeding on
mysis shrimp that come through the dam from the
Taylor Reservoir above. Fly fishing the Taylor River is
always exciting because of the size of the trout you're
subject to catch.
The Taylor River flows from the base of the dam
through the Taylor Canyon. It joins the East River
some twenty miles downstream to form the Gunnison
River. Most of the anglers fish the "catch and release"
section just below the dam. The other part of the
tailwater has some public access as well as private
property. It has fast pocket water throughout its steep
gradient consisting of deep pools and fast runs. The
trout average from about ten to fourteen inches. Don't
forget the Kokanee Salmon run that occurs during late
August and September.
You can also fish the Taylor River above the
Reservoir. It is a small high elevation meadow stream.
This alpine stream is a delight to fish and full of small
trout. The fish are exactly opposite of those in the
tailwater section. They are not picky.
The lower section of the tailwater is very fast, pocket
water. Plunges are frequent due to the steep gradient
of the river in this part of the Taylor. This section is
only lightly fished which is surprising because it has
some nice trout.
Most anglers choose to fish the tailwater. The catch
and release area that is just under a half mile long.
This section can become crowded with anglers trying
to catch one of its huge trout.
Wading the catch and release section of the stream is
not recommended. The river is narrow and can be
reached with reasonable length cast just about
anywhere from along its banks. The stream has a very
uneven bottom with steep drop offs and deep holes. It
an be dangerous to wade in places. Access can be
found along highway #306 that follows most of the river.
Although you may enjoy fishing for the huge trout just
below the dam in the catch and release section, don't
forget the other nineteen miles of water. Trout are
plentiful throughout the streams length. You should
fish the river the same way as you would most any
other fast pocket water. Normally, upstream
presentations made using a lot of short cast works
best. Concentrate on placing your fly on the edges of
the current or the current seams and you should do
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 & 12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Superb Five or Ultimate Six
For 5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The Taylor River tailwater can be fished
You can catch trout during the winter but the
roads to the stream can be treacherous.
Fly fishing the Taylor River during the Spring
is great except that flows can be heavy during
Fly Fishing Guide to the Taylor River:
The trout in the catch and release section of
the tailwater can be difficult to fool due to the
constant pressure. The reservoir was stocked
with mysis shrimp to feed the trout but they
manage to get through the bottom release
tube into the tailwater section. The trout in
the section just below the dam have grown to
enormous sizes feeding on the shrimp. These
trout are fished for almost every day of the
year. In fact they are so used to seeing
anglers they won't flee from their sight.
The trout just below the dam are usually
fished to using nymphs and imitations of the
mysis shrimp. Most of the trout are taken on a
reaction type strike whereas the fly is almost
placed in the trout's mouth. Although these
trout have been cast at hundreds of times,
they can occasionally be caught by someone
that is persistent.
There are basically two ways to fish for the
large trout in the catch and release section.
One is to blind fish using a strike indicator.
Most anglers fish an imitation of the mysis
shrimp below a small indicator. Concentrate
on the deeper holes below short runs and
riffles. Trout also hide beneath the undercut
banks in some places.
The other method is to fish to individual
trout. You shouldn't have much trouble
finding plenty of large trout if you use your
polarized sunglasses and watch the water
carefully. When you spot a trout, try to get
a small nymph or mysis shrimp fly right in
front of the mouth of the fish. You have to
be careful not to line the trout.
Long, light leaders and tippets are
preferred even though the trout are large.
You must get the fly at the right level and
you must be able to detect the strike. Most
anglers actually see the fish's white mouth
open when it takes the fly. If you are using
an indicator, be aware that the takes are
usually light and difficult to detect. The
trout tend to just sip the small flies in. If
you are persistent and accurate enough,
you will stand a decent opportunity to
catch some large trout.
As you will notice when reading our
hatches section on this stream, there are
a few hatches that occur during the year.
When there is a hatch taking place it pays
to match it because the trout usually focus
on the hatch and in some cases become
selective on the particular insect hatching.
Taylor River Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods at
the particular time you are fishing. Unlike the
generic fly shop trout flies, we have specific
imitations of all the insects in the Taylor River
and in all stages of life that are applicable to
fishing. If you want to fish better, more
realistic trout flies, have a much higher
degree of success, give us a call. We not
only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
There are not a lot of hatches on the Taylor
River Tailwater but the hatches that do occur
usually bring some great dry fly action.
The first aquatic insects to hatch are the
Blue-winged Olives which first appear in April
for about a month. These insects are
bi-brooded and hatch again from about the
second week of August until near the first of
The Western Green Drakes are considered
the most important mayflies to hatch by most
anglers. They start around the first of July
and can hatch on into the first week or two of
The Pale Morning Duns, or PMDs, start
hatching a week or two after the large Green
Drakes and also hatch on into the first or
second week of August. They can provide
some excellent dry fly action.
The Golden Stoneflies are considered an
important hatch. They start hatching about
the middle of May. The hatch can last
through the month of June, depending on the
Various species of caddisflies are also
found on the Taylor River tailwater. The
most abundant species are Spotted
Sedges. They can hatch from the first of
June on into the month of August. The
Green Sedges are also plentiful. The
Rock Worm, or imitation of the Green
Sedge larva, produces the best results.
There are other species of caddisflies but
these are the most important
ones.Streamers are considered very
important flies to have on the Taylor
River. Imitations of sculpin and various
baitfish are used. Streamers tend to work
best when the water is slightly high and
has some color to it. The water is normally
crystal clear, but when it does become
stained, the streamer can be effective.
Don't forget the terrestrial insects. From
about the middle of June until near the
end of September, trout can be taken on
imitations of grasshoppers, ants and
The most popular flies used on the Taylor
River imitate the mysis shrimp. That is
what the trout feed on just below the dam
that makes them attain their huge size.
If you haven't done so already, we ask
you to give our "Perfect Flies" a try. They
are the most realistic imitations of aquatic
and terrestrial insects you can buy and
they are also the most effective flies for
catching selective trout. We hope you
give them a try. Hatch Chart.
Green Drakes hatch during the summer
and provide great fishing but it tends to
Late August and September, Kokanee
Salmon move up into the river. This is a
great time to fish because the crowds are
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|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The tailwater is in good
shape with low discharges and
stream levels. The water is getting
cold on the middle and lower ends
of the river but still near forty the
first mile or two below the dam.
Midges, creams and reds, are
hatching. Fish the pupa and larva
imitations in tandem with the larva
the bottom fly. Winter stoneflies are
also hatching. Be sure to check out
the Taylor River fishing report
linked above for the latest.
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
descriptions of the
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
flies, fly fishing gear
USGS stream data,
much, much more
Map of Taylor River
10/16/15 The Taylor is in great shape right now and anglers are catching lots of trout
including some big ones. Kokanee Salmon are also being caught in good numbers. There is
a lot of rain in the forecast, so watch the discharges and stream levels. If you enjoy seeing
and catching big trout, Taylor should be your next destination. Midges are often key.
10/23/15 The brown trout are in the pre-spawn mode and very aggressive and territorial.
They will take streamers like our Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin very well. Blue-
winged olives have started hatching with the cooler weather. October caddis are at the peak
of their hatch with the trout taking the egg laying females from the surface.
10/30/15 Some huge brown trout are eagerly awaiting for a baitfish to get anywhere near
them. They are getting ready to spawn and mean as a fish can get. Streamers like our Brown
Sculpin fly will food them. Blue-winged olives are hatching good in cast you want to catch a
bunch. Stream levels are fine and so is the weather. It doesn't get any better.
11/06/15 Conditions are excellent. Stream levels are fine and should remain that way most of
the coming week. The weather is colder but that has little effort on the water temperature
coming from the dam and little effect on the trout. Of course, the farther you fish
downstream, the colder the water may get. Blue-winged olives and Midges are the most
important insects to imitate.
11/13/15 Good conditions exist on the little river with the big trout. It is a great time to hang a
huge brown trout. The Brown Sculpin Streamer will do it for you. Hatches are down to mostly
midges and Blue-winged olives, but you can expect some to occur, especially on cloudy,
11/27/15 It is colder in Taylor River country but the discharged water from the dam is about
the same temperature all winter long. Fish within a few miles of the dam for the best results.
Midges will be the most important insect to imitate. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem, with
the larva the bottom fly. The Brown sculpin streamer has been catching some big brown trout
for our customers.
12/04/15 The Taylor River tailwater is in very good shape. It is one of the best late fall and
wintertime fly fishing destinations the state of Colorado has to offer. Stream levels are very
good and the water about 41 degrees near the discharge from the dam throughout the
winter. Fish the upper part of the river for the best results. Midges are the main aquatic
insect you should be imitation.
12/11/15 The Taylor River is in good shape with good stream levels and discharges that stay
an almost constant level. You will be fishing warmer water the closer you are to the dam. We
recommend the upper half of the river. Notice we added Winter Stoneflies to the list. They
have started hatching. Midges is still the most important aquatic insect to imitate.
12/17/15 The Taylor River won't look much different than the pictures above but there may
be a little more snow. The water will be fine, thanks to the warm tailwater but the air is going
to be cold. Dress right and you can catch some trout and maybe a whopper. You won't have
much competition. You may need a four wheel drive vehicle.
01/01/16 The Taylor is as good of a stream as you can select in the state of Colorado at this
time of the season. Most of the freestones are getting too cold to fish good. The Taylor puts
out water about the same temperature all winter long. Midges and Winter stonefly nymphs
are the flies you should be using at this time.
01/08/16 The snow is ending tomorrow. It will be clear for the next four days. This is as good
of a destination as you can find in the state at this time. The water is 39 degrees near the
dam and winter stoneflies and midges by the mega digits are hatching. Red and cream
midges, larva and pupa fished in tandem, is the way to go.
01/15/16 There's a strange weather report or flash flood warning for the next five days.
There is also snow in the forecast for the next five days. This should have little to no effect
on the fly fishing opportunities below the dam. Fish within two or three miles of the dam for
the warmest water using midges and winter stonefly nymphs..
01/22/16 The Taylor tailwater is in good shape. The snow is letting up this week and this
should be a good destination. There is a chance of snow one day, otherwise clear. Midges,
both cream and red or blood midges, are prime insects to imitate. Winter stoneflies are also
hatching. Fish near the dam for the warmest water.
01/29/16 There are winter storm warnings, so make sure you can get there and back. A four
wheel drive will be needed. There's a chance of snow every day for the next week. Fish
within a couple miles of the dam. Red and Cream midges and Winter stonefly nymphs are the
best flies to use. The Brown Sculpin streamer will give you a shot at a large trout.
02/05/16 For the first time in a long time, the weather will be clear for a week. It will be cold,
of course, but that has little effect on the water temperature except downstream three or so
miles. It comes from the dam at 39 degrees and that is warm enough to catch trout. Midges is
still king, but little Winter stonelies are also hatching.
02/13/16 The roads will be clear of snow and easy to get to this good wintertime fly fishing
destination. The bottom discharge comes from the lake at about 38 degrees and is the best
location on the river to fish. The water downstream over a couple of miles begins to get in the
mid thirties or less. Midges and winter stoneflies are the insect to imitate.
02/19/16 This is going to be a very good week to fish the Taylor River. As mentioned in the
report linked above, sight fishing will be a good option. The discharges are very low and the
water clear. Midges are the main insects hatching. If you sight fish, use a small BWO
nymphs, size 18 or 20 and keep a low profile.
02/26/16 The Taylor River is just about always in good shape during the winter months. Not
only can you catch plenty of trout when the air temperature is very, very low, you can catch
some big ones. The roads are clear and the discharges, as just about always, are in good
shape. Midges, Winter stoneflies and little BWO nymphs are the insects to imitate.
03/04/16 The warmer than normal weather is going to continue through the weekend. It has
almost no effect on the tailwater but it does on those fishing and traveling to and from the
stream. The middle and lower sections of the river are stained when it is warm but the upper
section is clear. Midges are still king and most of them are creams but there are some red or
03/11/16 The Taylor is in good shape with low discharges and good wading levels. Some
trout are being caught sight casting. Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching good. We
are recommending fishing the upper third of the tailwater. Melting snow is staining the water
in the and helping to keep it cold. Fishing near the dam is good right now.
03/18/16 The upper river is very clear and sight casting to some big trout is possible and
successful for some customers lately. The middle and lower end is stained due to melting
snow. This will go on through April and into May. Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching
good. Sculpin streamers are also working good.
03/25/16 This little tailwater is a great destination in the early Spring. You can often sight
cast to fish, if the discharges are low and they usually are. The water remains about the
same temperature within a few hundred yards of the dam year-round. Midges and little BWO
nymphs are still the best fly option. Use sculpin streamers when the light conditions are low.
04/01/16 The discharges have been very low recently and that makes it easy to wade about
anywhere you want to. It means you need to use a little more stealth to keep from spooking
the trout. Midges and Blue-winged olives continue to be the main aquatic insects you need to
imitate. Sight fishing is also possible in some places.
04/08/15 The stream level is up just a little but that is just fine. The melting snow is holding
the water temperature down from what it would be otherwise, but still getting a little warmer
on the middle and low ends. The Blue-winged olive hatch continues to be very good. March
Browns have started to hatch. There is a lot of rain but it will have little effect on the river until
04/15/16 It is back to midges and more midges. The water is going to get a little colder
downstream very far. It will come from the dam at the same temperature it has been. Big trout
will be waiting you tiny size 22 midge but make sure you have a four wheel drive vehicle. I'm
sure you know it is going to snow. You can catch trout, so get off the couch and go.
04/22/16 The discharges and stream levels are in good shape and the weather should warm
up just a little with less rain and snow. The middle and lower end of the river should start
having little Black Caddis and March Brown mayfly hatches. The entire river has Blue-winged
olive and midge hatches and will be good ones on the cloudy days expected this next week.
94/29/16 It is rare you don't have a good opportunity to catch trout on the Taylor River.
Often, getting there is more of a problem than catching trout. There is five more days of
snow in the forecast this coming week. We received two good reports from anglers this past
week. The discharges have been low and March Browns and Blue-winged olives have been
05/13/16 The river is in good shape with low discharges and good levels at this time. Of
course, this can always change but for now, it is in great shape with good wading levels and
lots of hatches taking place. The forecast for the coming week looks good and this is
probably as good of a destination as exist in the state..
05/20/16 The Taylor is a little high but very fishable. There are a lot of insects hatching
including some Golden Stoneflies on the lower and middle sections. The discharges may be
high at times due to the spring runoff filling the lake, so make sure you check the discharges
and levels. That written, this is one of the best locations to fish during this time of the season.
05/27/16 The discharges are running high right now. The lake level has to be lowered often
during runoff. None of the stream is really safe to wade but you can fish it from the banks in
most places. The insects continue to hatch good and the levels will be up and down
depending on the discharge levels.
06/03/16 The Taylor is currently running very high. The headwaters of the river is in the full
runoff mode and the lake has to maintain a capacity to hold the water. That means the
discharges are going to be high often during the coming week. You can fish the river from
the banks when it is high.
06/10/16 Yes, the discharges and stream levels are high from the runoff. They have to keep
the lake level down to hold all the water from the watershed. Right now, it is one of the few
places in the state where you have much fly fishing opportunity. You can fish the river from
the banks and right now, even wade a few places safely.
06/17/16 The river is in good shape but still high, too high to safely wade in most sections.
You will just have to watch the flows and levels but it should be getting better. We think the
majority of the runoff is over and it won't be long before things are back to normal. Lots of
insects are hatching and the river is narrow enough you can fish most flies from the banks.
06/24/16 On the average, the discharges seem to be much better and that means lower. The
lake is getting back near its normal summer level. Some anglers are catching good numbers
of trout and some not doing so well. That is normal, and greatly depends on the strategies
being used. It should be in very good shape withing the next week.
07/01/16 The conditions are good, with stream levels just a little on the high side but wadable
in most sections. There are a lot of insects hatching, including Pale Morning duns, Green
drakes, little yellow stones, Golden stones and three species of caddisflies. Our customers
reported some good catches numbers and size wise this past week. The coming week should
be good as well.
07/08/16 The Taylor is in very good shape in all sections with anglers able to wade safely in
the place you normally can wade. Thre are multiple hatches taking place. The best time to
fish the tailwater is the last three hours of the day. You have caddis and little Yellow
stoneflies laying eggs and good spinner falls as well.
07/15/16 Few people are fishing the Taylor right now, I guess because all the freestone
streams nearby are in good shape. The ones that are, are catching a lot of trout. There are
a lot of insects hatching. The best time to fish it is the last two to three hours of the day. The
egg laying caddis and little yellow stoneflies, and the PMD spinner falls will bring a lot of trout
up to the surface to feed.
07/22/16 The river is in very good shape and anglers are catching lots of trout. The Pale
Morning duns are hatching in large numbers and bringing a lot of trout to the surface.
Afternoon egg laying of the caddis and little Yellow stoneflies is allowing anglers to catch
plenty of trout late in the day.
07/29/16 The Taylor is in good shape and being ignored by most anglers preferring to fish
the Gunnison. There's nothing wrong with that, but don't think the fishing opportunity is slow
in the Taylor. There are still plenty of hatching insects and the few anglers fishing it are
catching plenty of trout. Conditions are about as good as they get during July.
08/04/16 The weather is turning cooler and there is a lot of rain in the forecast with flood
warnings out. This won't immediately affect the levels but could later on. The cooler weather
will make it nicer on the anglers fishing. There are still a lot of insects hatching and
terrestrials are beginning to work good.
08/12/16 We don't have any reports as of yet of Kokanee Salmon moving up the river but it
is time for them to begin the migration. We are getting calls every few hours about it. Trout
fishing is still going great for our customers. The water is cool and remaining at good levels
and there are still plenty of hatches taking place. Now is a great time to be fishing the Taylor
and few anglers are.
08/19/16 The conditions continue to be very good for the later part of the month of August.
You should begin to see the Kokanee salmon on the move soon. We received a great report
this past week from a customer fishing early and then very late in the day. Terrestrials are
working good. Late in the day caddisfly egg laying activity is bringing a lot of trout to the
surface to feed.
08/26/16 The stream levels are running just a little low but of course, it is cool tailwater.
There are a lot of caddisflies hatching, including little Sister caddis, Green sedges, and
Spotted sedges. There are still some little Yellow stoneflies hatching. Tricos are hatching on
the lower section of the river. There are a few Flavs, or Small western green drakes.
09/02/16 The Kokanee Salmon have been spotted moving upstream in the Taylor. We
haven't received any report of catches. Trout fishing has been excellent for this time of the
season. Our customers are catching some large ones on Sculpin streamers in the mornings.
Late in the afternoon they are catching goo numbers of trout during the egg laying caddis
09/09/16 The river remains in good shape with low discharges and good stream levels. The
weather is turning much cooler and Blue-winged olives are beginning to hatch good.
Terrestrial imitations of ants, beetles and hoppers is also working. Kokanee Salmon are in
the river in good numbers and being caught by those anglers pursuing them. .
09/16/16 Conditions continue to be very good. Too many think of the Taylor as a wintertime
destination and it is, but is fishes good all year round. There are few anglers fishing and lots
of trout being caught. Several hatches are taking place. The cooler tailwaters help continue
hatches when the freestones drop out of the picture.
09/25/16 Conditions remain about the same, with good numbers of trout being caught and by
a relatively few fishing the river. All sections down to the Gunnison are in good shape,
including the fast water canyon water. Salmon are in the stream as well as trout. Mahogany
duns and October Caddis have started to hatch.
09/30/16 The river is in very good shape and yes, Salmon are still being caught. The trout
fishing is very good and few anglers are fishing. There are some good Blue-winged olive
hatches along with Mahogany duns, and October Caddis. It is about as good as it gets in the
early fall season. The weather forecast looks good for another week. The stream levels are
running at a normal level.
10/07/16 The river is running a little low, but otherwise in good shape. You will have to stay
low, dressed like the background and hidden from the trout. Anglers are catching salmon as
well. By the way, the Brown sculpin will get the pre-spawn trout. Some nice ones are being
caught. Be careful and don't wade though any redds. Blue-winged olives are the best hatch
10/14/16 It is an excellent time to fish this little tailwater. The stream levels and discharges
are low and you can wade most areas of the river safely. There are a lot of big Brown trout
being caught by our customers. They are using the Brown Sculpin and Olive Matuka sculpin
for those. There's a lot of hatches going on as well. The forecast is good for the next week.
11/04/16 The okanee salmon are spawning and trout are eating their eggs. Blue-winged
olives and cream and red midges are hatching. Big trout are eating Sculpin streamers like
our Brown and White Belly sculpin. The weather forecast for the next week looks good. The
discharges and stream levels are low. The conditions are as good as they get at this time of
11/11/16 Great conditions continue to exist. Great weather, good discharges and stream
levels are making it easy to wade. Big brown trout are post-spawn fish and hungry. Blue-
winged olives and Western Ginger Quills are hatching. Cream midges are covering the water
at times. It doesn't get much better than this at this time of the season.
11/18/16 The nights have been a little chilly but that affects the water in the Taylor very little.
I do suggest you don't get in any rush to fish the early mornings. Blue-winged olives and
mIdges will continue to hatch good. Sculpin streamers should continue to catch some of the
larger trout. We had more good reports from customers fishing this past week.
11/25/16 The river is in good shape as usual. The discharges and stream levels are low. The
water stays at an almost constant temperature coming from the bottom discharge. The
further downstream you fish, the colder it gets. Blue-winged olives and midges are hatching
and the clould cover coming this weekend should make it even better. The larger trout are
being caught on streamers.
12/02/16 The river continues to be in good shape with low stream levels thanks to low
discharges from the dam. There are Blue-winged olives and Midges hatching as well as
Black Flies and Winter stoneflies. The best location to fish would be the uppermost part near
the dam. The water is warmer there.