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Vail Valley Anglers
Fly Fishing the Colorado River with Vail Valley Anglers in Vail, CO

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Reporter: Ray Kyle

Report Date: February 22, 2018

Current Conditions: Snow is in the forecast for most of the day. Parts of the Upper Colorado is frozen over and large ice chucks have been floating down the river.  If you can find open spots in the river, nymphing continues to be the most productive method throughout the day. If the water is slightly stained, use nymphs or midges with a bit of flash.  Blue winged olives (BWOs) have been producing on top, as well as beneath the surface in size 20-22 for both the dry and nymph. Small (size 20-22) midge patterns have been a great as a bottom fly in a two fly nymph rig. . Presentation is everything, so be sure to look for the seams and get the drift in the right spot. Streamer fishing can be good on cloudy days.

Guide Tip: Streamers on cloudy days equal big fish 

Hatches: Midges, Baetis, and BWOs

Recommended Flies:
NYMPHS: Red or Black Zebra Midge 20-22, Magic Fly 20-22, Jujubaetis 20-22, Pat's Rubber Legs 10-12, Iron Lotus 16-18, Barr Emerger BWO 18-20, Tungsten Pheasant Tail 18-20, Black RS2 18-22, Olive Two Bit Hooker 16-18, San Juan Worm

DRIES: Hackle Stacker 18-22, Extended Body BWO 18-22, Adams Parwulff 16-20, Sprout BWO 18-20

STREAMERS: Home Invaders, Leadeye Bugger Black, Autumn Splendor, Cheech Leech, Barely Legal, Gonga, Baby Gonga, Sex Dungeon



The Colorado River originates in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We generally fish the sections from Gore Canyon to the town of Rifle bridge.  The Colorado is generally a wider and slower river with some faster canyon stretches and  excellent hatches and beautiful scenery along the river corridor.  The sections below Glenwood Springs are the first to be available in the early season for float fishing.  As the spring gives way to summer the focus shifts from Glenwood Springs and Dotsero, upstream to State Bridge and just below Gore Canyon and the Pumphouse boat launch.  The Colorado offers more remote stretches of water and  a slower pace to the day with an opportunity to view wildlife and unique geology along the way.

Select the updated graph for a larger version. River Levels


Other Information
The fishing on the Colorado is good every month of the year. We provide Guided Fishing Trips Daily, even throughout the winter. Let us show you some tips to catching fish by hiring a guide for the day.