A Look Back at Summer...

A Look Back at Summer...

the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

  • Photography by: Chris Giles

Looking for an angling challenge that tests your stamina as well as your fishing skills? Maybe you should consider fishing deep--deep in the earth, that is. Last June, photographer Chris Giles and his angling buddy, Ryan Montgomery, descended 2,600 feet to the bottom of the Black Canyon of Colorado's Gunnison River. Once they reached the river, they found plentiful salmonflies--a dependable late-June event--along with good numbers of strong, healthy rainbow trout. Overall, the incredible scenery and the unspoiled fishing more than made up for that half-mile climb out.There's nothing like a salmonfly hatch, especially in a setting like this. In the Black Canyon, these huge stoneflies cover the cliff walls and drop into the river, where the fish are always waiting to gorge on them. In the photo below, Ryan Montgomery fights a salmonfly-feeder he hooked in a deep pocket of shadow. Shade here is important to both anglers and fish, as summertime temperatures rise quickly once the sun hits the water. By the way, if the trout don't seem to want your giant dry flies, try adding a weighted-nymph dropper to your rig. That's how Ryan caught the substantial rainbow shown at right. All that climbing, all that fishing…it can wear a guy out. At left, Ryan catches a few a well-deserved winks following a morning of catching trout. Later, a thunderstorm drives him off the river and back to camp, where he waits out the weather by catching up on some reading. The Warner Point Trail into and out of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is definitely not for the physically unfit or the faint of heart. The trail is very technical, with many scrambles and abundant loose scree. But, hey…you wanted a challenge, remember? These days, a place this special doesn't stay unspoiled unless getting there and back involves a lot of effort, along with a little bit of pain…