Vail Valley fishing report
Vail, CO Colorado
The water in the valley and beyond has definitely sustained high flows over the past week. Although the flows are high, the water has been clear for the most part and the fishing has been lights out.-
Most notably, fishing the dry fly has been super-productive for how high the water is. This has proven true for our home river, the Eagle, along with the Colorado, and Roaring Fork Rivers. Our neighboring tailwaters, the Frying Pan and Yampa Rivers, have also been fishing excellently.
The previous week on the Eagle has been deceiving. The water is high yet clear. This has led to many fish taken on the dry fly. We’re seeing good numbers of adult caddis on the water along with big golden stoneflies. Floating is obviously still the best way to hit the Eagle at this level, but there are still a few public water options that will provide decent wading access during high flows.
Inquire at your local fly shop for these specific spots and the staff should be able to point you in the right direction.–
The Colorado River has also fished equally as well. After the fish got used to seeing and eating the huge, orange salmon flies that were in abundance a few weeks ago, they’ve been consistently feeding with no regard on the pale morning duns (PMDs): another small mayfly with a pinkish color.-
One of the most productive rigs we’ve seen is throwing a yellow sally dry fly on the surface and dropping a PMD emerger below it with a few feet of tippet.
Last week on the Roaring Fork River has been a memorable one. Consistent with the other freestone rivers in the area, the flows have been high but clear and the fishing, both on and below the surface, has been classic.
The green drakes have started to wiggle and the fish are looking up for them. The green drake hatch really is an impressive one – one that can offer the fish more of an opportunity than the fisherman.-These are large, mostly green and brown mayflies that the fish love to see almost as much as us fishermen.-
Why do they like the drakes so much? Before their final emergence, these nymphs will migrate to a calm section of water and swim back and forth, up and down, to the surface. When the conditions are perfect, the nymph arches his/her abdomen forward over the thorax.
This pressure causes the wing pad to split or crack while floating on the surface.-This prolonged hatching process makes the bug available to the fish for a longer period of time while drifting on the top of the water, which these fish take full advantage of!-
The other good thing about this hatch is that the trout will retain a “memory” of these large mayflies for several weeks and will still willingly eat an imitation of these large mayflies weeks after the actual “hatch” itself.- We hope to see some solid dry fly action on both of these rivers in the next few weeks.
Moral of the story here is – go fish the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers if you’ve got a day off (or call in sick) and get some green drake action before it’s gone.-Or stay closer to home and hit the Eagle, the Gore when it comes down, or go float the Colorado.-
We’ll see you on the river!
Blake Knisely is a guide for Alpine River Outfitters. He can be reached at 970-926-0900.-
Eagle/Colorado – Rogue river golden stone, morris’ foam golden stone, elk hair caddis and all other caddis imitations, crystal stimulators, gummy stone, thurminator, sparkle pupa caddis, barr’s PMD emerger, yellow sallies, and streamers.
Roaring Fork/Frying Pan – Big green drake dry flies of all flavors, along with the nymph as a dropper. PMD’s, prince nymphs, buckskin caddis, and streamers.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.