Vail Valley fishing report
Vail, CO Colorado
The spring weather here in the valley has been wet and cooler for the most part, but the precipitation we’ve received is really keeping the area rivers high and mighty.-
Although the water is high, there are still many options for a bent rod and a great day on the river. The Eagle and Colorado rivers are both still experiencing runoff but are still fishing well on most days.-
Most notably, the salmonfly hatch on the Colorado River from State Bridge to Pumphouse is in full-effect and should not be missed. Just seeing these huge, orange adult flies of hummingbird size proportion fluttering over the river and mating in the willows is a sight to see even to a non-angler.-
The number of bugs we’ve seen this year is impressive compared to years past and the dry fly fishing has been equally impressive.-The water is still off-color but these fish are definitely looking up and are keyed in on the bug’s large, orange profile and are ready and willing to eat it.
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If throwing enormous dry flies appeals to you, go fish the Colorado now and get in on the action before it’s too late. These bugs are moving upstream and the fish will be in their feeding frenzy on the salmonfly for the next week or so. There is excellent public wading access at Pumphouse where you can park and hike up into the Gore Canyon for miles and throw dry flies to your heart’s delight.-
If you’re not in the mood for hiking, get on a boat and float.-
The Eagle River is no exception during high water as it is dramatically affected by snowmelt and precipitation and can be day-to-day during the runoff.-However, the area signs for the end of runoff are indicating that the water should start to recede in the coming weeks and with the falling water levels will come phenomenal fishing on the Eagle.-
The caddis are out and about and coming off in great numbers so we’re looking forward to superb dry fly action once the water clears. It doesn’t take much clarity for the Eagle to fish well so we’ll be watching it closely every day and will be fishing streamers until we make the switch to dry flies. We’ve also seen a good number of golden stonefly nymphs near the banks so we’re hoping to see them in more abundance along with its black relative, highlighted in last week’s fishing report.- –
If you’re looking for a higher altitude retreat, you can always drive up past Red Cliff and fish the Homestake Creek Recreation Area. There are about 8 miles of this beautiful meadow stream that holds smaller, less picky, and hungry brown trout, brook trout, as well as cutthroat trout. It is running clear and flowing steadily around 70 cubic feet per second … a perfect place to get away for an afternoon!-
Don’t overlook the high mountain lakes in the area as they can also provide a full day enjoying our public wilderness areas while getting some exercise.-
Blake Knisely is a guide for Alpine Rover Outfitters in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.
Eagle River/Gore Creek – Streamers – black, white, olive, and yellow; elk hair caddis, stimulators; caddis emergers; golden stonefly; flashy attractor nymphs.
Colorado – Salmonfly, salmonfly, salmonfly; orange foam salmonflies of any kind; nymphs – Pat’s rubberleg and girdle bugs – orange and black. —
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.