Vail Valley fishing report
Vail, CO Colorado
Spring is officially here in the Vail Valley and the weather conditions are typical for spring in the Rockies: 60 degrees and sunny one day with snow and rain the next. As the saying goes here in Colorado: “If you don’t like the weather, wait about 15 minutes.”
With these variable conditions comes a dramatic increase in bug activity which ultimately means that the fish wake up from their winter slumber and start to feed like they’ve never seen a fly before. Spring fishing can certainly present some of the best fishing opportunities of the year for anglers, so get out and take advantage of it while the fishing is hot.
These fish have been in hiding all winter long, hanging out in the deepest pools they can find eagerly awaiting any meal that passes them by. Their food source in the winter is very much limited compared to what is available to them now.
In the winter, these trout survive on tiny midges and other small larvae and a variety of nymphs. These larvae and nymphs are also awaiting a certain water temperature and phase of the moon that tells them when to wake up and wiggle and eventually hatch.
The main fare for these fish right now are a variety of things, but they’re mostly keyed in on midges and a species of mayfly commonly referred to as the blue winged olive. We start to see the blue winged olives hatch and become more active this time of year and they’ll continue to hatch sporadically during the spring, summer, and fall when the conditions are right.
These fish will also feed voraciously on stonefly nymphs as they start to molt and prepare for their annual ritual of hatching and mating – this typically happens in June. This is the next big event that us angling addicts start planning sick days around. Because when it’s on, the last place you want to be is sitting at work day dreaming of hummingbird-size bugs floating helplessly in the current only to find their fate at the jaws of a hopefully big, hungry trout.
Until then, we can find endless hours of fishing entertainment before run-off hits our area watersheds. The Colorado River has been fishing very well below Glenwood Springs. We’ve seen some great action floating different stretches between Two Rivers and Rifle.
Deep nymphing with a lot of split shot was the most productive way to get to the bigger fish, yet each afternoon, we had a chance to throw dry flies to rising fish, which is a great way to mix it up.
The same goes for the Roaring Fork River, where the fishing has been consistently productive during the whole month of March. The Eagle has been red hot and will continue to fish well as the water rises and floating season begins. Don’t forget about the area lakes, as ice-off can be the best time of the year to see the larger fish in the shallows looking for their next meal.
A special note
Please pay attention as you’re wading around on all of our area’s rivers right now as the rainbows are still spawning and doing their thing. Do not fish to these fish that are still on their beds. Leave them be and take special caution not to step on their reds so that we can continue to see a new generation of trout thrive.
Stop by your local shop and ask for advice and the guys behind the counter should point you in the right direction. Get out and get the goods while the gettin’ is good.
We’ll see you on the river.