Vail Valley fishing report: Fishing conditions are nearly perfect
Local fly-fishing conditions are nearly perfect, and this week as flows have dropped on all area streams and rivers, the trout are feeding actively. The options are endless right now with rivers such as the Eagle and Roaring Fork fishing extremely well and high country streams and alpine lakes now accessible to the hiking angler. A variety of hatches are providing good, dry fly-fishing.
It is a much different situation from last year’s drought conditions, but soon flows will need to be supplemented with regular rain storms in order to maintain quality flows and water temperatures on lower elevation rivers.
The Eagle is dropping fast. The river has come down to the point where wade fishing is now a great option, while flows are also ideal for float fishing. The big caddis hatch has not popped yet but there are enough of them around to keep the trout active. Swinging soft hackles has been especially effective recently and the dry fly-fishing is very steady. PMDs, BWOs and Yellow Sallies are supplementing the caddis hatch.
Flies: X-caddis tan No. 14, Yellow PMX No. 12, Soft Hackle Hare’s Ear No. 14, Golden Stone No. 12-14, Vanilla Bugger.
Flows are still very low and clear on the Colorado between Pumphouse and Dotsero. Both floaters and waders are doing well. Attractor dry flies suspending small beadhead nymphs has been the rig of choice. Concentrate on faster riffles where most of the trout, especially the larger ones, are feeding. The Lower Colorado below Glenwood Springs is fishing very well with numerous hatches and clear water. Float fishing is the best option and the dry fly-fishing is lights out.
Flies: Parachute PMD No. 16, Royal PMX No. 12, Formerly Prince No. 16, Quasimodo Pheasant Tail No. 16, Colorado Green Drake No. 12 (Glenwood Springs area).
Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork is fishing particularly well this summer. Flows and water temperatures are ideal and the fish are feeding aggressively from dawn to dusk. Hatches range from Green Drakes to caddis with PMDs and yellow sallies also in the mix. Dry flies and nymphs are both working equally well. Floating is the best option anywhere between Basalt and Glenwood Springs, but wade anglers are also doing well.
Flies: Parachute Adams No. 10-12, Cripple Drake No. 12, Tan Elk Hair Caddis No. 12, Twenty Incher No. 12, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail No. 14.
High country streams and lakes are now a great way to escape more crowded stretches of popular and easily accessible rivers. Grab a backpack, some trail food and hike into some scenic country filled with eager brook and cutthroat trout. Keep the gear to a minimum. All you’ll need tackle wise is your rod and reel, a pair of scissor-forceps, a leader or two, a couple spools of tippet, fly floatant and a small fly-box with some attractor dries and beadhead nymphs. High country trout aren’t too picky and are generally easy to fool. What they lack in size they make up for in quantity. Combine that with the scenery, and it’s hard to beat a day of fishing upper Cross Creek above Tigiwon or hiking into Missouri Lakes.
Brody Henderson is a guide with Vail Valley Anglers.