Hopping along | VailDaily.com

Hopping along

A flyfisherman hooks one during a perfect fall day.
Photo courtesy Rick Messmer |

There’s something about spending a crisp fall day out on the water casting a line that speaks to the soul.

The changing leaves provide a backdrop to the clear water and (hopefully) blue skies and everything that is wonderful about life in the Colorado high country is spread out as far as the eye can see.

Brain Bloess loves those kind of moments and he hopes that more people can experience them. As the president of the Eagle Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, he is uniquely positioned to make that happen.

“I love to fly fish and I care about the fishing in this valley,” said Bloess.

“The local environment is very sensitive to different factors and we want to make sure we take care of and improve what we have here.”
Brian Bloess
President of the Eagle Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited

While his aims are lofty, Bloess knows that fun is at the heart of his passion. To that end, this weekend the local Trout Unlimited chapter is hosting a fishing contest and a family friendly festival to raise some money and some awareness while demonstrating that fly fishing is a really fun time.


With a name like “Hopperfest,” you just know the Trout Unlimited’s fund-raiser on Saturday, Oct. 4 will be a good time.

The event is planned from 3 to 6 p.m. at Eagle Town Park. There will be a free concert featuring Turntable Revue out of Minturn, with food from Moe’s Original Barbecue and beer from Bonfire Brewing available for purchase. There will be a bounc y castle for the kids and casting clinics for everyone. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the afternoon.

“We want people to dust off their cruiser bikes and pump up the tires one more time to enjoy some music at town park,” said Bloess. “Our goal is to get people to our event and introduce them to fly fishing.”

The money raised from the event will help Trout Unlimited complete a local stream enhancement projects.

“This is our significant fund-raiser for the year,” said Bloess. “All of the proceeds we raise stay here in this valley.”

In the past the group has improved riparian conditions along Red Dirt Creek and partnered with the Eagle River Watershed Council for educational programs. Eagle Valley Trout Unlimited is interested in addressing sedimentation issues effecting both Milk and Alkali Creeks as a future project.

“Look for us to do a significant project next year,” said Bloess. “The local environment is very sensitive to different factors and we want to make sure we take care of and improve what we have here.”

Trout Unlimited Fall Classic

While Hopperfest is an event for everyone, this weekend Eagle Valley Trout Unlimited will also host a contest for its target audience. The Fall Classic fishing contest will launch Saturday morning for competitive fly fishermen. The entry fee is $500 per team.

Fishing contest competitors will gather at Crazy Mountain Brewery between 5:30 and 7:30 Friday, Oct. 3 for a draw party. During the gathering, teams will be assigned launch times and locations for the Saturday, Oct. 4 competition.

“There seems to be a lot of tournaments out there where you can only use one or two kinds of flies a day. This contest has no fly limitations,” Bloess said.

Teams will launch from Pumphouse or State Bridge along the Upper Colorado beginning at 8 a.m. The three largest fish caught will be scored and released. The winning team will get an $800 prize and the winning guide will take home $200. Guides will be provided by event sponsors Fly Fishing Outfitters of Avon, Vail Valley Anglers of Edwards and Minturn Anglers.

“We are also going to offer a $50 bounty for any pike caught. We want to get them out of the river,” said Bloess.

Contest awards will be presented during Hopperfest.

For more information about Hopperfest, the Fall Classic or the local organization, visit http://www.eaglevallytroutunlimited.org.

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