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Vail Valley Anglers
Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Catch the Easy Fish | Approaching Fishing Holes with Purpose

There’s probably no such thing as a truly ‘easy’ fish, but some fish make themselves easier to catch than others. Some fish hold in obvious spots, while others hold in water that the angler may not think to fish at first glance. Many years ago now, I took a float trip on the Deschutes River in Oregon near the town of Madras. This river is unusual in that while boats containing fishermen are allowed, fishing from the boat is prohibited. The mode of operation would be to f...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Introduction to Euro Nymphing

Guest Contributor: Jack Arnot

European or “Euro” Nymphing is a versatile and extremely effective style of fishing that allows you to fish efficiently. You can achieve the depth required at a faster rate and stay incredibly connected to your flies throughout a drift. Euro Nymphing may sound like a “mystery” because it wasn't originated here in the United States, but in fact has been the main style of fishing in European countries for a very long period of tim...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

How to choose a Fly rod Part 1 | The Basics

Are you thinking about buying a new fly rod? Or perhaps just entering the world of fly fishing? Shopping around can lead to a huge variety of fly rods made in different sizes, lengths and rod materials. So why are there so many choices for a fly angler to decipher? The basic rods any fly angler should know about are dry fly, nymph, streamer and saltwater rods. Rod actions A primer on rod actions helps anglers to dive into the variety of choices available for different types of fly fis...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

High Water Bugs | How big is too big?

The major flex of run off has shown its strength and is now beginning to relinquish the high water patterns our rivers have been experiencing. As the volume in our rivers begins to diminish float fishing becomes a special way to fish. The water is at an enjoyable level to float and the fish are ready to put on the feedbag. Increasing the size of your fly is a good option for the changing water conditions. But how big is too big? What is happening in the river? The rivers although pas...

Fly Fishing Gear Reviews

Product Review | Echo Fly Rods

The ECHO rod company has surged ahead with an arsenal of fly rods to cover any fly fishing situation. Sweet little creek rods, heavy backboned beach rods and extended length two handed chuckers, ECHO has designed a fly rod for your casting style and preferred approach. Easy on the pocketbook and stacked full of quality components ECHO fly rods are guaranteed to make you smile. Just to touch on a few of the opportunities ECHO supplies for fly fishing (see Vail Valley Anglers website for th...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Tailwater Tour | How to Escape Runoff

Sitting inside tying big foam bugs during runoff is great and all, but at some point you have to get on the water to satisfy that itch! Break out the size 22’s and 6x, but be prepared for some serious studs. The Vail Valley area is in a perfect central location to get to some of the state’s best tailwaters. To the south/west you’ve got the Frying Pan and Taylor, and to the north/east you have your choice between the Blue and Williams Fork. There are a few others, but tho...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Trout in Tight Quarters | Finding Fish in New Places

I first came across the term “shoebox lie” in the weekly outdoors column of my hometown newspaper. The authors talked about picking trout out of small lies along the banks and behind small rocks. All anglers know that trout need a break from the current. But let’s think about that more literally: they can’t have their body being pushed by heavy current, because they would have to expend too much energy to fight it. So, if a trout’s body only takes up a blob in th...

Salt Water Fly Fishing

Lessons from the Everglades

The pursuit of fish defines fishing. Planning a trip for over a year only to arrive and have the complete opposite of your expectation can be a difficult pill to swallow. Spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to earn the ability to chase fish, is what it is. Fishing is unpredictable and can easily be thwarted by many factors. Knowing how to handle less than idea conditions or company will make a learning experience out of any trip. It will happen to every angler at some point. No matter h...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Arkansas River | May Caddis Hatch

The Arkansas River is one of the most popular destination waters to fly fish in Colorado. With a Gold Medal designation there are a lot of reasons why this river receives the attention it does. The Arkansas is a river that is friendly to float fishing and to wade fishing, so any angler can find some section of the “Ark” to explore. Predominately a wild brown trout fishery healthy Hofer strain rainbows are encountered too in this river only with less frequency. If there was a prime...

Fly Fishing News Vail Colorado

Mothers on the Fly | Natalie Bennion

Natalie Bennion (@a_ladys_angle) is first a wife and mother of two - but what caught our attention about Natalie and her online presence was her fishy-ness, her photography and her positivity. In a recent interview she was kind enough to share with us a glimpse into her busy life and boy, was it a breath of fresh air. This mother's day we celebrate the female outdoorswomen who are paving the way, figuring it out, and making it happen. Thank you moms!

What is your biggest pet p...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

A Crash Course in Stillwater Tactics

Like most fly fishermen, most of my experience is in fishing rivers. However, all the FFTUSA events I have competed in have included at least one stillwater session. For this reason, I have had to put a lot of work in to improve my lake game. Here are my thoughts on how to start solving the stillwater puzzle. Equipment The single most important piece of equipment when fishing stillwaters is a sinking fly line. This is why so many anglers grouse about fishing lakes, saying that they do...

Salt Water Fly Fishing

Saltwater Fly Fishing | A Focus on Snook

When fly anglers take the plunge to enter the world of saltwater fly fishing, the style of adventure an angler wants to experience develops into personal goals to achieve - whether it is a wading angler chasing bonefish and permit on tropical flats or a fly fisher targeting tarpon from the bow of a skiff. The goal is the same to conquer new species and environments, to push our fly fishing experience into new realms. When it comes to South Florida and fly fishing in saltwater, Snook top the l...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

What to Expect from your Local Fly Shop

Walking into a fly shop for the first time (or even as a seasoned angler) can be a daunting experience. Walk into the right fly shop and it’s seamless and easy. Walk into the wrong fly shop and it may turn you off of fly fishing all together. With the sport growing and endless options, where is a good place to start? Here are some things to consider when you walk into a fly shop. Greeting: A warm welcome will go a long way and often set the tone for what kind of shop you are dealing...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Pre-Runoff Fly Fishing | What to Expect

Spring has finally arrived in the Vail Valley as locals and tourists alike begin to focus on water in a more liquid form than the frozen, skiable type. Here at Vail Valley Anglers our wade guides have been busy with half/day trips focused around the midday or warm afternoon hours. And the float guides have pulled boats out from under the security of tarps and winter equipment all to take advantage of the excellent pre-runoff fishing conditions.
The Water: During the springtime our...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Destination Trout | Gray Reef

Following along the course of the North Platte River in Wyoming, the traveling angler encounters one impoundment after another. Storied stretches of water none-the-less, but dam created and damn good to fish. As tailwaters the North Platte takes on glorious names like the Miracle Mile, but it is the stretch of river near the little town of Alcova that attracts the tactical angler ready to combat the largest fish in the river dubbed the Gray Reef. To clear some confusion you will find this...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Tippet Rings | Why and How to use them

In the past few years of working in a fly shop, it seems more and more customers are looking for tippet rings. So what exactly is a tippet ring and why should you use them? A tippet ring is a very tiny circular ring that can save you time and money out on the water. The tippet ring can be incorporated into a fly fishing rig various different ways depending on the depth, type of fishing, species you are targeting, and personal preference. The options are endless. Here in Colorado, I us...

Salt Water Fly Fishing

Destination Trout | A first-timer in Belize

A Fish Out of Water — When trout bums hit the salt In December of2016I had the opportunity to spend a week at El Pescador Lodge on beautiful Ambergris Caye, just off the coast of northern Belize. My dad (who had just celebrated his 60thbirthday) and I chased bonefish, tarpon, snook, and permit throughout the flats, lagoons, and mangrove islands surrounding the Caye. As a lifelong trout fisherman (and a fairly competent one, I like to think), it was an awesome challenge to try a type...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Public Lands | Continuing the Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt

The Public Legacy A legacy of conservation left behind by a President who cared about our lands, water and the wildlife and fish that inhabit them. Today, President’s Day, we want to pay tribute and thanks to a man who dedicated much of his time in office (and life) to our lands, water and the fish and wildlife that inhabit them. Theodore Roosevelt, fondly considered the conservation president, holds a special place in my heart, and the hearts of many, for creating some of our m...

Fly Fishing Travel

Destination Trout | Guadalupe River

The Guadalupe River is the tailwater below Canyon Lake Dam in the Texas hill country, the southernmost trout fishery in the United States. When you think of Texas chances are your first thought is not rainbows in cold, clear water. Even being from San Antonio, Texas (only 45 minutes away from the river), it was never on the forefront of my mind. About 2 years ago I fished the Guadalupe for the first time. I immediately began realizing what I had overlooked for so long. Having the Colorado Ro...

Fly Fishing Gear Reviews

How to Customize your Fly Fishing Gear

Customizing your fly fishing gear for function and appearance

In the world of fly fishing it is easy to fall into line with your gear, only to look like the next wader-clad angler to stumble down the bank into the river. Some anglers strive for a cookie cutter approach to their gear often aiming to mimic their buddy or the latest decked out angler from the cover of a magazine. But it is the fly fisher who looks to stand out with a one of a kind appearance or to customize their gear for a sp...