Tips for catching more trout
August 20, 2015
Sometimes where you choose to fly-fish can be just as important as the fly you tie on.
This lesson is not always an easy one to learn. We're blessed here at Vail Valley Anglers to have several great trout rivers, endless miles of creeks and a few world-class tailwater streams within an easy drive from our shop in Edwards. One of the biggest keys to being a successful flyfisherman is knowing which rivers to fish and which ones to avoid. Here are some of the things to consider before deciding where to wet your line.
Rain and mud
Heavy rains and muddy water can ruin a fly-fishing trip but are a few good ways to avoid this situation all together. It is possible to pinpoint which drainages are getting hammered with rain with NOAA's radar. The first thing I do each morning is check the flow charts at a couple different gauging stations along each river. A large increase in discharge overnight usually indicates a swollen tributary or dam release. This probably means that the stretch of river below that gauge will be blown out. The next resource I count on for clarity reports is river shuttle drivers. They have on-site knowledge of local river conditions.
Working around crowds in a destination fishery during the busy season is not always easy. The best way to beat the crowds is to do just that. Wake up early and be first on the water. A more overlooked approach is to sleep in, relax or tie flies, eat lunch and then hit the water. Morning crowds dissipate just before lunch and evening anglers haven't hit the water yet. Easily accessed roadside public spots on the Eagle River get fished pretty hard every day for several weeks in the summer. Hike farther and look for less popular areas. Float fishermen should consider more remote stretches of river.
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I keep a close eye on not only current water temperatures, but temperature trends throughout my angling territory. Steady temperature increases or decreases can be a sign of things to come, either good or bad, while sudden spikes or drops on the thermometer will usually turn fish off for a short time. A trout's preferred zone lies between the mid-40 and the low-60s and stable, unchanging temps are best. This time of year, search out water in the 50s and avoid water in the high 60s but in the winter look for the warmest water you can find.
Posted Fishing Reports
I try to chat with my fellow guides before and after each day of fishing about what worked, what didn't and where the fishing was the best. If you don't know a local guide or angler, search out online fishing reports. The best of these will not only tell you where the best fishing is, but what patterns are working and what time of day the fishing is most productive. Wherever you find your fishing reports, rely only on those that are updated regularly. A month-old online report is basically useless for any angler.
Brody Henderson is a senior guide at Vail Valley Angler in Edwards and can be reached at 970-926-0900.