Break out those rods, reels and tackle box for fly-fishing
When snow in May is no longer surprising, you know you are officially a Vail Valley local.
The flux in temperature and moisture has caused the river conditions to change. These changes can be great for anglers, but also pretty lousy. This is the time of the year that we are all checking the United States Geological Survey streamflow charts on a daily basis because the flows are changing overnight.
With the cold weather we saw this past week, the Eagle, Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers have all seen drops in flows and much better water clarity. With these two changes to the river, the fishing has improved during this short pause in the annual runoff. The water is still higher than the ideal summer conditions, however, fish are still being caught while wade and float fishing.
Our backyard playground has seen a drastic swing in conditions with the cold spell the Vail Valley has seen this past week. The flows have dropped more than 500 cubic feet per second during the week. That drop has made for some fantastic fishing. Wade anglers have been catching fish on stonefly, caddisfly and mayfly nymphs along with a wide range of worm patterns.
Use a strike indicator with a larger stonefly pattern or worm pattern as an attractor fly and dropping a caddisfly larva or cased caddis pattern 12 to 18 inches below the attractor fly. Euro or straight line nymphing with tungsten beaded flies has also been a great way to get the flies in the fish’s face. Float fishing has been pretty hot this past week with streamer fishing being the most productive method for catching large trout on the move.
The float between Pumphouse and Radium has been the preferred section for most anglers throughout the past few weeks. With the flows being close to ideal and the clarity still holding strong, the Upper Colorado has produced some great days for fishing. Nymphing similar patterns as the Eagle under an indicator has been a great way to fish from the boat or pulling over and wade fishing some of the better runs.
Streamer fishing with a sink tip line or leader has put some larger fish in the net. Using a double streamer rig with a larger, brighter fly followed by a black or natural small streamer has proven deadly on some days. We are anticipating the annual Salmonfly hatch on the Upper C, and are seeing a lot of salmonfly nymphs on the rocks in the river as well as along the banks. Going up Gore Canyon Trail makes for a beautiful hike as well as great opportunities to catch some large fish targeting salmonfly nymphs.
The Gore Creek is often overlooked as a place to fish in the valley. The Gore is a great creek that gives anglers the opportunity to catch a grand slam (rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout) all in one day. The recent cold weather has slowed the flow down and cleared up the water on this creek as well. Try using small mayfly imitations under small indicators or dropped under medium sized foam dry flies. If the nymph game isn’t working, then try throwing a small streamer to entice some hungry, angry trout.
Tip of the week
When the river is high, moving faster than normal and is somewhat stained in color, anglers have the freedom to use larger tippet sizes. Don’t be afraid to use 4x tippet instead of the usual 5x. The fish are much less tippet shy this time of year.
I’m Ray Kyle and I’ll be writing articles and fishing reports this summer about different rivers to fish, techniques and flies to use, as well as some different guide tips to help you hook and land more fish.
If you have any questions or topics that you would like me to explore, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stop by the shop or check out the fishing reports on our website for up to date flows and choices of flies. Always keep your fish wet and practice catch and release to promote a great future for our local fisheries. And remember, fish first.
Ray Kyle is the shop supervisor and guide at Vail Valley Anglers. He can be reached at 970-926-0900 and email@example.com.