The fly-fishing in and around Vail has been nothing short of fantastic recently.
However, dropping water flows on area rivers will demand a change in tactics as we move into the second half of summer. On the Eagle River, flows have dropped to the point where wade fishermen now can thoroughly fish through water that was unreachable just a week ago. Float season is just about over on the Eagle. Fortunately for float anglers, the Colorado has recently dropped to an ideal level and the fishing has been very good. Ditto on the Roaring Fork where high water hung on much later than normal.
On the Eagle, the caddis hatch is still hanging with plenty of size Nos. 14-18 tan caddis emerging from Minturn to Eagle. The Pale Morning Dun hatch is also holding steady with the No. 18 mayflies showing up late in the morning. Some Yellow Sally stoneflies and midges are also on the menu. Look for fish in riffles and deeper runs. Trout are now pulling away from the banks as the river drops. Smaller flies will become the norm on the Eagle for the rest of the summer. The best fishing is in the morning and evening. The same tactics used on the Eagle will work on Gore Creek.
Hot flies: Barr’s PMD Emerger No. 18, X-Caddis No. 16, Royal PMX No. 12.
The Colorado has dropped more than 1,000 cubic feet per second in the last week bringing flows into the sweet zone for catching trout. Some caddis, Pale Morning Duns, tricos and small stoneflies are hatching. More importantly, the hopper fishing has begun on the Colorado and large terrestrials fished near the bank are producing good results. Combined with a dropper nymph, this is probably the best way to fish the Colorado now. Streamers are also working well in the morning or when afternoon clouds roll in.
Hot flies: Noble Chernobyl No. 8, Fly Formerly Known as Prince No. 16, Black Sumpbuster No. 6.
Roaring Fork River
The Fork has also dropped significantly and is much easier to fish either from a boat or wading. Caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies dominate the hatches. Large attractor dry flies and searching nymph patterns are working very well. Fish are still holding near the banks but riffles and deep holes are now accessible as well. The fishing may slow in the afternoon with the hotter than average temperatures we have been experiencing lately.
Hot Flies: Twenty Incher No. 12, Yellow PMX No. 8, Patriot No. 16, Red Copper John No. 18.
All area High Country creeks and lakes are fishing very well. The next month is the ideal time to venture away from the crowds and experience some fantastic angling in a remote setting. For anglers who enjoy some hiking and scenery, creeks such as Cross Creek or the upper Piney is a great option. Some attractor dry flies and basic terminal tackle is all that is necessary for day filled with brightly colored wild trout.
Brody Henderson is a senior guide at Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards and can be reached at 970-926-0900.