Salomone: Getting ready for summer
The best fly-fishing is on its way
If you stretch out along the riverside in the afternoon sun, you can feel the edge of summertime on your skin. Fly-fishing has been stellar recently, and the best is yet to come. Long days, cool nights and trout rising to dry flies make summer fly-fishing on Gore Creek and the Eagle River as good as it gets.
The pine trees have an effervescence that permeates the High Country air. The river pulses with the flow of the runoff that helps spur springtime into summer. The Eagle River shows her best face during the summer months. Anglers should be getting ready now if they haven’t already.
Stocking up on specific fly supplies now will prevent the “Uh-oh” experience anglers encounter on the water when they reach for a frequently used item only to find it low, empty or left at home.
Terminal supplies need constant replenishment. That spool of 6X tippet from last summer is down to its last few rolls, but you won’t know it with the elastic sitting tightly on the spool. Check your tippet — is it time for a few new spools?
Leaders are another consumable that anglers will need to replenish. Some anglers will try to make a leader last for weeks, tying on more tippet or by using tippet rings. Others will blow through a pair of leaders in an afternoon if they are unaware of their casting.
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Often overlooked consumables such as weights, dry fly floatant or desiccant enhance your dry fly-fishing and should be purchased often. Arriving at the river expecting a stellar day of fishing with no floatant will severely hamper your performance and success.
Boot laces are an often overlooked item that seem to fail at inopportune times. A spare pair of laces kept in your truck or tucked into a pocket on your vest or sling pack can save your afternoon or maybe that of a fellow angler.
Regularly used flies should be bought when numbers start getting low. The Eagle River is a well known caddis river. Anglers without an elk hair caddis are going to suffer when the dry flies are on the water. Better check your box and see just how many you have left.
Stoneflies are another key insect for the Eagle River. Fly anglers know when the stonefly husks are on the rocks, big dry flies should be on your rod. An added advantage of big, bushy dry flies is their ability to support the ultra effective, jig-hooked nymphs like the perdigon. This is a very effective dry dropper rig for the Eagle River.
Summertime is the arena for the specialty fly rod. It might be a high country dry fly rod or a short little water fiberglass — even a new Euro Nymphing rod. Whatever it is, summer is the time to play for all fly anglers.
One of the things that enhances our time on the water is the pleasure derived from our equipment. I’m waiting on a very special Montana Brothers 4wt dry fly rod. This Montana Brothers rod will help me get my casting groove on all summer long.
Another aspect of getting ready for summer: Have you practiced your casting? Dry flies often require pinpoint casting precision for success. Of course we can improve on the water but the angler who has been perfecting their casting will enjoy their experience just a little bit more.
A topic that has been covered before, but needs a brief mention again, would be wader attention or repair. Nothing is more disappointing than wading into the cool waters of the Eagle River to discover your right leg is feeling noticeably colder than the left. Water inside waders will discourage most anglers. A small amount of attention now will ensure your waders perform as expected throughout the summer months.
Waders with pinhole leaks should be repaired from the inside. A minuscule amount of Aquaseal placed over the pinhole on the inside keeps your waders looking tight and working perfectly instead of being ransacked by pinhole patches. A flashlight and a dark room will illuminate any problems.
Summer is rapidly approaching. Making a visit into Vail Valley Anglers fly shop is a great way to prepare yourself for the summertime action on Gore Creek and the Eagle River. A little attention now sets up any angler for the best fly-fishing of the year.
Michael Salomone moved to the Eagle River valley in 1992. He began guiding fly-fishing professionally in 2002. His freelance writing has been published in magazines and websites including, Southwest Fly Fishing, Fly Rod & Reel, Eastern Fly Fishing, On the Fly, FlyLords, the Pointing Dog Journal, Upland Almanac, the Echo website, Vail Valley Anglers and more. He lives on the bank of the Eagle River with his wife, Lori; two daughters, Emily and Ella; and a brace of yellow Labrador retrievers.