Colorado is a fisherman’s (fisherwoman’s? fisherperson’s?) paradise, and the Gunnison-Crested Butte area is one of the hot spots for finding, catching, releasing and eating fish, with hundreds of miles of scenic waterways and approximately 3 million new fish released each year from the state’s Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery.
Blue Mesa Lake, Taylor Reservoir and Gunnison, East, Taylor and Crystal Rivers are among the many exceptional habitats for kokanee salmon, northern pike, mountain whitefish and brown, rainbow, cutthroat, brook and Mackinaw trout. Gunnison County holds state records for brown, rainbow and lake trout and kokanee salmon.
Gary Giudice, a contributor to www.ESPNOutdoors.com, and his fishing buddy Ed Weber scoured Colorado — which they deem the best trout state — searching for the best trout streams in 2010. “The Gunnison [River], perhaps better known as The Gunny, is, in our humble opinion, the best overall freestone trout river in America. Bountiful bugs and trout, beautiful scenery and happy people are the river’s values,” Giudice said. “The town of Gunnison may very well be the center of the trout-fishing universe. Everyone and everything seems to focus on the trout fishing. The fly shops are great and the river outfitters are the best we’ve encountered.”
The pair also recommended Spring Creek east of Crested Butte, the East River near Almont and Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery. To sign up for an email newsletter about fly-fishing conditions throughout the county and to view a list of fishing outfitters and shops in Gunnison, Almont and Crested Butte, visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com.
10th Annual Caddis Cup Fly-Fishing Tournament, July 14-15: Catch the biggest flopper or tell the biggest whopper during the Crested Butte Land Trust Caddis Cup fly-fishing tournament. Participants are invited to an opening barbecue at Cement Creek Ranch, where guides are matched with competitors to plot strategy. The next morning, each pair heads into the wilds for catch-and-release fly-fishing adventures in the valley’s most prized (and secret) fishing holes. At day’s end, everyone gathers for prizes, tall fish tales and a cocktail party, all on behalf of land conservation. The event entry fee is $600. Registration can be taken by phone at 970-349-1206 or email at [email protected]
Superfly Fishing Tournament, Sept. 9-10: The Gunnison Angling Society, founded in 1969 and a local chapter of Trout Unlimited, is hosting its 21st annual Superfly fishing tournament, Sept. 9-10. The tournament will be a classic two-fly contest, meaning each two-person team has to choose the two flies they will be fishing with for the duration of the tournament to catch as many inches of trout as possible. A reception will be held in Almont on Friday night to discuss rules, meet guides and draw locations for the next morning and afternoon. One section of private water and one public section will be fished in two competitive sessions on Saturday, concluding with a banquet and awards ceremony that evening in Almont. All ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. The registration fee for each team is $500. For more information, visit www.gunnisontu.org. Anyone is welcome to attend Trout Unlimited meetings at Almont Resort. Check the website for a meeting schedule.
To request visitor information or to book other personalized vacation packages, visit www.GunnisonCrestedButte.com, call 800-814-8893, find the Tourism Association on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gcbta or follow at www.twitter.com/gcbta. During summer and fall, air access to the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport is provided by United Airlines.