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Vail Valley Anglers
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...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Mousing; fly fishing with a mouse fly

"Mousing,"--the mere term in fly shops and guide circles brings smug grins to outdoor faces. It is not for the foolhardy, however. Tossing large rodent patterns is an angler’s love affair conducted under headlamps on moonless nights. It requires hefty fly rods in the 7-weight category and reels with space-age drag materials. But, fly fishing with mouse patterns routinely turns the heads of giants that rarely show themselves to anglers in daylight--Big fish that hide under the pro...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Top 5 Fall Flies for Colorado Fly Fishing

When the cottonwoods and willows have turned yellow along the Eagle and Colorado Rivers and anglers are greeted with frosty mornings, it’s a sure bet that the next, short few weeks of fall will provide some of the best fly fishing of the year in Colorado. Hatches of Blue-winged Olive mayflies and tiny midges are enough to keep fish feeding throughout the day. Big, fat rainbows are looking to pack on some additional weight before winter and brown trout lose their normal standoffish attitude...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Autumn Angling in Colorado

As long summer days change slowly into dark cold nights, trout prepare for winter. Brook and Brown trout dress up in spawning colors and Rainbows follow the migration. The change in seasons brings a change in fly fishing tactics as well. Adjusting your tactics will allow you to continue catching trout on the surface and under the water right up until the edge of winter.

Daytime temperatures play a big role in a trout’s willingness to feed on the surface in the autumn. If summertime te...

Fly Fishing Education

Personal Fly Fishing Ethics

Developing your own code of personal fly fishing ethics is something most anglers eventually do on their own. There are many different fly fishing methods and techniques that have proven to be successful for a wide range of fish species. I often tell my fly fishing clients that if it swims you can catch it on a fly rod. However, some methods of fly fishing and even flies themselves are very controversial and even unacceptable for some anglers while for others it doesn’t really matter how t...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Five Fly Fishing Guide Tips

Day in and day out fly fishing guides see it all. Some days it seems an angler can do no wrong and trout will eat just about anything while other days just getting a single bite is a struggle. No matter the day or the conditions, guides must fish through the worst weather and the best hatches with anglers with absolutely no experience and those who have been fly fishing their whole lives. In a single fly fishing season, professional guides are witness to thousands of casts both good and bad, a m...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Fly Fishing Depends on Public Land Access

In the past year the importance of public lands access has become a hot topic across the western United States, especially for fly fishermen. As a citizen of the United States, these are your waters and your lands. In a state such as Colorado, the majority of fly fishing for trout occurs on publicly owned and accessible waters, including millions of acres that are home to high country creeks and lakes on National Forest lands and larger rivers flowing through Bureau of Land Management parcels. N...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Catch and Release Tips for Late Summer Trout

As we move into August on the rivers here in Colorado, the latter part of summer brings challenges to both angler and trout. Low, clear water can make catching trout that have seen an abundance of artificial flies more difficult while warmer water temperatures hampers a trout’s ability to recover quickly after being caught and released.

Warmer water, with temperatures in the mid to high 60’s carries less oxygen and trout tire easily under these conditions while water over 70 deg...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Fly Fishing for Cutthroat Trout in Colorado

Colorado is home to three species of native Cutthroat trout and offers excellent fly fishing for these beautiful homegrown trout that are eager to eat a fly. The Greenback Cutthroat was once thought to be extinct but now thrives in several Front Range fisheries. Rio Grande Cutthroats can be found in the drainages of the San Luis Valley. Finally, the Colorado River strain of Cutthroat Trout is native to the Western Slope of Colorado and is quite common in many high country fisheries and occasiona...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Colorado River Gold Medal Fly Fishing

The mighty Colorado River, the most iconic watershed of the American West, begins life as a small creek in Rocky Mountain National Park in the central region of the Centennial State. As it flows through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the river gains volume as numerous tributaries augment its flows. As it turns south and west, outside the town of Kremmling, the Blue River joins the Colorado and just downstream at the base of the steep, craggy cliffs harboring bighorn sheep and Class IV whitewa...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Top 5 Reasons to Fly Fish Gore Creek

Vail's Gore Creek offers local and visiting anglers plenty of reasons to spend some time fly fishing this local gem. From the upper reaches of Vail Pass, past world class resort hotels and under ski lifts, Gore Creek provides miles of public acess directly in the heart of Vail. It's hard to imagine a more productive small stream trout fishery that flows through one of the world's most renowned ski resorts.

1. Gold Medal Fishing

The lower two miles of Gore Creek is classifie...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Fly Fishing Colorado's Top Ten Summer Hatches

Summer is just around the corner and Colorado anglers need to be prepared with the right patterns for fly fishing Colorado’s Top Ten Summer Hatches. These insects hatch about the same time each summer and provide the majority of the food for trout in all area trout fisheries. While anglers fly fishing in and around Vail, Colorado would do well to have fly boxes stocked with general searching and attractor patterns like Prince Nymphs and Royal Wulffs, to be consistently successful it is imp...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Fly Fishing During Spring Runoff

Spring runoff can bring difficult fly fishing conditions to the rivers and creeks of Colorado. Streamflows increase rapidly, water temperatures drop and water clarity degenerates into a muddy mess. Generally speaking, these situations make for difficult angling. For some anglers, this is the time to head for the saltwater flats in search of bonefish or tarpon but for those of us who are stuck in Colorado during mud season there’s still plenty of trout to be caught when the annual snowmelt ...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

2016 Colorado Fly Fishing Forecast

With winter in the books here in Colorado, it’s time to start thinking about the 2016 fly fishing season. We’ve already had great late winter and early spring fly fishing on the rivers around Vail, Colorado and we are looking forward to the rest of the year. Signs are pointing towards awesome fly fishing conditions for the next several months.

A good year of fly fishing in Colorado is very weather and snow pack dependent. Currently, our snowpack in the Colorado River drainage is...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Fly Fishing Colorado's Gold Medal Trout Waters

Here in the Rocky Mountains of Central Colorado we are lucky to have several nearby Gold Medal trout fisheries that offer fantastic fly fishing. The Gold Medal designation is the highest ranking for top quality fishing for wild trout that a fishery can achieve in Colorado. These fishing areas have been designated by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife as providing the necessary water quality and habitat to support healthy populations of large trout. These waters are defined as being able...

Fly Fishing Tips and Tricks

Five Common Fly Fishing Mistakes

Every fly fisherman should aspire to become more proficient when fly fishing by avoiding these five common fly fishing mistakes. By doing so even novice anglers will find themselves catching more fish and you will be well on your way to improving your fly fishing experience.

Fly Fishing Mistake #1
Poor Knots
Poor knot tying can be one of the most challenging parts to fly fishing and often results in lost fish and flies. Good, reliable strong knots are often a challenge for beginner ...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Join a Fly Fishing Conservation Group

Fly fishing, especially for trout in Colorado where literally thousands of miles of rivers, creeks and streams flow with clean, clear water and wild trout, depends on its participants supporting the very fisheries we love so much. One of the best ways to ensure the future of fly fishing is to join a conservation group that benefits anglers, public lands and access, the environment and wild trout. While fly fishermen already support these issues just through the sale of fishing licenses, there&rs...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Four Unpressured Colorado Fly Fishing Rivers

Anglers looking to escape the crowds who are searching for unpressured fly fishing destination in Colorado should try a few of these streams. A river has been selected for each season of the year so you will always have a new fly fishing destination to check out here in Colorado.

1)Upper Arkansas River ­ Leadville, Colorado
The Arkansas River flows more than 100 miles through the state of Colorado so it's no fishing secret but the thirty miles of river just below Leadville flowing...

Fly Tying Tips and Techniques

Fly Fishing Tips: How to Achieve a Drag Free Drift

What is a Drag Free Presentation and Why is it important? Drag is when your fly is pulled unnaturally through a current or on the surface of the water. A natural or drag-free drift mimics what natural river currents would do to a real aquatic insect floating down the stream and trout easily notice an unnatural drift. Ideally, your dry fly or nymph should drift as if it was not attached to anything. Essentially any friction caused from the water’s p...

Fly Fishing Colorado Rivers

Ten Winter Fly Fishing Tips

Winter fly fishing presents a unique set of challenges that anglers don’t have to deal with the rest of the year. These challenges include cold weather safety, when, how and where to find fish and specialized fly fishing gear. For those that are willing to put a little extra effort into preparation and on the water tactics, fly fishing in Colorado during the winter can be an extremely rewarding endeavor that includes uncrowded rivers, beautiful winter scenery and wiling trout.