Fall fly-fishing is here | VailDaily.com

Fall fly-fishing is here

Pete Mott

Recently the overnight lows have dropped into the 30s and 40s. The air is crisp and the afternoon breeze is much cooler. For most students school has begun and the crowds have thinned. Many of the local rivers are seeing less pressure and the fish have rejuvenated with the colder water temperatures. Fall is here.

Of all the rivers I fish and guide, the Colorado is where I call home. Mostly BLM (Bureau of Land Management), the Colorado lacks the bank development so common today. Pinion, Cedar, Cottonwood, Juniper and Sage are dominant here, as are Mule Deer, Beaver, Mink and Eagles. The brown trout lined banks are quiet; free of bridges, houses, roads and noise. The few ranches that randomly dot the landscape are humble, rustic and pretty. I float here year around, and the fall season is my favorite.

Much of the rafting pressure declines this time of year and there is less boat traffic over the fish. Brown trout will begin to spawn soon and will become aggressive defenders of their space, eating streamers without caution. I don’t believe there is a more beautiful time to visit the Colorado River then a cool, fall day with blue skies and fallen leaves floating along the water’s edge. State Bridge (12 miles northwest of Wolcott) and upstream to Pumphouse offers great angling opportunities with many pools, riffles and rapids. This section receives heavy pressure during the summer and now is the perfect time try your luck without seeing another person all day. Further downstream, all the way to Dotsero is a wonderful, scenic paradise of undiscovered territory, with numerous boat ramps and lots of public access. Below Glenwood Springs, the fish are large, and the healthy water of the Roaring Fork helps clear and cool the fishery. Anglers can have excellent success all the way to Rifle, where the Colorado gives way to warm water species, other than trout.

I fish a lot of Dry-Dropper rigs during this time, mostly along the rocky banks and drop off edges. Be on the look out for October Caddis that can create incredible dry fly action, especially at dusk. Wednesday, Red Quills were everywhere and the fish ate them enthusiastically. Occasional terrestrials are still around too, and a small hopper or parachute ant can be deadly. Finally, streamers are back in demand after taking the summer off, and pounding the banks from a boat is great fun.Gorsuch Outfitters offers private boat access on the Colorado River to its guides and clients, allowing anglers almost exclusive fishing for either a full day section or a shorter half day. A terrific place for the beginner who might need extra attention or the expert who would rather fish less accessed water, this special option can be requested with any of our guides at no extra charge.

As September fades into October and winter approaches, take a day or two to enjoy some outstanding fishing on the Colorado River. There are many advantages to this time of year, including the opportunity for one last great dry fly day of the year.

Pete Mott is the Guide Manager for Gorsuch Outfitters, and guides year around. He can be reached at 926-0900. Vail, Colorado