It’s looking like a fabulous Fourth for local fly-fishing |

It’s looking like a fabulous Fourth for local fly-fishing

Brody Henderson

The fly-fishing in the Vail area is nothing short of fantastic for the Fourth of July weekend.

Options abound for local and visiting anglers as flows on area creeks and rivers subside and insect hatches intensify. The best fly-fishing of the entire year will take place over the next couple of weeks. Anglers can choose from hike-in destinations at high country creeks and lakes or float trips on larger rivers like the Eagle, Colorado or Roaring Fork.

Insects hatches are thick with green drakes pouring off on the Roaring Fork and caddis flies exploding on the Eagle River. Trout are feeding aggressively and looking up for well-placed dry flies. Finally, after a long wait, flows have dropped to a manageable level on the Colorado River near State Bridge and Pumphouse and large trout that haven’t seen flies for a couple of months are now realistic targets for fly fishermen.

Eagle River

This is primetime Eagle River fly-fishing season. It doesn’t get any better than this anywhere else in the Rocky Mountain region. The summer caddis hatch is on and yellow sallies and PMDs also factor heavily into the daily menu of Eagle River brown and rainbow trout. By far the best way to experience the Eagle right now is on a float trip. Floating the Eagle in a raft rowed by a professional fly-fishing guide allows anglers to experience the Eagle and access water unreachable by wading anglers while flows remain high.

Hot Flies: Guides Choice No. 16. Tan Stimulator No. 16, Tan foam caddis No. 14, Barr’s PMD Emerger No. 16.

Colorado River

Spring runoff has subsided and flows are dropping on the Colorado and the fishing is definitely picking up with more manageable river conditions. With current river flows at 3,300 cubic feet per second and dropping, and ideal water temperatures, bugs are hatching and the trout are eating. Float fishing is the best option here and wade fishermen should seek out slower holes. Look for hatching PMDs, caddis and small stoneflies. The upper Colorado near Pumphouse is offering the best fishing. The lower river is high and with tough fishing below Glenwood Springs. At Pumphouse, try big attractor dry flies, PMDs and caddis patterns.

Hot flies: Chubby Chernobyl, PinK Worms, Quasiomodo Pheasant Tail.

Roaring Fork River

Flows are dropping on the Fork and it is just coming into prime summer shape. Green drakes are hatching between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs in the evening. The best summer fly-fishing of the year is about to explode on the Roaring Fork with green drakes, caddis, PMDs and yellow sallies driving the fish on this gold-medal trout fishery into a feeding frenzy. Awesome dry fly and nymphing action is on the menu. Float fishing is the best way to experience one of Colorado’s best trout fisheries as high flows currently limit wading anglers.

Hot Flies: Cripple Drake, Twenty Incher, Tan Elk Hair Caddis, Fly Formerly Known as Prince.

Boat time?

The best way for visiting anglers to experience the best of Colorado’s fly-fishing in the heart of Rocky Mountain trout country is with an experienced, professional fly-fishing guide. Book your half-day or full-day wade or float fly-fishing trip with Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards. We are a fully insured, licensed and permitted outfitter with local, knowledgeable guides and we will provide an incredible outdoor experience for any ability level from complete beginners to longtime expert fly fishermen. Welcome to Trout Country!

Brody Henderson is a senior guide at Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.

Support Local Journalism