Fishing report



Last Update: December 29, 2022

The Lower Gunnison River is an angler's paradise renowned for its world-class Gold Medal trout waters, expansive access, prolific hatches, and long fishing season. While it is still the continuation of the Gunnison River that comes out of the town of Gunnison, its landscape, availability, weather, and hatches are vastly different from that of the upper Gunnison River Basin near Almont, or Crested Butte, which sits at much higher elevations. The best access to public waters on the Lower Gunnison River includes Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with its East Portal Road (subject to seasonal closures), and Pleasure Park take-out at the confluence of the Gunnison River and the North Fork of the Gunnison. Float fishing in shallow drafting drift boats or fishing rafts throughout Spring, Summer, and Fall is the best way to cover river miles. However, excellent walk-wade opportunities are available year-round on lower elevation portions.

Happening Now
Late Winter and early spring conditions on the Lower Gunnison River is a magical window to time for both pre runoff conditions and warmer river temps below the dams where fish become more active after a long winter slumber. We are seeing large hatches of Midges and some BWO's mixed in on the sunny warmer days. Lower Gunnison River sections of Gunnison Gorge NCA and East Portal Road (check for road closures) within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are go to spring locations during run-off.

Recommended Fly Patterns
Massacre Midge (all colors) #18, Juju Beatis #20, Two Bit Hooker (all colors) #18, Micro Matcher Olive #22, Blowtorch #14 Black, Pats #10-8 Black/Coffee, Micro Flexi-Girdle Bug Brown #16, Keller's Matte Deamon Stone Black #16, Mole Fly Brown #20, I Iwan-e-Dun Para #22 BWO, Rainbow Perdigon #16

Discharge, cubic feet per second: 350 ft3/s



RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service Lower GUNNISON River Hatch Chart ©



From the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park’s East Portal to beyond Pleasure Park and the confluence of the Gunnison River and North Fork, there are well over 20 plus miles of fishable river on the Lower Gunnison. Still, the majority of access is often remote, challenging, and best accessed by experienced rafters or active hikers and walk-wade anglers ready for rugged trails. Make sure to visit the Bureau of Land Management agency websites for current trail conditions or read their extensive informational map.

*Note: as spring air temperatures begin to rise, our area rain showers intensify the potential for flash flooding, be sure to stay up to date on River Gauge Data, including gauges on the North Fork of the Gunnison River, as water turbidity may affect the quality of your fishing.  Dangerously slick dirt access roads can also be problematic with rains or early/late season snow melts, so pay attention to the forecast.

Fly Fishing Gear & Equipment for Lower Gunnison River:

  • 5 weight to 6 weight, 9’ to 10’6” fast action Fly Rods with weight forward floating fly lines are perfect for most casting situation on the Lower Gunnison River. A larger river, with plenty of open casting lanes for long dry fly drifts and deep nymphing, is a perfect scenario to propel faster action fly rods.
  • 5x to 2x leader & tippets will cover all situations on the Lower Gunnison River. Consider having both longer leaders lengths for presenting smaller dry flies, while shorter and heaver line and leaders are best for larger dry dropper rigs with better accuracy (especially from a boat) as well as quick streamer shots to the banks.
  • Core dry flies for match the hatch, large attractor dry flies, attractor jig nymphs for weight and plenty of stone flies and terrestrials are essential on the Lower Gunny. Visit the Fly Shop to experience our curated selection of guide approved quality fly patterns, ideal for specific hatches and time of year you are visiting.
  • Large to medium size poly yarn or bobber style indicators and a variety of split shot for deep pool and long drifts, plus dry fly flotant and dry shake for combating turbid waters slimy eats. *Don’t forget your net for proper catch and release fish handling.
  • Don’t forget backcountry essentials like a full coverage synthetic and quick drying SPF Sun Apparel (+ sun gloves and sun gaiters) in this hot high desert environment, a quality rain jacket, day pack, bug spray and plenty of packable food and water for a full day of exploration.
Thu - 03/23/23

Chance Snow Showers
Low: 18° F / High: 35° F
Fri - 03/24/23

Snow Showers
Low: 12° F / High: 34° F
Sat - 03/25/23

Slight Chance Snow Showers
Low: 12° F / High: 27° F
Sun - 03/26/23

Chance Snow Showers
Low: 12° F / High: 27° F
Mon - 03/27/23

Partly Sunny
Low: 11° F / High: 31° F