Fishing in the Winter months is mostly concentrated to the Tailwater section below Taylor Dam. Until mid to late March the Gunnison, East, and the Taylor Rivers are mostly iced over. However the Taylor is often open 3 to 5 miles below the Catch and Release area down through the Cold Springs Section.
Nymph fishing with a 7 ½ foot leader, 4X and 5X Tippet, and flies in the 18-24 sizes are most productive. The takes are generally subtle so a strike indicator is highly recommended. The most common patterns are- Mysis Shrimp, Black Beauties, BWO Barr Emergers, D-Midges, Trout Beads or Egg Patterns, Pheasant tails, and other small Midge patterns. In the Cold Springs area Olive and Red Two Bit Hookers and Stone fly patterns are very successful. Many people use Streamers throughout the river.
As the Winter progresses and the snow piles up you may have to break trail to get to the river. The Tailwater section generally has enough traffic, however in the Cold springs section I have known people that have utilized snow shoes to gain access. In any case, February and in particular March can provide some interesting and successful outings. Also in January despite the cold conditions you may have a better chance of landing one of those monster, post-spawn Browns. Be sure to give us a call or stop by, our full service, Orvis endorsed Fly shop is open year round.
For more information, check out the Gunnison River report on Orvis.com