The Gunnison River within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is designated as Gold Medal Water & Wild Trout Water. Streams and rivers in Colorado are designated as Gold Medal Waters by the state wildlife commission because they provide outstanding angling opportunities for large trout. The Gold Medal Waters begin 200 yards downstream of Crystal Dam and continue to the North Fork of the Gunnison River.
Special regulations are required to maintain gold medal quality experiences. Of the more than 9,000 miles of trout streams in Colorado, only 168 miles are designated as Gold Medal.
FISH SPECIES LIST »
Please see the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fishing Regulations
Catch and Release Fishing
Fish become stressed through capture and handling which upsets their blood chemistry. The effects can be cumulative and decimate a fish. We recommend these actions to increase the survival chances of a catch and release fish:
How Do I Get to the River?
Anglers seeking a more secluded experience can hike one of the inner canyon routes. Due to the steep, rocky terrain, these extremely difficult scrambles should only be attempted by those in excellent physical condition. A free backcountry permit is required, and can be obtained at the South Rim Visitor Center, North Rim Ranger Station, or East Portal registration board. A backcountry permit is not required for day use anglers entering the national park from East Portal.
Did You Know?
Before the creation of 3 dams upstream of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Gunnison River was as much as 5 times more powerful than it is today.