Vail Valley fishing report |

Vail Valley fishing report

Miles Comeau
Vail, CO Colorado

Welcome to the end of runoff and the beginning of storybook fly fishing as it has been told. Now that we have endured the recent 20-year record flows, fly fishing may commence.

It seemed possible that there would be no fish left in the river by the time runoff was over. But the fact of the matter is that fish evolved over eons to resist the power of runoff and it has not fazed them except to make them hungry and eager to eat.

A subsequent effect of forceful runoff, especially to freestone-rivers like the Eagle, is a cleaner, stronger and healthier environment after an intense scouring by Mother Nature.

These extreme water flows have removed sediment and debris that has settled on the river beds. In addition, the river has widened and been made deeper in various areas throughout which translates into more holding water and better trout habitat.

If you haven’t looked at the Eagle lately, take a peek. The water clarity is almost perfect for floating and flows are at 1,000 cubic feet per second and dropping. Milk and Alkali creeks, below Wolcott, have waned to a trickle which has vastly improved clarity on the lower Eagle and is comparable to the upper sections. Flows on the Eagle from Minturn up are low and clarity is crystal clear.

Now that flows are steadily dropping every day, anglers can expect to see water temperatures rise. This translates into amazing hatches which means dry fly fishing!

As water temps progressively increase, aquatic insects are triggered to hatch and continue on with their main purpose in life: Procreation.

The Eagle River watershed is known for prolific caddis fly hatches. It is truly one of the best in Colorado. In a matter of a week or two, caddis will begin to rise to the surface periodically throughout the summer and into late fall. Fish key in on the emerging flies and will sip them before they hatch. After a few days they caddis flies will return to the water to lay their eggs and die. Fish take advantage of this easy meal.

Imitating these cycles presents great dry fly fishing and is an extremely-effective method for catching hungry trout.

Of the many species of aquatic insects found in rivers they can be broken down into four basic families: Mayflies, caddis flies, stoneflies and Midge flies.

On many of the rivers in Colorado you can expect to see blue wing olives (BWO’s), pale morning duns (PMD’s), golden stoneflies (yellow Sallies), caddis, green Drakes, and midge flies which fit into one of the families mentioned above.

Knowing the timing and specific elements required for inducing these hatches will afford anglers amazing dry fly fishing throughout the summer and the rest of fishing season.

If you want to know what’s hatching, call us here in the shop and get the skinny.

As runoff comes to an end so will floating the Eagle River. Only a few weeks are left before water levels drop and are no longer floatable. And if you have ever wanted to fish a section of the Eagle that looked amazing and private, now is your chance to float through it and fish to wild trout that seldom see flies.

Call us here at Alpine River Outfitters for information on float trips at 970-926-0900

Local rivers

The Eagle below Avon is at 962 cubic feet per second and clarity is next to perfect.

On the Colorado below Kremmling, it is flowing at 2, 800 C.F.S. and dropping. Clarity is improving daily.

The Gore Creek in Vail is flowing at 321 C.F.S. and clarity is good.

Support Local Journalism