Fish the Gunnison River Basin

JMorgan fishing

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The Gunnison River at 164 miles in length is the fifth largest tributary in the Colorado River system. Formed at the confluence of the East and Taylor Rivers in Gunnison County, this River provides multiple opportunities for fishing. The main tributaries of the Gunnison are the East, Taylor, and Lake Fork of the Gunnison. The Gunnison River valley hold the state record for Rainbow, Brown, and Lake Trout, as well as the largest Kokanee Salmon ever taken in Colorado.

Fishing the Gunnison is a challenge, as the upper river is bordered by private property, with float fishing providing angler access. There are two Gold Medal stretches, the first being just below the Taylor Park Reservoir dam, and secondly from the area below Crystal Reservoir to the confluence with the North Fork in Delta County.

Ice on the Lake Fork, Blue Mesa Reservoir

The fall spawn for Kokanee Salmon is the largest in the United States. The Kokanee spawn in the Blue Mesa Reservoir, and travel up stream to Almont, and into the East River to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery.

Ice fishing on Blue Mesa Reservoir is normally safe from the end of December into April. Taylor Park Reservoir follows the next month. All shelters must be portable and removed each day. The maximum hole size is 10 inches. Vehicles on the frozen surface of Blue Mesa may not exceed 1,200 pounds.

Fishing is prohibited downstream from Blue Mesa Dam for 225 yards. At Morrow Point Dam there is no fishing for the first 130 yards. At the Crystal Dam, fishing is prohibited for the first 200 yards.

Upper Gunnison CWP Fish Survey
 


 
Fishing information for the Lake Fork is by separate post.

Gunnison River (Almont)- elevation 8,022 feet

Additional Information: from the confluence of the Taylor and East Rivers downstream to the US 50 Bridge.
-Fishing is with flies and lures only.
-Bag and possession limit: for Brown Trout is 2 fish, with a minium size of 16 inches.
-All Rainbow Trout must be returned to the water upon catching.
-The taking of Kokanee Salmon is prohibited from August 1 through October 31.
-The snagging of Kokanee Salmon is permitted from November 1 through December 31.

 
Blue Mesa- elevation 7,523 feet
Fish: Yellow Perch, Kokanee Salmon, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Motor Boats
Additional Info:
-There is no bag or posession limit for Lake Trout.
-No more than one Lake Trout greater than 32 inches in length can be taken per day.
-The bog limit for Kokanee Salmon is 5 fish.
Snagging for Kokanee Salmon is permitted from November 1 through December 31.
-The posession limit for Kokanee Salmon is 10 fish.

 
Beaver Creek- elevation 7,770 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Cutbow Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
Soap Creek- elevation 7,728 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
Curecanti Creek- elevation 9,583 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Difficult
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Morrow Point Reservoir- elevation 7,165 feet
Fish: Kokanee Salmon, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Difficult
Boating: Motor Boats
Additional Info: access to Morrow Point Reservoir is through the Pine Creek Trail Head (Hwy 50) north side, west of Hwy 92 junction. There are 225+ steps down into the canyon at the base of Blue Mesa Dam. With a small boat, camping and fishing gear, one can float down into the Reservoir. There are back country camp campsites with boating access. Blue Mesa Fishing offers a guide service for the Reservoir, and the NPS offers seasonal boat tours.
 
Gunnison River (Crystal Reservoir)- elevation 6,756 feet
Fish: Kokanee Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Difficult
Boating: na
Additional Info: this stretch of the River is from the Crystal Reservoir dam downstream for 200 yards.
-Fishing is with flies and lures only.
-All Rainbow Trout must be returned to the water upon catch.
-This is Gold Medal Water.
-Snagging of Kokanee Salmon is permitted from September 1 through December 31.

 
Gunnison River- elevation 5,058 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: Non-Motorized
Additional Info: From 5 miles above Austin (Relief Ditch Diversion) downstream to the confluence with the Colorado River in Grand Junction.
-No bag or possession limit for Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Green Sunfish, Bluegill, Bullhead, Yellow Perch, or Crappie.

Taylor River Tributary:

 
Texas Creek- elevation 9,683 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Tincup Pond- elevation 10,146 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
Mirror Lake- elevation 10,968 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Non-motorized
 
Lower Pothole Lake- elevation 9,743 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
Upper Pothole Lake- elevation 9,791 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Taylor Park Reservoir- elevation 9,335 feet
Fish: Northern Pike, Kokanee Salmon, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Motor Boats
 
Additional info:
Gaffs and tail snares prohibited.
Bag/possession limit for Lake Trout is 3 fish, only one of which can be grater than 26″
Snagging of Kokanee Salmon is from September 1 to December 31.

 
Taylor River- elevation 9,183 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
Additional info: below the Taylor Dam to the lower boundary of the Taylor State Wildlife Area.
Fishing by flies and lures only.
All trout must be returned to the water immediately upon catch.

East River Tributary:

 
The East River begins at Emerald Lake, above Gothic in Gunnison County, flowing southward to Almont where with the Taylor River, the Gunnison River is born.
 
Lake Irwin- elevation 10,327 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Non-motorized
 
 
 

Slate River- elevation 9,115 feet

Fish: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Brush Creek- elevation 9,093 feet
Fish: Brook Trout
Access: Difficult
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Cement Creek- elevation 8,949 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
East River, Roaring Judy- elevation 8,150 feet
Fish: Kokanee Salmon, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
Additional Information: from the upstream property line of the Hatchery, down the river to the Hatchery outlet.
-Fishing is by flys and lures only.
Bag/possession limit: two fish, with a maxium size of 12 inches in length.
-Taking Kokanee is prohibited.

 
Roaring Judy Ponds- elevation 8,147 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Non-motorized
Almont Triangle State Wildlife Area

Ohio Valley Tributary:

 
Ohio Creek- elevation 9,395 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Carbon Creek- elevation 9,214 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 

Quartz Creek Area:

 
Hot Springs Reservoir- elevation 8,785 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: Motor Boats
Tomichi Dome STL
 
Quartz Creek- elevation 9,323 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
 
 
 
Pitkin Kids Pond- elevation 9,317 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
Needle Creek Reservoir- elevation 8,832 feet
Fishg: Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Motor Boats
 

Cochetopa Area:

 
Los Pinos Creek- elevation 8,953 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
Additional Info: the portion of Los Pinos Creek that is in the Cochetopa SWA (Snyder Ranch) has fishing by flies and lures only. In addition, all fish must be returned to the water upon catching.
Cochetopa State Wildlife Area
 
Cochetopa Creek- elevation 9,312 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
Additional Info: the portion of Cochetopa Creek that is in the Cochetopa SWA (Snyder Ranch) has fishing by flies and lures only. In addition, all fish must be returned to the water upon catching.
Cochetopa State Wildlife Area
 
Cochetopa Creek (Hwy 114)- elevation 8,286 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na
 
Tomichi Creek- elevation 7,706 feet
Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Medium
Boating: na
 
Lower Dome Lake- elevation 9,086 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Motor Boats
 
Upper Dome Lake- elevation 9,096 feet
Fish: Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Tiger Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: Motor Boats
Dome Lakes State Wildlife Area
 
 
 
Gunnison Kids Pond- elevation 9,317 feet
Fish: Rainbow Trout
Access: Easy
Boating: na

Taylor River Below Taylor Park Reservoir

  • Flow: 99.8 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 3.58 ft
USGS

 

Gunnison River near Gunnison

  • Flow: 237 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 1.24 ft
USGS

 

Gunnison River near Gunnison

  • Flow: 237 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 1.24 ft
USGS

 

Gunnison River below Gunnison Tunnel

  • Flow: 1620 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 4.34 ft
USGS