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Vail Valley fishing report

Miles Comeau
Vail, CO Colorado
With cooler weather, it's time to change up your flies to catch that big trout.
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With winter finally here, the opportunities for targeting larger trout will become seemingly realistic as weather continues to cool.

The pressure is off and the food supply is limited compared to the busy summer months when fishing is at its peak and there is more food than the fish know what to do with.

From now until high water runoff, your fly selection is very minimal and basic. Small sizes in BW’s, midges, eggs and streamers during spawning season will work most of the year on freestone rivers. Fish in these watersheds will be centrally located in the deepest pools where water is still moving and ice will not affect the habitat. Midges and BWOs will be the common fly to fish.



Midges can emerge all winter long where ever there is open water. Blue wings will come off most of the winter when air temps approach freezing and above.

Tail waters are the ticket for catching the big trout. These waters are notorious for holding large fish and fishing all year long. The constant food supply coming from reservoirs as-well-as the consistent water flows and temperatures make for a remarkable habitat. The pressure is typically nonexistent and the fish are more than willing to eat. They often go weeks between seeing flies and or human activity.



Great tail waters can be in accessible in the winter months. Snowshoeing, skinning or driving a sled is the easiest way if not the only way in. The journey is more demanding but the reward is usually great.

Depending on the reservoir feeding into the tailwater will determine what flies one should use. This can vary from mysiss shrimp, scuds, emerging baetis, streamers or egg patterns.

A few great tail waters include the Yampa below Stagecoach Reservoir, the Taylor, the Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir, the Frying pan and multiple tailwaters on the South Platte.



If solitude and catching large fish is your idea of a good day, spend the time and effort needed to gain access to the wonderful locations.

For tips, hot flies and suggestions contact Alpine River Outfitters. Or stop by to tell a few lies and see what is on sale.

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


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