Summer fly-fishing prospects in the Vail Valley are now reaching optimal conditions for local and visiting anglers. Rivers are dropping and clearing and insect hatches are ramping up. As water temperatures rise, trout are becoming more aggressive and feeding predictably throughout the day. With each passing day, anglers are experiencing the best fly-fishing our part of Colorado has to offer.
Here is a quick rundown of fishing conditions on area trout streams:
The Eagle River
Our home river is finally reaching the ideal situation for excellent fishing for both wade and float anglers. After weeks of higher-than-average flows, the river is dropping consistently and the water is clear. Hatches are becoming more reliable every day. The long-awaited caddis hatch is just days away from offering the best dry fly-fishing of the year. Trout are still seeking refuge from fast water near the banks making them accessible to wading anglers or boat fishermen. Wade fishermen are doing well nymphing while float fishing opens up dry fly and streamer opportunities. Afternoons and evening fishing has been the most productive due to warmer water.
Hot Flies: Guides Choice #12-16, Yellow Stimulator #10-14, Prince Nymph #6-12
The Colorado River
After weeks of extremely high water, the Colorado River has dropped to acceptable levels and water temperatures are in the preferred zone for hungry trout. Flows are clear and insect hatches are reliably predictable. Caddis, mayflies and stoneflies are all on the menu. Trout are feeding aggressively after fighting heavy, fast water for an extended period of time. Wade fishing is still a challenge with higher-than-average flows while float anglers are having consistent success. From Pumphouse down to Catamount, the fishing has been very good.
Hot Flies: Pat’s Rubberleg #4-10, Chubby Chernobyl #4-8, Tequeely Streamer #6
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork has recently dropped to the point where getting on this Gold Medal trout water is a must-do for area anglers. While wading the lower river is currently limited, the upper river is shaping up and anywhere slower water is found, wade fishermen can expect to find willing trout. Float fishing is the best option between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, and late June and early July on the Fork is prime time on one of the best trout rivers in the western United States. Anticipation is high for the annual Green Drake hatch which brings the largest trout in the river to the surface. Augmenting this famous insect emergence are plenty of caddis and golden stoneflies.
Hot Flies: Poxyback Green Drake #10-12, Tan Stimulator #10-14, Fly Formerly Known as Prince #12-16
With great water and healthy rivers, this summer is shaping up to be an outstanding season for fly-fishing on all area trout fisheries. For up to the minute fly-fishing reports on local rivers, information on the best flies and booking guided fly-fishing trips, contact Vail Valley Anglers.
Brody Henderson is a senior guide for Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.