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Vail Valley fishing report

Scott Graham
Vail, CO Colorado
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How did it happen so fast?-

I was wading a stream on a hot Fourth of July weekend. I rigged a huge dry fly to hold up a nymph rig. It was a long cast up the bank just a foot off the shore. As the fly approached my feet I was thinking of starting the next cast.

Then, bam … he ate it. —



The fish took the pattern so subtly and before I knew it he took off to the middle of the river, jumped and broke off. That fish left me confused, happy, and thinking what the heck just happened? Little did I know I was about to have the best day of my life.-

That is what I love about fly fishing. It’s such a great sport because each time you fish you learn something new. Every once in a while, something exciting will rock you’re world, leaving you lusting for more. It’s a sport where some days you’re a hero, but most of the time, you’re a zero. That’s what’s great.-



As time goes by, you fish more and more and more.Your family wonders where you are, your girlfriend hates you, and your job is on the line everyday. You become engulfed in the sport. Hatches are listed on the calendar and days off are swallowed by time on the water.

Tying flies becomes daily routine, and everyday, you come up with something new, more trick, to fool those fish. Fly rods become fixtures on the top of your truck and your new boat cost more than your old truck. This is when you become a certified “Trout Bum.”-

From midges to salmon flies, each new season brings a different bug, new technique, and another notch to cross off the list. This year, we’ve survived the brutal cold of midging, then thawed out with the blue winged olives and finally got our game together with salmon flies. By now casting is fine-tuned, bug selection is on point, and big fish are in trouble.–



-The green drake has arrived and every fish in the river knows it. Every cast can be the fish of a lifetime. Green drakes are the king of the mayfly world. They flourish in cold mountain streams, which we are so lucky to have in our backyard.

Green drakes are known as the “Highlight Hatch” for anglers around the world. The western green drakes wide distribution range extends from California across the western states and provinces to as far North as the Yukon and Alaska.

The drakes generally hatch towards the beginning of July and stay on the water for two to three weeks.-Water temps and weather can affect the hatch. Late season storms and higher run-off can delay the emergence. We can assume the heavy rains and cold temperatures of June have delayed the hatch a few weeks this year.

The Eagle and Gore both see some emergence of the drake. If you’re lucky enough and catch it right fishing is phenomenal. The best, however, the Roaring Fork, is just a short drive away.-The Fork is famous for the green drake and the time is now.-

The bugs are just starting on the lower river and fishing should be insane for the next 10 days. The hatch will move up river each day so stay in tune with your local fly shop for the latest info.-

-If you like fishing big dry flies consider tomorrow a powder day and get to the Roaring Fork.

Scott Graham is a guide for Alpine River Outfitters. When not being a trout bum, he can be reached at 970-926-0900.

Hot Flies: All dries…- GT adult drake Nos. 10-12, Andy’s cripple Nos. 10-12, Furimsky’s BDE #10-12, hair wing drake Nos. 10-12, Elk hair caddis (tan, peacock, olive) Nos. 12-18, Nymphs: No. 12 prince, No. 12 pheasant tail, No. 12 anatomical drake


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