Alpine River Outfitters fishing report for the Vail Valley
Vail, CO Colorado
The Eagle River has been very good this spring and the snowpack is indicating a promising summer.
Right now, we are experiencing pre run-off and fishing conditions that are changing daily. We expect the river to produce good fishing opportunities until mid-May when the High-Country melt off begins.
Look for cold spells to be the best time for clarity and water levels alike. For now streamer fishing is the call. Most fish are hanging along the banks where they find good cover. Pay close attention to logs, boulders, and tributaries where fish can find stable water and good food production.
When the nights are cool, the water can clear up a bit. On these days, try more natural color streamers (olive or black) and big stoneflies. Really work the inside seams and the calmer water near the banks and around cover.
On cloudy and less than 2-foot visibility days, go to bigger and brighter colors and cover as much water as possible to find fish. Off-color water and run off seems to scare off many anglers, but the fishing can still be great before the river blows out, which unfortunately appears to be just around the corner with warm weather and plenty of sun in the forecast.
The best way to fish the Eagle this time of year is by boat, so we’ll be floating it until we can no longer, so get out on the boat while you can. Mother Nature will determine the quality of the fishing in the week to come. All we can do is wait, watch, and fish.
The Gore has been great. It always has tougher fish to catch, but great water levels and conditions continue on the Gore. This is a very technical stream that requires more stealth and better presentation to be successful. Smaller flies and tippets will also be on tap when fishing here.
Try a long 9-foot, 5-times or smaller leader with midges and small mayfly nymphs and emergers. Walk softly and pay attention to your shadow when fishing here. These fish see anglers and know what we’re up to.
When the water starts coming up and even now, the streamer can take a few fish if your placement is correct. The Gore should also fish well for the next week or so before the High Country snow comes down.
Good luck and good fishing.
Scott Graham is the store manager for Alpine River Outfiters in Edwards and a fishing guide. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.
Flies to use
Flies: Black, olive, yellow, and white Nos. 4-8; Sculpzillas, B.H. buggers, and slump busters; Nos. 6-10 20-inchers, Nos. 8-10 Montana bugs, No. 10 bitch creeks.
Flies: Nos. 18-22 zebra midge, Nos. 18-22; B.H. F.B. pheasant tail, Nos. 18-22 black/olive RS2s; No. 18-22 olive serendipity, Nos. 18-24; Gray mercury midges