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Vail Valley fishing report

Brody Henderson
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyWith a mild fall so far, fishing conditions are excellent on our local waters.
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The calendar may say we’re well into autumn but the weather lately seems more like summer.

Normally, by this time of year, we’ve had at least one good snow. However, anglers have been taking advantage of the mild conditions and the fly fishing has been great on areas streams.

Soon enough it will be ski season, the snow will be piling up and fishing opportunities will become more limited. For now though, the trout in our region are in their prime. They’re fat and happy after a long season of eating well, water temperatures are ideal, and we’ve still got some great hatches happening out there on the water.



Our home river, the Eagle is low and clear. A few folks have voiced some concerns about the water levels but there is no need to worry. Stream flows are only slightly below normal and because of the cooler nights the water temperatures are in the preferred range for trout.

We are seeing daily hatches of tricos and midges in the morning and blue winged olives later in the day. A variety of smaller nymph patterns such as Barr emerger’s, flash RS-2, and biot emergers are producing very well throughout the day.



The savy fly fisherman will also seem some fish sipping on the surface of slower runs and tailouts beginning mid-morning and a stealthily-presented parachute adams or spotlight emerger in gray or olive will be rewarded with a take. When the weather turns nasty stay on the water and break out the streamer box for some wild action.

Elsewhere, the Colorado River between Pumphouse and Dotsero has been fishing well. October is usually one of the best months to fish the Colorado. Wade fishermen can do well nymphing riffles and runs with standard attractor patterns like princes and copper johns.

The challenge can be keeping the whitefish off of your line. They school up in spawning groups and provide steady action. Floating is probably a slightly better option to really take advantage of the Colorado this month.



The mobile float fishermen can spend time searching out rising fish in eddies and along bank structure. Hatches have been consistent with blue-winged olives, red quills, and caddis all making an appearance. The hopper fishing is holding up as well and a large PMX or noble Chernobyl will pound up some of the larger trout.

As with the Eagle there is nothing better than throwing streamers and covering lots of water on the Colorado when some foul weather rolls in. This is some of the best fishing the Colorado has to offer all year long and it is the angler’s best chance at landing one of the Colorado’s large predatory brown trout.

Other area streams are also giving some good numbers of trout. Gore Creek has been fishing much like the Eagle, although the extremely low and clear water conditions make sight a necessity. Sneak along the bank and then find your target and fish to the trout until he spooks or eats or fly.

The Roaring Fork River has really turned on after a hot summer. Cooler nights have the fish feeding steadily and this time of year is when some monster browns begin to move into “The Fork” and out of the lower Colorado.

Egg patterns will really work well for anglers who find the whitefish and the fish below them where the trout are waiting for an easy source of food. Hatches on the Fork mimic those found on the Eagle and Colorado. Both wader fishermen and floaters can have great days this month on the Gold Medal Roaring Fork River.

Take advantage of the great weather we’ve been fortunate enough to have this month. The fishing is as good as it gets and we’ve only got a short window until winter fishing conditions prevail.

Stop by Alpine River Outfitters in Riverwalk to find out what our guides are using for hot flies. Nobody knows our local water better. For any gear needs, we have many rods and reels on sale and we always take care of locals and vacationers.

Brody Henderson is a guide at Alpine River Outfitters in Edwards. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.


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