Wilderness Fly Fishing Float Trips Through The Black Canyon of the Gunnison Gorge
A float through the steep walled Gunnison Gorge is recognized as one of the top fly-fishing trips in the lower 48. This National Conservation Area lies just downstream of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and features spectacular scenery, interesting geology, sightings of varied wildlife, and most importantly, excellent fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout. The “Gunny Gorge” offers fly anglers the opportunity to hook into trophy brown and rainbow trout over 20 inches while experiencing the natural beauty of the Gunnison River. Colorado Parks and Wildlife routinely conducts fish shocking surveys that show the Gunnison River to hold more fish per mile than any other river in the state. The 2011 data demonstrated more than 10,000 fish per mile. The occasional sighting of bighorn sheep, mule deer, river otters and eagles will heighten your appreciation for this unique resource.
Several class III rapids, as well as numerous class II rapids, need to be negotiated during this 14-mile stretch of river. This is one of the only floats to offer both fantastic fishing and exciting whitewater in the same trip. Multi-day trips are slower paced and offer ample time spent out of the boat fishing from foot.
These unparalleled 1, 2, or 3 day wilderness fishing adventures are conducted at the highest level of professionalism with top quality equipment and experienced guides. The fishing float season extends from mid May through the beginning of October.
The early stone fly fishing can be excellent in the Gunnison Gorge! During June and into July the Gunnison River gets large hatches of Salmon flies along with other stoneflies. If fishing to large rainbow and brown trout with a size 2 dry fly sounds fun to you this is the time and place to do it!
Through summer a variety of techniques are used to fish the Gunnison, your guide will know what is working best to put you on the fish. Nymphing, dry fly fishing, and throwing streamers can all be done in a single day on the “Gunny”.
If you are into throwing streamers to large aggressive brown trout August through October is prime time! In addition to streamer fishing the lower stretch of the canyon is conducive to fishing large foam hoppers along the grassy cut banks to entice the big browns that lurk below!
- May-October Mayflies
- June-July Stoneflies
- July-October Caddis
- August-October Streamers (prime time)
- Guides: Black Canyon Anglers maintains the most experienced guide staff on the river. Our guide staff has over 200 years of experience. The BCA staff looks forward to showing you a first class fishing experience from beginning to end.
Prices are based on two guests and one guide per raft with a share of the group camping gear.
Our Outfitter is allowed to take a maximum of 12 people (8 clients and 4 guides in 4 boats) per day on the river per BLM regulations. We reserve the right to combine smaller parties in order to fill all the available spots on any given launch day. On overnight trips, a common campsite will be shared by all 12 people per BLM regulations. Prices include a $3.00 (day use) or $5.00 (overnight use) per person per day user fee collected by the BLM.
- 1 day fish float $ 1,400.00 per boat (2 people)
- 2 day fish float $ 3,000.00 per boat (2 people)
- 3 day fish float $ 3,800.00 per boat (2 people)
Gear Boat: A gear boat is an additional service that is not required to book a trip. You are paying for the luxury of having an extra guide (swamper) and boat accompany your trip to provide additional services. This allows for 2 things: 1) there is much less gear in your boat and 2) significantly more time is spent fishing with your guide, as he or she does not have to break away to attend to most of the camp and cooking chores. *Gear boats booked in June are priced at the fish float boat price due to the high demand during Salmon Fly season.
- 2 day gear boat $ 1,600.00 per boat (except June)
- 3 day gear boat $ 1,800.00 per boat (except June)
- 3 day gear boat $ 3,500.00 per boat (June)
*Prices subject to change without notice.
- Fully guided fly fishing trip
- Transportation to the river
- Breakfast lunch and dinner
- Lodging/tents while on the river
- Guides will supply flies if needed
- wading boots rental Included if Needed
- wading socks rental Included if Needed
- waders rental Included if Needed
- sleeping bag rental Included if Needed
- 1” sleeping pad rental Included if Needed
- 2” paco pad rental Included if Needed
- Airfare and transportation from airport to the lodge
- Trip Insurance
- Gratuities for Staff
- Optional beverages (canned-beer, boxed-wine and soda) can be pre purchased for an additional fee (2 and 3 day trip only)
- Fishing license
- Dinner and Lodging the night before your trip – $200.00 Per Person Per day (Includes Dinner, Lodging, Breakfast, 3 Cocktails/Beer or Soda, taxes and Gratuity) $150.00 for kids 12 and under.
- Fly rod & reel rental $ 35.00 * + Tax per day
- Available beer and soda per 6-pack: $ 8.00 soda – Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, Sprite, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, and diet versions of these sodas $10.00 soda – Lemonade, Iced Tea, Bottled Water $10.00 soda – Gatorade $12.50
- Beer – Domestic beer $14.00 beer – Import beer $15.00 beer – Microbrew beer $ actual cost – BOTA boxes of wine ice cooler filled with block ice: $125.00
All trips begin and end at this unique riverside lodge located on a working peach orchard. The lodge is set up to comfortably feed, house, and entertain guests before and after their adventures. Cozy 4 bed cabins, and 2 bed cabins are available. Evening meals (6:30 pm) may be reserved in the dining hall. An on site fly shop carries flies, licenses and other fishing supplies.
The stocked trout pond on the property, offers casting practice and the chance to catch a really big fish. Guests are also invited to fish three miles of private water on the Gunnison River. 4000 year-old petroglyphs (Native American drawings etched in rock), are just a short walk from the lodge.
It is strongly suggested that clients stay at the lodge the night before their fishing trip. Arriving early allows time for guests to pack their river bags, stop by the fly shop, fish the ponds or river, enjoy a delicious meal, relax around the fire circle and get a good night’s rest.
The lodge only serves breakfast and dinner (lunch is not served). Guests arriving mid-day should make arrangements to eat before coming to the property, or bring a picnic lunch. Dinners include happy hour, appetizers, salad, main entree and dessert with beer and wine served at the meal. This outfitter grows their own wine grapes on the property and has wine made specifically for guests. The 100-year old peach orchard, and working organic farm surrounding the property, makes the lodge a true oasis.
*We highly recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance.
The morning of your trip
Wake up call is at 5:30, a continental breakfast is served at 6:00 and guides and clients leave for the river at 6:30. The Gunnison Gorge is unique as there is no road access to the river. Transportation is provided via 4×4 vans over a rough road to the rim of the canyon. From there, everyone hikes the moderate 1.1 mile Chukar Trail to the river while carrying their personal gear on their backs (river dry bag with shoulder straps provided). Guests wishing to avoid carrying personal gear to the river on their back may prearrange to have their gear taken in for an additional fee.
Once at the river, you will find the boats and equipment that was packed in via horse the day before. Several class III rapids, as well as numerous class II rapids, need to be negotiated during this 14-mile stretch of river. This is one of the only floats to offer both fantastic fishing and exciting whitewater in the same trip. Multi-day trips are slower paced and offer ample time spent out of the boat fishing from foot.
The Bureau of Land Management regulates this resource to allow only two commercial launches per day, with a maximum of 8 guests and 4 guides per trip. Each boat carries a maximum of 2 guests and 1 professional fly fishing guide. A gear boat is available for an additional fee, eliminating the need to carry equipment in the fishing raft. All rafting and safety equipment, life jackets, food, kitchen gear and tents are provided.
Guests are responsible for their own fishing license, fishing equipment (rentals available), sleeping bag and pad (rentals available) and personal items. For easy access throughout the day, a daypack is a good way to store personal items on the raft. Camping is conducted at designated camping sites along the river. All trips end around 4 pm at a private take-out, 6 miles upstream of the lodge and a 15-minute shuttle ride back to the lodge is provided.
Food while on the river
Trips include hot breakfasts, tasty lunches and gourmet dinners complete with appetizers and dessert. All meals are included starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the final day. On overnight trips optional canned beverages (beer and soda) may be purchased and packed in per your request.
Optional Beverages: Due to insurance requirements, we do not provide alcoholic beverages on river trips, but if guests on overnight trips want to order and pay for the purchase of beverages, we can arrange to have it packed in. Please place your beverage order at least 7 days prior to the trip. All prices include handling and the extra horse pack-in fee. Beverage prices are high due to the extra cost required to pack the gear down by horse. Only beverages available in aluminum cans, boxes and plastic bottles may be ordered. If an ordered item is not available, we will do our best to substitute it with a comparable item.
You are welcome to bring your own glass bottle beverages (wine and liquor) as part of your personal gear. Normally beverages are chilled in the river. For an additional fee, a cooler with block ice can be provided. Black Canyon Anglers is not responsible for any theft of beverages left on Chukar beach during the horse pack.
*All trips begin and end at the riverside lodge located in Austin, Colorado. This facility is located 3.0 miles off of Highway 92 (8.5 miles east of Delta, Colorado). Trips meet at 6:00 am and depart for the river at 6:30 am. Normally, trips end back at the lodge at approximately 4:00 pm on the last day. It is highly recommended to stay at the lodge the night before.
The nearest airport is Montrose, CO or Grand Junction, CO our outfitter also has a private airstrip available.
Ground transportation between the Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ), Grand Junction Airport and the fishing lodge can be arranged through Telluride Express or Mountain Limo. One-way shuttles are specially priced by the van for our clients.
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Suggested Gear List
Guides will supply flies for your trip. Guests may bring their own flies from home, or purchase more flies at the Black Canyon Anglers fly shop before their trip starts. Black Canyon Anglers is a fly fishing guide service – spin fishing is an option in certain situations with the understanding that all lures will be clipped to a single hook.
Recommended Equipment List: On overnight trips, each guest is provided with a “waterproof” river dry bag with shoulder straps in which to carry his/her personal gear.
- Refillable personal water bottle (very important)
- Polarized sunglasses
- Quick drying shirts and shorts (wet wading is standard from mid June through early September) insulating layers
- Rain gear
- Day pack (to organize and access personal gear such as camera, sunscreen, fishing gear, etc.)
Camp: (tents are provided)
- pillow* (optional)
- sleeping bag*
- sleeping pad*
- flash light or headlamp**
- Dry shoes and socks dry change of clothes (warm layered clothing – nights can be cool before mid June and after early September)
- Towel and toiletries
- Insect repellant
- wading boots (no cleated or studded boots allowed)*
- wading socks (for wet wading)*
- stocking foot waders (early and late season trips only)*
- fly rod and reel (5-6 weight with floating line) one back up rod and reel is suggested per group * or **
- leaders (9 foot in 2x, 3x, 4x)**
- tippet (2x, 3x, 4x)**
- strike indicators**
- split shot and fly floatant
* = available for rent
** = available for purchase at the fly shop
Bring an appreciation for Mother Nature, a sense of humor and a flair for adventure as we bring the same to these trips!