Don’t let high Vail Valley water scare you away
Special to the Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-Eagle River: The weather here in the Colorado’s Vail Valley has been beautiful spring weather for the most part, but with the sun and warm temperatures come high and muddy water. At this point, the Eagle River is mostly blown out and muddy on the warmer days. If we get a cooler night, the river may clear up a bit for the first half of the next day. This is not to say that the Eagle is “unfishable”, but the high water will definitely make wading access tough.
When the river is manageable by boat, it’s by far the most productive way to fish this fast freestone stream. If you decide to brave the high water on foot or boat, streamers will be the name of the game for the next few weeks and the general rule still stands: Brighter on the super muddy days and more natural colors if the river clears a bit. You’ll want to focus all of your attention on the edges of the river ” anywhere where you can find slower, calm water you’ll probably find fish taking refuge from the unwieldy current.
We’ve recently started seeing some fluttering caddis flying around. This is a good sign for when the river clears and recedes a little, but don’t count on that happening anytime real soon.
The Gore was very fishable up until a few days ago when the flows really came up due to the high temps this past week. The same principles will apply to the Gore as the Eagle ” streamers and larger fares dead drifted in the soft holding water along the banks will be most productive when the water eases up a bit. If we get lucky enough for the water to clear a little, when it’s just a little off color, you may still be able to throw the normal, small flashy midge and blue wing olive emerger patterns behind your first, larger fly and pick up a few fish. And don’t forget about our favorite fly around these parts ” the caddis.
The melt-off can also be our friend during these times. As the snowpack dwindles in the high country, the high mountain lakes become your next destination if the rivers are totally blown. Few have experienced ice off at this point in time, but with warm weather in the forecast, keep an eye on these lakes as they can provide a good day hike to chase some hungry and wild cutthroat and brook trout. Get the snowshoes back out and hike up to your favorite summer spot and check for signs of ice-off. If you time it right, it could be a memorable trip.
What flies to use:
Flies: Streamers!! Black, Olive, Yellow, and White #4-#8; Sculpzillas #4-#8, B.H. Buggers and Slump Busters #6-10, 20-inchers # 8-#10, Montana bugs, #10 Bitch Creek.
Flies: Streamers, B.H. F.B. Pheasant Tail #18-#22. Black/Olive RS-2 #18-#22, Olive Serendipity, Gray Mercury Midges #16-#20.
Blake Knisely is an assistant shop manager and guide for Alpine River Outfitters in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.