Vail Valley fishing report
Vail, CO Colorado
Although trout fishing is great right now, I think it is time to change it up a bit.
Before I do, let it be known that the Eagle River is fishing really well. It is mostly nymph fishing and using small may fly emergers and midge patterns will be the key to catching more fish.
The water is low so that means you will have to move larger distances to find good holding water. They will be posted up in deeper water where the habitat is better.
This is a good chance to practice reading water and finding more productive holes.
For the next couple of weeks while the brown trout are in pre-spawn, pike fishing is a great opportunity to change up the catch. These are extremely aggressive fish where the take is as much fun as the fight.
Stagecoach Reservoir and the lower Yampa River are great bodies of water to find pike in. Pike are some of the largest predators found in Colorado waterways. They often feed on other fish that can be up to half their body size and sometimes bigger.
Pike fishing is best done with 6-8 weight rods and fishing large streamer patterns.
Fishing for pike on the Yampa River, anglers should use floating lines with a 9-foot leader. A straight section of 10-12 pound test monofilament or a toothy critter leader from Rio will present the best option for a leader.
In the mornings and evenings pike will be the most active. Cast toward structure and let the fly sink and use a moderately aggressive stripping pattern to entice the fish. Try using a large leech in black or dark olive and a tequilly or even a double bunny leech.
Towards the middle of the day, pike will move towards the middle of the river where water is cooler. Cast along the drop off next to the main channel. Wait longer for the fly to sink due to the change in depth of water and slow your stripping pattern down because the fish are less active.
If you are fishing at Stagecoach Reservoir, keep in mind water level is low and the technique is different. Using a sinking line or a sinking tip on a float line is the best option. The same style of leaders mentioned above will work as well.
Pike will still be more active in the mornings and evenings. You may have luck catching them on the shelf off the banks before dropping in to the main body of the lake during these times. But anticipate the majority of the pike will be slightly below the shelf waiting for unsuspecting fish to swim into the open water.
Don’t forget that large flies catch large fish and the possibility for catching large trout out of Stagecoach Reservoir while targeting pike can happen as well. Run double streamer rigs and use flies in sizes 2-6.
You can expect to have your leaders chewed apart and flies destroyed after only a couple of catches. Pike have mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and can cut you up nicely.
Bring extra of everything. And don’t forget to wear your big boy pants.
Miles Comeau is a guide for Alpine River Outfitters in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.