Black Canyon of the Gunnison Rockies

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 10-25 fish per day that range from 10-18 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 8 guests and 4 guides per trip. You are assured solitude along with the ambience of stream side camping and gourmet cooking on this unparalleled wilderness fly fishing adventure. The occasional sighting of desert big horn sheep, mule deer, river otters, peregrine falcons and golden eagles will heighten your appreciation of the resource. These trips are conducted at the highest level of professionalism with top quality equipment and experienced personnel.

This two-night / three-day 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 you meet the boats, which were packed in via horse the day before. The trips begin 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 conducted at designated sites along the river.

Each boat carries a maximum of 2 guests and 1 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.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River is located in western Colorado near Montrose.

Fishing Program
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.

There is magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife, including big horn sheep, mule deer, river otter, peregrine falcon and eagles to add to your enjoyment as you travel through this billion-year-old canyon, making this a truly unforgettable Colorado fly fishing experience.

On the first day of your float trip you will need to meet your 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, where you will reach 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, 1 mile long and downhill. Keep your packs light.

Upon arrival, you will be able to fish or hike while your guides rig the boats, which takes about an hour. You then hop into the boats and float/fish until lunch, then fish until mid afternoon. You will be able to fly fish the rest of your afternoon while your guides set-up camp. They provide tents but sleeping bags and pads can be rented if necessary.

Your second day: 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 you back earlier, it is up to you.

Accommodations and Meals
Meals are prepared on the river by your guides. Breakfast in the morning is either a breakfast burrito or a continental style 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. Please let us know of any special dietary orders and/or food allergies.

Please bring a lightweight back pack or shoulder duffel bag, sleeping bag and pad. Tents are provided. You will be sleeping on the ground in tents.

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 their own shower and rest room. The lodge consists of a fly shop, library area, t.v. room, pool table, and a dining hall. The landscaping around the lodge creates a great commons area and the 100 year old 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. You can also enjoy the two stocked trout ponds. There are petroglyphs (Native American drawings etched in rock) on the property as well, dating back 4000 years just a short walk from the cabins.

Sample Itinerary:
Day 1:Fly into Montrose Airport. Transfer to Gunnison River Farms. Stay in log cabins at the farm.
Note: If you are flying into Montrose and not renting a car the following companies provide shuttle services.
Delta Transit – 970-874-1529
Telluride Express – 970-728-6000

Day 2: Depart for the river. There is no road access to the river. Transportation to the rim of the canyon is provided over a rough 4x4 track. From there everyone hikes(with their personal gear) down the 1.2 mile Chukar Trail to the river. For an additional fee guests may pre-arrange to have their gear packed in by horse one day prior to the trip start date.
Day 3: Float, fish and camp in the Canyon.
Day 4:Float and fish all day and arrive back at Gunnison River Farms in the evening. All trips end up back at the Lodge at Gunnison Farms at approximately 4:00 pm

Rates and Details

2020 Rate: $2,300 per person plus taxes for a 4 night/3 day package

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

Map: Montrose, CO

Time: The time in Colorado is Mountain Daylight Time