Vail Valley fishing report
Vail, CO Colorado
There are few fish in the world that command the respect of anglers and demand it as well.
In the salt water, there is the peculiar and ever-so selective permit, the human sized tarpon (aka the biggest minnow in the world), and the skittish bonefish that will take you and break you over and over.
These world-class game fish can be tamed by those who think they have what it takes. But it takes years to develop and hone the skills necessary to cast to and then land one of them. Even if the stars are aligned, your cast perfect and the offering dead on; it’s all up to the fish.
In the Rockies we have trout. Although there are not nearly as many variables associated with trout fishing as to saltwater fishing, they demand more respect than most freshwater species.
For the majority of prime trout fishing, typically during periods of warm weather, they can be extremely selective and picky. This is even more true for trout that are heavily pressured.
It’s very possible to catch these fish, but at times it’s seemingly impossible to catch the 20-pound-plus beauty that stole your breath the first time you saw her.
Fish of that caliber did not become large, healthy, and pretty because they were dumb. They became large, elusive, distinguished rarities because of quality genetics and an undying respect from anglers. Every time an angler caught that fish he handled her with care because he knew the potential she possessed.
He knew that next time she was caught it would be harder than previously. She would be wiser, stronger and eventually become the prize catch of the river. Anyone who noticed how large she was also realized she was smart, possessed shear strength and had matured into an amazing specimen; one of a kind.
We found a fish like this; a magnificent rainbow that possessed more color and energy than any fish in the water, and was purely wild. Every time we went to the Gore we would go to the same spot and sight cast to her. We would methodically contemplate what my offering was going to be, quietly approach with confidence and cast with more delicacy and accuracy than we would for any other fish.
Sometimes we would get lucky and she would actually look, checkout my fly, and then reject it. But more often than not, if she noticed it, she would promptly move out of the way or act as if it did not exist.
Even though this was typical every time we fished for her, we never gave up. The chance to tame that fish and hold her just once drove us crazy. That rainbow eluded us for almost a year.
And when the Gore became mostly ice-free this year, we went right back to where she would be only to find she was not there. We were crushed but humbled at the same time.
It was amazing to me that I was able to cast to her numerous times without ever scaring. At some point something or someone moved her and she left. It was like losing a friend. We knew we would never get a take from that rainbow, but it was fun trying.
And eventually the saga will start all over again.