Colorado Trip Report: The Taylor River Hog Trough

David Holmes

Formerly known as "capmblade"
Buoyed by our success on the Gunnison, we found ourselves lured to the (in)famous Hog Trough (as the locals in Almont call it) of the Taylor River, just below the Taylor Reservoir. The state record rainbow was caught and released there (I think it was 34 inches and 29lbs) a few years earlier. And we had talked to a gent on the Gunnison who said he landed a 10lb RB there in late April.

The Taylor river is about a 2 hour drive drive from Montrose, so we packed a bag and left our son in the good hands of my mother. We fished the morning hours on the Gunnison (see other report) and then used the lunch hours to drive to the Taylor River. We stopped at the High Mountain Drifter fly shop in Gunnison and they did everything they could to discourage us from going to the Taylor. I wish we would have listened to them, but we had stars in our eyes.

So let me set the record straight: the hog trough is a lame place to fish. Its about 300 yards of public land RIGHT BY THE HIGHWAY. Its unscenic. The fish there have all been caught 100 times and fishing for them has created a new definition of the term 'technical fishing' in my mind. Fishing the hog trough makes Rocky Ford look like a kids fishing derby.

The rainbows that inhabit this water sit around eating the shrimp that come out of the res. all day long. By afternoon they are full and they just sit there trying not to waste energy. They have learned to spot splitshot in the water and will simply move out of the way of your perfectly placed fly. Your fly better be #20 or smaller or you can hear the fish laughing at it as they simply sidle away from it until it passes and then return to their spot.

We saw a few fish caught, but they were all small (like 16" or smaller). I flossed one fish and foul hooked another but they both got off. This experience was a major bummer after our glorious week on the Gunnison.

That night we drove the 18 miles back down the river to the "town" of Almont, where were expecting to eat dinner at the bar (the only other thing in town besides the resort we were staying at). Well the kitchen at the bar was closed, so we just went in and started drinking with the local alchoholics. We made friends fast and stayed there for three or four hours drinking beer and shots with the ski bums and fish bums.

I had the opportunity to talk to one of the guides who worked out of the attached fly shop -- he was an animated guy who held several of the state records for various fish. He told some AMAZING fish stories. I was pretty lit up (drinking at 8000 feet elevation) but I vaguely remember him saying that when he visited the NW, he would go out into the Columbia in a friggin float tube and fish a ball of guts the size of a bowling ball on the bottom for pike. He also mentioned that if you could get a camping permit for the Gunnison in the summer time, you could experience fishing 2" dries during some kind of locust plague where enormous flies emerged from the water and enormous browns would rise to eat them. The fly shop the next day confirmed this story and they showed me the 2" foam flies that one would use.

I slept poorly that night due to drinking at high elevation on an empty stomach. Note: the little "house" cabin at the resort there was awesome. It was a definite great place to stay for only $75. Had a kitchen and everything. Anyway, in the morning we drove past the trough to the res and tried to fish the still water up there, but we had no luck and the fumes from all the 2 strokes chasing mackinaws sent us packing back to the Gunnison.


But it is such pretty country above the dam. I make the trip from Buena Vista over Cottonwood Pass a couple of times each year and I never tire of it.

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