A float through the steep walled Gunnison Gorge is recognized as one of the top fly-fishing trips in the lower 48. This wilderness area features spectacular scenery, sightings of varied wildlife, and most importantly excellent fly-fishing for rainbow and brown trout. Catch rates for each boat range from 10 to 25 fish per day that range from 10- to 18-inches. Fish of 20-plus-inches are considered trophies and are landed on most multi-day trips. The BLM regulates this resource to allow only two commercial launches per day with a maximum of eight guests and four guides per trip. Anglers are assured solitude along with the ambience of stream-side camping and gourmet cooking. The occasional sightings of desert big horn sheep, mule deer, river otters, peregrine falcons and golden eagles complement the classic Colorado fishing and intensify the wildness of this desert river. These trips are conducted at the highest level of professionalism with top quality equipment and experienced personnel.
This two-night trip is unique as there is no road access to the river. Transportation is provided over a rough 4x4 road to the rim of the canyon. From there everyone hikes the steep 1-mile Chukar Trail to the river while carrying their personal gear on their backs (a river bag with shoulder straps is provided). At the river anglers meet the boats, which are packed in via horse the day before. The trip begins with Chukar Rapid and ends at the private take out of the Gunnison River Farms, which is located several miles below the confluence of the North Fork of the Gunnison river. The total trip is just over 14 miles with camping spots situated at designated sites along the river.
Each boat carries a maximum of two guests and one guide. The guest sitting in the back of the raft will be perched atop the equipment load. All rafting equipment, safety equipment, life jackets, food, cooking gear, and tents are provided. Guests are responsible for their own fly fishing equipment (rentals available), sleeping bag and pad (rentals available), and personal items.
Rainbows and brown trout from 16- to 20-inches are very common. These healthy, hard-fighting fish have little pressure due to the remote canyon access.
On the first day of the float trip guests will need to meet their guide at Gunnison River Pleasure Park around 6:00 AM. Gunnison River Expeditions will provide the transportation to Chukar Trail. The 4-wheel drive into Chukar Trail takes about an hour and 20 minutes to the trailhead. Anglers will hike down to the river about a mile, which takes, on average, about 35 minutes depending on the fitness of the client. The Chukar Trail hike to the river is 600 vertical feet, one mile long and downhill, so we recommend keeping packs light.
Upon arrival, anglers will be able to fish or hike while the guides rig the boats, which takes about an hour. Anglers then hop into the boats and float/fish until lunch, then fish until mid-afternoon when all boats will arrive at camp. Anglers will be able to fly fish the rest of the afternoon while guides set-up camp. Black Canyon Anglers provide tents and sleeping bags and pads can be rented if necessary.
On the last day anglers will have breakfast, break down camp, fish until lunch, then float/fish to the take-out. Typically anglers will get to the boat ramp around 4:30 or 5:00PM. Guides are happy to stay out later or get guests back earlier.
During the float trip, anglers will sleep two per tent on camping pads with sleeping bags. Guests may bring their own headlamp, sleeping pad, sleeping bag and pillow or can rent them from Black Canyon Anglers with advance notice. Tents, eating utensils and dishware, and other gear will be provided.
Guests typically stay at the Black Canyon Anglers lodge the night before and after their float trip. The lodge accommodates guests in three two person cabins and three four person cabins, each with an ensuite bathroom. The lodge consists of a fly shop, library area, TV room, pool table, and a dining hall. The landscaping around the lodge creates a peaceful common area and the peach orchard surrounding the property compliments the operation very nicely. Wine grapes are grown on the property and used to make wine for our clients which is served at dinner. The lower Gunnison River wraps around the property and allows for private water fishing access in addition to two stocked trout ponds. A short walk from the cabins, guests will see petroglyphs dating back 4000 years.
Meals are prepared on the river by the guides. Breakfast in the morning is either a breakfast burrito or a continental style assortment with cereals, yogurt, bagels, cream cheese and fruit. Lunches are choice of roast beef, turkey and ham tortilla wraps with all the trimmings. Dinners offer rib eye steaks and pork loin chops, baked potato or rice, salad, vegetable and dessert. Special dietary requests can be accommodated with advance notice.
Day 1: Fly into Montrose Airport and overnight at the lodge on Gunnison River Farms.
Day 2: Depart for the river, fish full day and overnight at a streamside camp.
Day 3: Float, fish and overnight at a streamside camp.
Day 4: Float and fish until about 2:00 PM and arrive back at Gunnison River Farms at 4:00 PM. Overnight at the lodge
Rates & Details
2024 Rate: Per person based on double occupancy
2 night/3 day float with 2 nights at the lodge: $2,750
Included: Pre float accommodation and dinner, on river meals, all rafting equipment, safety equipment, life jackets, food, cooking gear, tents, BLM user fee
Not Included: Soda and beer, fishing equipment (rentals available), sleeping bag and pad, airfare, transportation to the lodge.
Species: Rainbow trout, brown trout
Season: May – October
Capacity: 8 anglers
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