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Vail Valley fishing report

Miles Comeau
Vail, CO Colorado
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VAIL, Colorado – The Colorado Wildlife Commission is responsible for designating and establishing guidelines for gold medal rivers and streams in Colorado. With more than 9,000 miles of trout streams, fewer than 168 miles make the cut.

Waterways that make the cut are the highest quality of aquatic habitat and provide great opportunities for large trout.

Don’t think of gold-medal streams as more dumb fish than you can shake a rod at; guaranteed, they are smarter than you think. Trout don’t break the 20-inch mark with pheasant tails hanging from their lip.

Gore Creek, from Red Sandstone Road to its confluence of the Eagle River, is a designated gold-medal stream.

Any angler who has ever fished the Gore has felt the frustration of spooking large trout, sight casting to monsters and being rejected time after time.

But for those who have paid their dues the reward is greater than any frustration. It’s not uncommon to catch trout in the 20-plus range or obtain the coveted grand slam – brown, brook, cutthroat, and rainbow in one day. Or catch absolutely nothing.

As water levels recede, more pockets and riffles are becoming available. The water is still swift and pockets are generally deep in lower sections. Flows at Vail are in the 360s and near the confluence flows are hovering above 300 cubic feet per second (CFS).

Quick mends, small tippet, and tiny flies are the tools of choice. Keep your eye out for the occasional green drake, with many more to come.-

On the Eagle, out of a scale of 1-10, flows are a strong 6.5 and rising for wade fishing. Water clarity is great from Wolcott upstream with the occasional murky patches coming from stream restoration above the confluence of the Gore and Eagle.

Because the Eagle is a freestone river, there are no dams to control flows, just runoff and rain.

Below Wolcot clarity is improving. With little to no rain in the forecast for the next few days, Milk and Alkali Creek should slow and improve water clarity towards Eagle.

As flows continue to stay lower than 1,000 CFS – 866 for Wednesday – anglers are anticipating wading to improve vastly.

Several kinds of caddis are available for trout to feed on. Look for smaller caddis in the 14-18 size. Dark bodies with tan wings and tan bodies, tan wings and antennae the same length of the body.

Anglers should anticipate the upcoming PMD, green drake, and yellow sally hatches as water levels drop. Mayfly larva is abundant in the river and could be distracting trout from rising on caddis.

The Colorado as of late has been improving in clarity and flows are dropping quickly each day. Flows as of Wednesday are below 3,000 CFS. Clarity is great from Pumphouse to Radium. Be wary of Sheepherders Creek and rain at Radium.

As caddis hatches slowly dissipate expect PMDs, drakes, and yellow sallies to take their place.

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

Hot flies-

Dries, elk hair caddis (tan, olive, and peacock) Nos. 10-16, spent caddis Nos. 14-16, yellow sally Nos. 14-16, stimulators (chartreuse, olive, and peacock) Nos. 12-18-

nymphs, BH barr emerger (pmd and bwo) Nos. 16-18, copper john chartreuse Nos. 14-18, fb ph tail Nos.16-20.


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