Float Fishing the Gunnison Gorge – Best Fishing Trip in Colorado

Float Fishing the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area – A unique opportunity for every angler

Float Fishing the Gunnison Gorge NCA  is an experience you will never forget that will keep you dreaming of the day you will return. It is considered one of the best fishing trips in Colorado and one of the 50 places to fish before you die by Chris Santella. I tell people who have never experienced the Gunnison Gorge that fishing is only half of the trip.  It is the beauty of the Black Canyon, the wildlife you encounter, the amazing food, and, of course, the world class fishing.

What to expect from a Three Day Float Fishing Trip through the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area with RIGS: the day starts early at our shop around six a.m. with a beautiful morning drive to the trail head of Chukar Trail.  The mile long hike may sound like a lot, but it happens fast with the anticipation of the days to come.  When we hit the beach, the rafts are all rigged and ready to go.  (RIGS sends one of the guides for your trip in the day before you arrive to set every thing up, so that you are NOT waiting around for hours while your guides get all the gear ready for your trip.)  We will rig rods, give a safety talk and be on our way.


RIGS exclusive Three Day Deluxe Trip goes a step beyond service, with our Deluxe Format Trip. We never have our clients sitting on top of a pile of gear in the back of the boat, we provide you with comfortable seats.  We also provide you with comfortable cots to sleep on– far better than a sleeping pad on the ground.  At no additional cost, sleeping bags/pads, waders/boot and rods/reels will be provided upon request. Experience a whole new level of service and comfort – the Deluxe Trip has six clients to four guides, with a separate dedicated gear boat.  The Deluxe format includes all rental gear, flies and leader/tippet as are part of your trip.  Most importantly, with a dedicated gear boat, everything, whether lunch or dinner, is set up and ready when you arrive. No waiting, just fishing, eating and enjoying your time. The Deluxe allows you to take advantage of  some one-on-one guide time and get the most out of this amazing river. When you are ready for lunch, lunch is waiting; with tables, chairs, and cold refreshments.  The same thing happens with camp for the night.  Our gear boat guide will breakdown lunch (while you are fishing) and head down river to set up camp.  That means you can stay out during the prime fishing time with your guide. As we hit the beach at camp, be ready to enjoy an appetizer, drink and settle into your already set up tent and cot .  As the second course arrives, sit back, enjoy the twilight of the inner gorge and the company of great friends.  The Deluxe trip, in short, allows you more time on the water, less people, and phenomenal cuisine, in an all inclusive experience.


People always ask what is the best time of year to go on a fishing trip through the Gunnison Gorge.  Though the stone fly hatch is the most popular, there are many other hatches that occur in the gorge worth experiencing. From May through September, fishing the Gunnison Gorge is a world class.  In May you have all of the Stone Fly nymphs staged on the banks.  The water is a bit higher and the water is off-color, but fishing with stone fly nymphs and worms is out of this world. Making short casts to the bank this time of year is a ton of fun.  June is the Stone Fly Hatch.  If you hit the hatch you will have some unbelievable dry fly fishing.  You are throwing bugs that are the size of a small bird.  By July and August you can expect to start throwing Hoppers/Dropper rig. Hopper fishing can be just as good as the Salmon Fly Hatch. But never count out throwing a nymph rig for success.  September and October can be a mixed bag of Hopper/Dropper rigs, nymphing with small Beatis patterns, and BWO dry flies and streamers.  Another question I get asked often is, “Are we on the boat all day?”  The answer to the question is no– you and your guide are out of the boat plenty.  Every guide has their spots they like to fish; some are better fished from the bank, while others are best fished from the boat. Of course, water flows play into this as well.   Here are a few quotes from clients this past year.

Gunni Gorge 2015

  •  “I just got back from a great float trip on the Gunnison River with my friends at RIGS Fly Shop. Tim, Matt, and Kelly bust their butts to put you into fish, keep you safe, and feed you well! It was definitely a bucket list experience. I will be back! RIGS is the best!”~ Barry Willett
  • “Great 3 days with my boys. Thanks for all the hard work to make it happen.”~Mark Miller
  • “What a blast, and what a quality group of guys you have.  Will (my 13 year old) and I wound up with Kelly for all three days, and I really can’t say enough about how wonderful of a match he was with us.  Patient, persistent, and able to go with the flow of a 13 year old.  Will trusted him almost immediately, which is big. I enjoyed fishing and hanging out with him, and didn’t get tired of him– also huge.

    Ian was one of the nicest, more interesting, hardworking, service focused guys I’ve met on a fishing trip. Matt deserves special kudos for keeping an eye on things running smoothly.  Your guides were as professional as any I’ve fished with– top of the heap, no kidding.  And between running donor trips for Trout Unlimited and 20 years of fishing, I’m a pretty decent judge of guides.

    I was uncharacteristically a pain in the ass with forgetting rods and wading shoes, but that didn’t put a dent in the trip.  You have a great outfitting service, great work and service, fun ethic, and a great eye for good people.  Thanks a ton, sincerely.” ~ Bill

Look us up on Trip Advisor and find out what people have been saying about us. RIGS Fly Shop is currently booking Three Day Float Fishing Trips through the Gunnison Gorge for the 2016 season.  They do fill up fast!  If you have any questions give us a call at (970)626-4460.  RIGS also offers one day Drift Boat and Walk Wade trips on the Gunnison River year round.

Tight Lines ~ Matt McCannel (Shop Manager & Guide)