Vail Valley anglers still finding fish
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – It’s always tough to fish local streams this time of year, but the wait could be a little longer than usual for clear water in local rivers and creeks. That’s why local fishing guides have several forms of Plan B available.
At Eagle River Anglers in Eagle, owners Bob and Kim Nock are mostly doing projects around their place on the banks of the river. When clients do book a trip this time of year, they’re usually taken to the still waters of Sylvan Lake, Rifle Gap Reservoir or Steamboat Lake.
“It’s tricky this time of year,” Kim Nock said. “You can’t get into the high elevations because of the snow.”
At Gore Creek Fly Fisherman, guide Kyle DuFresne said the company is taking some clients up Homestake Creek. The water’s still running high, he said, but the water is more clear than it is in the lower parts of the valley.
“We’re telling customers right now that we can’t guarantee fish, but they’ll have a beautiful experience in the woods,” DuFresne said.
Still, calm water is sometimes the only place to have a realistic chance of landing a fish right now, and Turquoise Lake near Leadville is a quick trip from Vail.
At Alpine River Outfitters, guide Joe Montoya said his company is also working ponds, lakes and higher streams. That company will fish areas around Camp Hale, which is at least fairly level.
But many guide companies have leases on private waters, and Montoya said his company is making use of several of those ponds and creeks.
“We’ve got trips going out every day, and people are catching fish,” Montoya said.
Many guide companies, including Alpine River, have leased private property for their customers to use. Some of that property is ponds or streams on local ranches. Other areas include private property along rivers.
At the moment, Alpine River is using its leases on ponds up Lake Creek and Sweetwater Creek, as well as some leased land downstream from Stagecoach Reservoir south of Steamboat Springs – although the Yampa River there is running fast because water is being released from the reservoir almost as fast as it’s coming in.
Private water can be handy this time of year, Montoya said. But it’s also a good thing for families with kids – fish in those ponds see fewer flies, and may be more willing to take one that isn’t expertly cast.
While there’s still a lot of snow on the mountains, guides think the Eagle River fishing season won’t be delayed too much.
The Nocks have a distinctive view of the Eagle from their home, and Kim Nock said the flow this week has been high, but not overly so.
“I’m happy it’s coming down the way it is,” she said.
Nock said it’s going to be July before the Eagle clears out and calms down, but that’s not unusual.
“We usually shoot for the Fourth of July,” she said. “Sometimes we’ll be able to get on the Eagle in late June, and sometimes it’ll be a little later. If (runoff) keeps going the way it is, we should be OK.”
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.