Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Fishing and Paddling
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Inner Canyon)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Inner Canyon) (Lisa Lynch/National Park Service)

The Gunnison River within the park is designated as Gold Medal Waters, so special fishing regulations apply. Use artificial lures only. All fish 12 to 16 inches must be immediately released. The possession limit for Brown trout is three fish fewer than 12 inches and one fish over 16 inches, or no more than four fish under 12 inches.

All Rainbow trout must be returned to the river. A Colorado fishing license is required. Note: Wading and swimming in the Gunnison River is extremely dangerous.

The Gunnison River through the national park is considered unraftable due to numerous and difficult portages and extreme gradients (one section drops 180 feet in half a mile!). Rafting opportunities are available in the Gunnison Gorge west of the park. Several outfitters offer guided raft trips on this section of the river. Contact the Bureau of Land Management for more information on the Gunnison Gorge (BLM Montrose District Office, 2465 South Townsend Avenue, Montrose, CO 81401; 970-240-5400).

While rafting is discouraged in the monument, experienced kayakers find the Gunnison River an exhilarating challenge. The Gunnison River in Black Canyon is for very well equipped and very experienced kayakers who must register for a free permit before setting out on the river.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 11 Oct 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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