Winter float trips offer anglers the chance to access unpressured trout on the Roaring Fork and Lower Colorado Rivers. Some of the largest trout of the year are landed during our full-day winter floats. Weather can play a role in the availability of this trip during the coldest months, but February through April offer excellent fishing conditions.
In a single day, anglers are able to cover miles of scenic water that is not accessible by wading. For anglers who enjoy wading (and don’t mind the cold water temperatures), we are happy to pull ashore to prospect productive stretches of water. With plenty of room for two anglers and gear, our dory-style drift boats and rubber rafts have been designed specifically for fly fishing. Full-day winter float trips last approximately six to eight hours.
Rod & Reel*
We’ll set you up with a high-quality rod and reel that match your experience level and the trip at hand.
Included in the price of every trip is all terminal tackle including tippet, split shot, leaders, and strike indicators.
Our premium waders and wading boots from Simms will keep you dry (and help you stay upright) in case you decide to leave the boat for some selective wading.
Drift Boat or Raft
Depending on current water levels, our guides will row you in a Clacka Craft Drift boat or NRS Otter Raft. These boats are roomy, comfortable, and designed specifically for fly fishing.
We’ll handle all of the driving to and from the river, and can even pick you up from your hotel if you’re staying anywhere in the Vail or Beaver Creek area.
During the winter months we typically provide hot soup and pre-made sandwiches. This limits the amount of time your hands are exposed to the cold and helps keep the feeling in your fingers. (We gladly accommodate any special dietary requests – just let us know in advance!)
*You’re always welcome to bring your own gear if you’d prefer, however we can’t knock anything off the price for doing so.
Colorado Fishing License
Fishing licenses are required for all trip participants over the age of 16. If you want to save time you can purchase them online before you arrive, or you can wait and do it at the shop.
We do this to ensure that you will always have the right flies for the current conditions. Your guide will select the best flies for the day and have them ready to go when you arrive. The unused flies are yours to keep at the end of the day, or you can give them to your guide (who may have dipped into their own selection throughout the day). You may also purchase an unlimited fly package while booking.
Never expected, always appreciated. Our guides work hard to provide you with the best possible experience and appreciate the generosity.
What to Wear
The weather in the Colorado Rockies is unpredictable and always changing. It is important to head out on the water prepared for the full range of conditions. Also, please keep in mind that you'll be fishing at high altitude – hydration and sun protection are key. Here is how we recommend dressing for a Winter Float Trip:
Baselayer or long underwear that wicks moisture and dries quickly. Insulating midlayer (fleece, down, or synthetic). Waterproof/breathable shell.
Baselayer or long underwear that wicks moisture and dries quickly. Breathable pant or sweatpant (to wear under waders).
Wool or synthetic socks to wear with boots and waders.
Polarized sunglasses. Warm hat or beanie. Warm gloves (some anglers prefer fingerless). Hand and feet warmers.
Don't stress if you're missing something from this list – our retail store is fully stocked with everything you could need for your fly fishing trip. If you can arrive a few minutes early, our retail staff will get you set up with any fishing attire you need.
All or part of this operation is conducted on public lands under BLM Special Use Permit and under Special Use Permit with the White River National Forest. Vail Valley Anglers is an equal opportunity employer.