Late summer fly fishing in the Vail and Roaring Fork Valleys continues to be solid this week.
While August is usually our hottest month and fishing sometimes slows down, this month has proven to be cooler than both June and July. Already there are some early signs of fall as leaves are beginning to show some color and night time temperatures have become much cooler.
Small High Country lakes and creeks are still a great option for the hiking angler looking for solitude and bigger streams like the Eagle River are fishing very well despite low clear flows. Meanwhile, larger rivers such as the Roaring Fork and Colorado remain productive for float fishermen.
Conditions on the Eagle are fairly typical for this time of the year. Hatches have dwindled to small midges and blue winged olive mayflies. Terrestrials such as ants and hoppers are also an important food source for local trout. Most of the fish in the Eagle have migrated to deeper runs and holes where they will spend the next several months until next spring.
Concentrate your efforts on this type of water with a deep-nymphing rig featuring small emerger patterns. Pocket water can be effectively covered with a hopper dropper set up.
Flies: Renegade Nos. 16-20, Royal Wulff Nos. 12-18, Barr Emerger Nos. 16-22, Disco Midge Nos. 18-22, Sparkle RS-2 in grey olive and black Nos. 18-22.
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork is flowing slightly below average but water temperatures are cool and the fishing is good.
Wade fishermen are enjoying success on the upper Fork in Woody Creek Canyon where bug hatches remain strong and both nymphing and dry fly fishing is good. On the lower river from Carbondale downstream, nymphing with tiny midge and mayfly patterns is the way to target whitefish and trout in deeper water while large hoppers and small attractor dry flies will move the fish that are still holding near the banks.
Flies:Text ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/SolidText ColorSwatch/NoneStrokeStyle/$ID/Solid$ID/NothingText ColorText Color$ID/NothingText ColorText Color Mercer’s Micromayfly Nos. 16-20, Biot Soft Hackles in grey, black and olive Nos. 16-22, Fly Formerly Known as Prince Nos. 16-20, Patriot Nos. 18-20, Yellow PMX Nos. 6-10.
While pretty much every other stream in the area is experiencing dropping flows, the Colorado River’s flows are up and in the ideal range for both trout and anglers. Water temperatures are cool for this time of year and the trout, mostly browns on the upper river near State Bridge, are feeding happily.
The morning trico hatch gets things started and is accompanied by blue winged olives, red quills and a few caddis later in the day. Late morning temperatures generally warm the air enough to make the grasshoppers active and the trout are definitely looking for these large, easy meals. Streamers are also turning a lot of aggressive fish.
Flies: WD-50 Olive Nos. 16-20, Flashback Pheasant Tail Nos. 12-20, Gould’s Half Down Hopper Nos. 8-12, Schroeder Parachute Hopper Nos. 6-12, Olive Sculpzilla Nos. 4-8, Rust Slumpbuster Nos. 4-8, Tequeely No. 6.
For those true dry fly nuts out there, look towards the tailwater section of the Fryingpan River below Reudi Reservoir this week. While most hatches have tapered off on freestone streams by now, the cold bottom draw flows of the Fryingpan mean that hatches come later in the summer. Currently, hatches of large Green Drake mayflies, pink hued Pale Morning Duns and tan caddis are a daily happening on the Fryingpan.
Our fly selection at Vail Valley Anglers includes all the dry flies needed for a successful outing on the world famous Fryingpan River.
Brody Henderson is a senior guide with Vail Valley Anglers and can be reached at 970-926-0900.