Roaring Fork River an outstanding option for area fly fishermen

Brody Henderson

The rivers and creeks in and around Vail Valley are in peak runoff currently.

While we are not seeing huge spikes in flows, fly-fishing conditions everywhere but the upper Colorado River near Punmphouse are pretty tough. The Eagle River and Gore Creek are clear but high enough to make catching fish a challenge in most locations. Flows will probably remain high for a week to 10 days and then we’ll begin to see lower flows and water temperatures more conducive for both good hatches and catching trout.

Eagle River and Gore CreekThe Eagle and Gore Creek are close to peaking and flows will remain high for at least a week. Wade fishing is extremely difficult for the time being, and care and common sense should be exercised. Float-fishing on the Eagle is also not a great option but will be very soon. Stay safe on our local waters. Hatches are minimal at best, but the post runoff caddis hatch will begin before too long.

Flies: Pat’s Rubberleg Nos. 6-10 Tan and Brown, Fly Formerly Known as Prince Nos. 12-16, Rubber Leg Twenty Incher Nos. 8-14, Peacock Stimulator Nos. 10-14, Vanilla Bugger Nos. 4-8.

Colorado RiverConditions are great on the upper Colorado between Pumphouse and State Bridge. The salmonfly hatch is still going strong, and the trout are still looking for a big meal. There has been a lot of anglers out there due to the intensity and length of the hatch, but hiking into Gore Canyon and floating has remained very productive.

The Colorado is getting higher and off color and unfishable below State Bridge due to numerous tributaries.

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Leg Nos. 4-8 Black, Sofa Pillow Nos. 6-10, Rogue River Stone Nos. 4-8, Bitch Creek Nos. 4-8, Royal PMX Nos. 6-10.

Roaring Fork RiverThe Roaring Fork is looking like it may already have peaked and is close to becoming an outstanding option for area fly fishermen. Above Carbondale, the river is clear but high, and below the confluence with the Crystal River there is some color in the water. Wade fishermen should be aware of high flow dangers. Float anglers are catching some fish on the lower river despite high, off color water, and the Fork is about to get very, very good any day with clearer water and a strong caddis and Green Drake hatch.

Flies: Soft Hackles Nos. 12-14, Pat’s Rubber Leg Tan and Brown Nos. 4-10, Pink San Juan Worm, Black Sculpzilla, Olive Slumpbuster, Royal Simulator Nos. 6-12

Other OptionsTailwater streams such as the Frying Pan, Blue, Yampa and Taylor are all fishing very well, and flows are low as water agencies continue to fill reservoirs. Local ponds and lakes are beginning to really wake up as water temperatures climb and bug activity increases. Now is also a good time to squeeze in a quick trip down to the Gunnison Gorge to do some hike-in wade-fishing. Flows are lower than normal, and the salmonfly hatch has begun.

Brody Henderson is a senior guide with Vail Valley Anglers and can be reached at 970-926-0900.

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