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Vail Valley fishing report

Miles Comeau
Vail, CO Colorado
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Now that fall is here, fishing techniques are changing.

The cooler weather requires knowledge of different types of aquatic species of insects, as well as approaching and reading the water with new insight.

The cooler weather has brought on various species of midge larva, mayflies, stoneflies and caddis species that are specific to the fall time frame. Much like plants, as cooler weather and shorter days become more prevalent, plants will begin to lose leaves and change to fall colors.



The same catalysts that cause this reaction in plants are synonymous with aquatic insects. The cooler water and air temperatures in addition to shorter days are sign that conditions are perfect for hatching and mating.

These are instinctual patterns that have been happening for eons. Fish react to this fall phenomenon just like they would any other hatch that happens throughout the year.



Now that Labor Day has passed and the valley is beginning to quite down for the shoulder season, the Eagle River becomes one of the best unknown fisheries around. This partially due to the fact that there are very few people fishing, which reduces the pressure the fish receive. And that the brown trout are spawning and very active.

The October caddis is one of the largest species known to our area and specific to the Eagle River Watershed. This caddis larva is very active this time of year and can be expected to hatch here in the next few weeks.

Fishing an orange colored nymph in the 10-12 size range or using a 8-10 sized orange stimulator can work well for keying in on this species. Large olive colored stoneflies are moving around in the Eagle as well. Although using the dry fly is seldom productive, a nymph is very productive.



The olive pat’s rubber-legs in a size 4-6 are great imitations for thislarge bug.

Now for mayflies, blue winged olives reign king for the rest of the year. The pale morning duns are dissipating because the weather is too cool and the water temps are dropping. Blue winged olives or BWOs begin to thrive in this kind of weather. Overcast skies, rain or when water temperatures are near air temperatures, BWOs will be active.

Even in the winter months when air temps are slightly above freezing these insects will be hatching. Barr’s emergers, RS2s, WD 50s, micro mayflies or any small emerging pattern in grey, olive or black ranging in sizes 18-24 will do the trick.

For dries try using small parachute Adams in the same sizes or small extended body BWO’s in grey or olive.

Last but not least, midge patterns. Midge flies could be considered the aquatic equivalent of gnats or house flies; all though never reaching the size of a house fly. Fishing midge patterns requires no science degree or a vast knowledge of this insect.

The basic rules are:

• Keep it small, sizes 18-24

• Appropriate colors: black, olive, grey and red in the winter work best

• Presentation, place the fly according to where the fish are in the water column. Keep the drift natural. The water is very low this time of year and most fish of size will be in holding water once the weather is very cool.

This is true with exception of spawning fish which will be on sand bars and at the end of runs where the water is less turbulent and they will make redds, or spawning beds.

For more information on local waters or answers to questions stop by the shop or give us a call.

Miles Comeau is a guide for Alpine River Outfitters in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.


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