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I am looking to make a run at doing one of those 3 day float and camp trips on the Gunnison in the Black Canyon. I know there are outfitters that do a myriad of trips. (day trip, camping...etc)
1) Any recommendations on outfitters?
2)When is the best time to do a trip?
a. I have a customer coming in from Canada for this so good weather is a strong
consideration.
3) Any other tips and things to be aware of for those that have done this.

Very much appreciated.
 

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I don't have any suggestions on outfitters but regarding times to go I would suggest the following:
- if you get lucky and hit it right you can try to line it up for the salmon fly hatch. It is very hit or miss. I have floated twice and have never really caught it right on. There was maybe a window of an hour or two that the big boys were keyed on the adults but we have done better on caddis during the evening. But if you do it right it could be a trip of a life time. This all depends on run off and temps. Last summer didn't float it but hiked down into the gorge. Thought I timed it right but there was cooler weather that came in, had some rain which slowed the flight of the adults. As soon as the sun came out and it warmed up it was on.
- later in the summer for hopper dropper action. Probably more consistent and the canyon is awesome.

Either way, I imagine you will catch fish with an outfitter. They know what they are doing. I float it myself and with only doing a few times the last 5 years, still learning the river. I highly recommended it though.
 

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abarbs30 said:
How tough of a row is the gorge? I assume you had to pay for donkeys to take your raft down to the put in?
Abarbs- The gorge isn't extremely technical, but you definitely wanna know what you're doing down there. It's one of those rivers where you have to set up and know your line before you're actually in a rapid. Boulder Garden is the only one that we really struggled with, but it wasn't horrible. That said, we did it at 600cfs and it was pretty bony. I'd think at a higher flow it'd be a lot easier. We paid donkeys to take our stuff down and it wasnt too bad, like $60 a person. The hike in is cake but I wouldn't want to do it carrying more than I had to.
 

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I agree with Duckhunt. The gorge is not extremely difficult but it is somewhat a little technical. Especially at the 600 cfs mark that seems to occur throughout the summer. I got a 14-footer so a 12-footer would obviously be a bit easier to negoitate the rapids. It is not big water but more like bumper pool. You need to know what you are doing though. Your not going to flip but might hang up on a rock to two or wrap. Its a fun float!

We didn't pay for the donkeys. We just man'd up and hiked our stuff down. I have always done it with four people and we are all relatively young and in good shape, so it was no issue. But that is not always the case so I see the donkeys would be nice.

theeo9805-check the blm website for gunnison gorge they got a map and pretty good info.
 

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theo9805 said:
any good information on walk-in areas of that part of the gunnison? i'm up for a good hike, backpacking trip, etc. 4x4 a plus, the harder the hike the better.
If you want to drive into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, there are a few good hikes.

Last fall me and Yvette hiked down the Gunnison route one day and then drove around to the other side and hiked the SOB Draw the next. Great fishing and no one else was there.


S.O.B. Draw
This route is suggested for the first time North Rim inner canyon hiker. S.O.B. Draw is famous for its abundant poison ivy. Long pants are recommended. Park vehicles in the pull through near the campground registration board, or at the North Rim Ranger Station.

The route begins at the access ladder along the fence line just east of the campground. This is on the right side of the road when traveling from the ranger station to the campground. Follow the path to the top of the drainage gully and descend on the far right of the route. The route has short ledges to climb (8-12 ft/3 m). Campsites are located downstream a short distance.

Descent: 2 hours
Distance: 1.75 miles (2.8 km)
Vertical Drop: 1800 feet (549 m)
Ascent: 3 hours
River Access: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Campsites: 6



Gunnison Route
This is the most popular route, however it is still very strenuous. This route is recommended to persons attempting their first inner-canyon hike. An 80 foot chain is located 1/3 of the way down. This route begins at the South Rim Visitor Center.

Follow the Oak Flat Trail for 1/3 mile, down the first few switchbacks. You will come to a sign that says, "River Access. Permit Required." Continue the steep descent to the chain down the drainage. An outhouse and campsites are located a short distance upstream.

Descent: 1.5 hours
Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km)
Vertical Drop: 1800 feet (549 m)
Ascent: 2 hours
River Access: .75 mile (1.2 km)
Campsites: 3
 

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Most of the the commercial trips start at the Chukar trail on the west side. Access is from Falcon Road just south of Olathe. Signs will guide you after about 6 miles on Falcon Rd.
There are four trails from there down that go into the canyon from the Peach Valley road, that Falcon intersects with. It parallels the canyon several miles west of it. Bobcat, Duncan and Ute trails go below it. Drive a 4-wheel drive to the trailhead and then hike down. Bobcat and Duncan are shorter, like a mile, but real steep. Ute is less steep but is 4 miles each way. That being said it has the best and longest stretch of fishing in that area IMO. The others you get up against vertical walls and have to cross the river to get to new water. At 600 or more CFS, this may be dangerous. I take some water when packing overnight, but take a water filter also, as it is much lighter. Best weather is late June, sometimes the salmon hatch is that late when lower snowpack and it is the best I've seen when that happens.
 

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Wind Knot said:
I am looking to make a run at doing one of those 3 day float and camp trips on the Gunnison in the Black Canyon. I know there are outfitters that do a myriad of trips. (day trip, camping...etc)
1) Any recommendations on outfitters?
2)When is the best time to do a trip?
a. I have a customer coming in from Canada for this so good weather is a strong
consideration.
3) Any other tips and things to be aware of for those that have done this.

Very much appreciated.
$3,500 per person. must be one hell of a customer to pay that kind of jack. you will be pooping you waders knowing you on the float portion - this is no Bighorn.
blackcanyon anglers is who to use
 

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theo9805,

I hiked in with two buddies last year the third week in June and we went to the conservation area after talking to the fly shop in Montrose. He said the hiking in the National Park was brutal and the hatch was not that far down yet. The salmon flies were all over us but the fish were not keying up on the adults but they would take a dry on occasion. We had much better luck fishing caddis close to the banks. There were also a lot of boats and kayaks floating down the river. Even though there are only three campsites sometimes we were fishing with 10 - 15 people. The nice part is they would get back in the boat and leave after a while.
We hiked down the Duncan trail and you can stay for two days. As we were leaving the adults were mating on the bushes, so we missed the dry fly action by a day I think. Just make sure you can deal with large bugs crawling all over you... a trick I found was to grab them and throw them behind you. If you throw them in the water and the fish don't get them they just swim back and crawl up you leg again. One of the best trips.

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nca/ggnca.html
 
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