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Discover Fishing on the Taylor Reservoir


Discover Fishing on the Taylor Reservoir

Taylor Park Reservoir is located 45 miles southeast of Crested Butte. The Reservoir is filled with large trout and pike and is perfect for fishing from foot or boat.  It offers a fabulous spot for the water enthusiast. With great fishing, you can spend days trying different spots and catching more than your share of massive fish. Whether you’re seeking aqua-based activities that evoke sighs of wonder and relaxation or squeals of delight, you’ll find your kind of fishing fun in Taylor Reservoir.

Enjoy your day of fun and relaxation at Taylor Park Reservoir. Enjoy s’mores by the bonfire or just sit back and relax with a cold drink. Bring your family and friends to fish in the 2000-acre stocked fishing reservoir and have a selfie with your big catch!



This reservoir is as pristine and beautiful as it is a great fishery. The fishery is catch-and-release. Taylor has several species of fish including Brown and Rainbow Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Northern Pike, Cutthroat and Mackinaw (Lake trout).

You can also fish the Taylor River above the reservoir. It is a small high elevation meadow stream.  This alpine stream is a delight to fish and full of small trout. The fish are exactly opposite of those in the tail water section and they are not picky. The lower section of the tail water is very fast, pocket water. Plunges are frequent due to the steep gradient of the river in this part of the Taylor. This section is only lightly fished which is surprising because it has some nice trout.

Most anglers choose to fish the tail water. The catch and release area that is just under a half mile long. This section can become crowded with anglers trying to catch one of its huge trout.

Species on the reservoir:

  • Brown & Rainbow Trout

The reservoir hosts the largest rainbow trout in Colorado.  The Rainbow and Brown Trout live side by side. The shrimp-like crustaceans (called Mysida) from the reservoir above allows for trout to reach monster proportions!  There are 10-15-pound trout exist and thrive in these waters.

The Rainbow (Oncorhynchus mykiss) was introduced to Colorado in the 1880’s. It is identified by a reddish stripe running down the side of the fish, and by black spots. It was introduced in 1888 into the Gunnison River. They are native to the U.S., but not to Colorado. They spawn in the Spring. The Brown (Salmo trutta) was introduced to Colorado in 1890 and is native to Europe and Western Asia. It’s identifying marks are black spots and reddish orange spots inside of light blue circles. They spawn in the fall.

  • Kokanee Salmon

They are native to west coast lakes of North America. They cannot spawn in Colorado, so are re-populated by stocking. They are most abundant in some of the larger reservoirs. Most of the year, they are bluish-green with silver sides and males have no spots. In the fall, the females turn to a red, gray, and white color. The males change color to deep red. His mouth becomes hooked, and back arched. Kokanee is often eaten by larger fish and feed on plankton.

  • Northern Pike

All fish are predators, but northern pike comes dressed for the part: needle teeth, vacant eyes, thick slime, serpentine shape. Their primeval morphology has changed little in 60 million years. Pike have an elongated body and head, with a broad flat snout is broad and flat, and are colored olive green, shading into yellow to white along the belly. These toothy critters have jaws, the roof of the mouth, tongue, and gill rakers covered with numerous sharp teeth. Males and females are similar in appearance but females live longer and attain greater size. Northerns can reach large sizes with fish to 60 inches and 50 plus pounds possible. Pike belong to the northern wilderness, where they remain most common. But stocking has extended their range south.

  • Cutthroat

Deserves to be state fish, as it is the only trout that is native (indigenous) to Colorado. It has a crimson slash on either side of the throat, below the lower jaw. Most cutthroats are not found in their original range due to competition from the non-natives, over-fishing, and habitat loss.

  • Mackinaw (Lake Trout)

Were introduced in 1890. They can live up to 20 years. They are native to Canada, Alaska and the Great Lakes. They spawn in the fall. They have irregular white spots on their dark bodies. They prefer deeper water but will feed in shallower waters during spring and fall. Their tail fin is deeply indented.



Any first-time Taylor angler is well-advised to employ a guide. Sight fishing is demanded and a guide will be able to put one on fish consistently here. Extreme patience and perseverance are admirable traits among the Taylor crowd. Speaking of which, crowded fishing is the rule, especially during summer.


Whether you prefer to drag water skis or fishing poles behind your vessel, Taylor’s reservoir promotes unforgettable days on the water. Commercial concessions at reservoir provide visitors with complete marina services, motel units and fishing equipment. Servicing watercraft rentals at all marinas including Taylor Park Marina and others.

Taylor also offers plenty of great camping sites, ranging from developed campgrounds to wide spots in the road where you can pull off for primitive camping on some of the 4-wheel drive roads. In addition, two developed campgrounds exist along Taylor Reservoir, with several others located in other locations in Taylor Park.


Cottonwood Pass is one of the quickest ways to access Taylor Park from outside the valley.  However, the west side of County Road 209 (Cottonwood Pass) will be closed for safety improvements and its first ever coat of asphalt. Improvements on the pass are expected to potentially last into the 2018 construction season. Another suggestion would be to take Hwy 135 North from Gunnison and right on county road 742.  Follow along with the beautiful Taylor River until it opens up to the Taylor Reservoir.



Taylor Park Reservoir is a beautiful place to visit no matter the time of year. Whether you ice fish in the winter, take advantage of the ice melt during the spring (one of the best times to come) or brave the summer heat (probably the least prolific fishing season), you’ll find great fishing. Boating is limited to the summer and fall months (June-October) when the reservoir isn’t frozen over.

Taylor Park is bountiful with available activities for you, your family or your friends and a great place to pack a picnic or enjoy a day exploring the shoreline. Come now and discover the fun!

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