Go Play: The best fishing and flies for Eagle County rivers in August
Special to the Free Press
EAGLE COUNTY — Floating or wading, big rivers or small creeks, the fly-fishing in and around the Vail Valley is off the charts right now.
The Eagle River has benefited from recent rains and flows are holding steady, remaining nice and cold for local trout. With more clear, cool water over on the Colorado River, flows are now ideal for floating anywhere between Pumphouse and Dotsero.
Down in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Gold Medal Roaring Fork River is also running at prime levels for great fishing. And, for the adventurous angler willing to do a little hiking, High Country lakes and creeks are also fishing very well.
Eagle County’s home water, the Eagle River, has been fishing very well for almost a month now. With steady monsoons bolstering flows, float fishermen are still enjoying dependable dry fly action with plenty of hatching caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies keeping the trout looking toward the surface. Wade fishermen are also doing very well now that the river has dropped enough to allow anglers to access prime nymphing holes. Look for the fishing to remain good through next week.
Hot flies: Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, Guide’s Choice, Yellow Foam Stone, Outrigger Caddis, Missing Link Caddis.
After a long wait, the Colorado is now running clear and low enough to offer anglers great action both on the surface and underneath. The water has receded enough so that fishing the banks is now a good option with large attractor dry flies suspending bead head nymph patterns. When afternoon clouds roll in, the streamer bit has been very good. The more remote sections of the Colorado near Catamount and Pinball are a good option for anglers looking to escape the crowds found near Pumphouse and State Bridge. PMDs are hatching daily and the hopper bite has already begun.
Hot flies: Quasimodo Pheasant Tail, Red Copper John, Royal PMX, Chubby Chernobyl, Bite-Me Buggers.
Roaring Fork River
The “Fork” is producing reliably excellent fly-fishing, especially in the morning and the last hour before dark. Float anglers should concentrate on the lower river from Carbondale to Glenwood Springs, while wading flyfishermen should head upstream to Jaffee Park near Aspen. Insect hatches include good numbers of caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies on the lower Roaring Fork, while on the upper reaches these hatches are augmented with a strong Green Drake hatch. Some big trout over 20 inches have been showing up in our guide’s nets on recent float trips.
Hot flies: Psycho Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Twenty Incher, Yellow PMX, Patriot, Tan Stimulator.
The best fishing of the year is now happening on small, High Country creeks and lakes. And the best news for anglers is the fishing is relatively straight-forward, involving more hiking effort than complicated fishing tactics. A small box of attractor dry flies, some tippet and floatant should get you into some beautiful brookies and cutthroats that rarely see a fly. Try Cross Creek, Missouri Lakes, or book a hike-and-fish trip with a local guide outfit to experience some incredible fly-fishing in a scenic, high mountain destination.
Brody Henderson is a senior guide at Vail Valley Anglers in Edwards and can be reached at 970-926-0900.
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