February Midge Hatches: Colorado Fly Fishing

February Midge Hatches

I was giving a spey casting lesson yesterday and as we were working on our snap-t cast we began to see a light midge hatch on the Eagle River. This immediately brought up a conversation about the heavy midge hatches in February. While many folks are still focused on skiing in February, fly fishermen know that it can be a great month to see some incredible midge hatches. The Eagle River and Roaring Fork tend to get thick midge hatches on warmer February days. These hatches can bring, what seems like, every fish in the river to the surface. When this happens the dry fly fishing is out of this world. Give us a call and we’ll get you on the water for some great February Fly Fishing. 970.368.5959.

Colorado Fly Fishing Schools

Colorado Fly Fishing Schools

This year we are offering some incredible fly fishing schools right here in Wolcott, Colorado. These schools and classes are an excellent way to brush up on your fly fishing skills so you can get on the water with confidence. All of our fly fishing schools and classes are small in size so our instructors can closely work with each participant. Part of each school will take place on the Eagle River on our Private Water were you will experience incredible fly fishing.

One of our most popular fly fishing schools is our “Prep School.” This is a fun course geared to the fly angler that spends a fair amount of time of the water and does a few guided trips each year. In this fly fishing class you can expect ample fishing time from a boat as well as from shore learning tips and tricks from our instructors. Not only will you get to fish some incredible private water, you will also leave this class with the knowledge of a seasoned fly fishing guide. Our Prep School covers the following;

Streamer fishing (from a boat/ from shore) , Fly Selection, Mending, Spey Casting, Knots. Fish handling/Photography, Gear selection, Fishing from a boat, fly presentation/placement, double haul, casting, fly set-up, nymphing, reading water and more.

We will be offering this fly fishing school in the spring of 2018 as well as the fall of 2018. If you are an angler that wishes to get a little more out of the sport of fly fishing, this is an excellent school for you. This school prepares you for any guided fly fishing trip you plan on taking in 2018.

Row Schools

Have you ever heard the saying “if you don’t row you don’t go”? If you have, then you know that being a good oarsmen is an open invitation to a lot more fly fishing trips. Our row schools are a great way to learn how to safely navigate a river and put your friends on more fish. This year we are offering two different row schools for anglers of all abilities. Our weekend warrior row school is for people who may own a boat or are partners in a boat who want to learn a little more about rowing down a river. This row school teaches technique, reading water, river hazards, etiquette and more. In this school you will spend 3 days rowing different rivers as well as fishing these rivers from a boat. You will come out of this school with more confidence and understanding of our local Colorado Rivers.

For guides who wish to become Colorado State Oar Certified, we are offering a week long row school in May of 2018. This course will give you the necessary miles and hours on the river with a certified instructor so you can begin your path as a float guide. This class is rigorous and will require long days on the water as well as classroom discussion. Regardless of the row school you choose you will not hesitate next time you are asked to grab the oars.

Our fly fishing schools will fill up quickly so if you are considering any fly fishing school this year, be sure to get on the list. We do offer accommodations so if you are joining us from out of town let us know and we’ll take care of you. We are looking forward to seeing you in the spring.

 

Colorado Fly Fishing Report: Eagle River

Eagle River Winter Fishing Report

Fly Fishing has been great on the Eagle River but expect a slow down over the next few days. We got some much needed snowfall over the weekend now colder temperatures are forecasted to settle in through the week. This is great news for our snowpack but it will effect fishing conditions on the Eagle River.

When our overnight lows are in the single digits a lot of anchor ice is formed which creates slush during the day. Can you still fish? sure but getting your nymphs below the surface can be very challenging. Our advice is to find areas below water treatment plants (Avon, Edwards, Gypsum) and fish these areas. There still might be some slush to contend with but it will be significantly less in these areas. Wait until 11 or 12 to get on the water and hope for the best. Fish will be holding deep in slower water so focus your fishing efforts in these spots.

Red, Black, Cream and Olive Midges have been working well even in slushy conditions. Adding a larger prospecting nymph like a bead head Pheasant Tail is a good way to add weight to your nymph rig. Surprisingly enough a pink squirmy worm has also been getting a lot of attention under the surface. As we creep closer towards the end of the week temps should be back in the high 30s-40s.

We have a couple spots on the Eagle River on our Private Water that stays open and is fishing great. If you wish to fish this water give us a call and we’ll get you out.

970.368.5959 book your winter fly fishing trip today.

Eagle River Winter Fishing Report: January 2018

Happy New Year. We have been on the water everyday this year and the fly fishing on the Eagle River is rock solid right now. In fact yesterday we were catching trout on dry flies. It was crazy.

Jett showing off an Eagle River Rainbow Trout

Andrew spent the afternoon finding colored up Rainbow Trout in pocket water.

Midges are the main item on the menu right now but we are also presenting small BWO Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Eggs, Caddis and Worms which are also getting attention. The majority of fish are in the slower deeper pools and pockets so be sure to focus the majority of time in these areas. We are also finding a few fish in shallower riffles so be sure to run a few drifts through water that is about 2 -3 feet deep. Olive, Cream, Black, Red & Purples colored midge imitations are the most productive fly patterns. Midge hatches have been sporadically coming off in the afternoon between 1 and 3pm. if you see a few fish poking their noses out try and lighten up your rig. Often times you will be fishing too deep during the midge hatch. In the right areas you will see enough fish rising to make the switch to dry flies but it is often short lived.

90% of our Private Water on the Eagle River is open and all of our trips have been doing great on these sections. We have been getting on the water around 10:30-11am and fishing until the sun creeps below the mountains. Fishing has been good right out of the gate and staying consistent throughout the afternoon.

Last fish of the day ate a dry fly.

Our weather is what has allowed us such incredible winter fishing and while we are enjoying the fly fishing opportunities we need the snow more than ever. We are currently under a winter weather advisory (YAY) with cooler temps following the snow. We are taking reservations for guided fly fishing trips as well as our spring fly fishing schools & classes. Give us a call to book a trip and last minute fishing reports. 970-368-5959.

Winter Fishing Eagle River: Finding Warmer Water

Winter Fly Fishing: Eagle River

Chilly nights and shorter days have the majority of the Eagle River buttoned up with ice. There are many fishable portions of the Eagle River during the winter and they are all below water treatment facilities. If you are up here for the Holidays or make the drive up and realize that the skiing is terrible you can still find some spots to fish.

While there are plenty of pockets and runs to fish in Avon, CO your better options are down valley. Gypsum is a good place to start looking for more water to sink your flies. Slightly warmer temps as well as a water treatment plant keep this section of the Eagle River open most of the winter. Midges and Eggs are still doing the trick below the bobber and when the temps are right we are seeing a decent midge hatch. A few fish are rising during the hatch but not enough to change up the nymph rig. Red, Purple, Cream, Black & Olive Midges are all working well anywhere you can find the right speed and depth. Do not be afraid to fish shallower water either. We are hooking a lot of fish in water about 3-4 feet deep especially during the warmest parts of the day.

Finn Found this Eagle River Rainbow Trout on our private water last week.

We have some open water on our private lease in between Edwards and Wolcott. It has been fishing incredible and worth trying if you are in town. We are still offering discounted rod fees through the winter. Hope to see you on the water. Happy Holidays.

 

Jmac’s Renegade: A New Spin On A Classic Fly

Renegade Fly Pattern

By Bob Streb

There are a few patterns out there that have with stood the test of time because they just work. They are perfect and need no manipulation from today’s synthetics to be “better”. HaresEar, Pheasant Tails, Adams and the Griffith’s Gnat to name a select few have many versions, some using new age synthetics, but they all end up with the same profile and key material the original pattern high lighted. One of our favorite traditional flies around Colorado Angling Company is the Renegade. 

The Renegade was first tied and fished by one Taylor “Beartracks” Williams in 1930’s Idaho. While it has many variations like the Double Renegade, Royal or the Reverse Renegade; the original, Ernest Hemingways favorite, remains a simple masterpiece that fools rising fish every summer here in Colorado. While we mostly fish Renegades dry it is just as deadly when it sinks or when you add small strips to a wet fly retrieve. 

The Renegade pays most of it’s bills during the late summer- winter seasons and we usually fish it as the small dropper in a 2 fly dry fly rig to mimic Tricos, Midges and small Caddis. Traditionally this pattern was fished quite large 10-14 and we still use these in spring on stillwaters and when the drakes start hatching but it just deadly as a small cluster/cripple/emerger type doo hickie.

Take a trip to a well stocked fly shop and dig around some of the traditional materials like Peacock. If you have been surviving on a package of strung junk, treat yourself to a package of Peacock Swords and by all means look for a cool dye job. I love the red from Hareline as well as the black which comes across purple. Let me know when someone finds yellow please. 

Jmac’s Red Renegade started with one of those conversations that started with “I wish they made a fly…….” 

Joey just figured a shuck, like the one hanging off another of his favorites, The Palm’s Special Emerger, might just make for a cool variation. I took the liberty to jam the red herl on it. Not sure if it fishes but it is a Renegade.

Have fun out there as well as at the vise this winter.

Bobber

Eagle River Fishing Report: December

Our warm weather has finally come to an end and it is actually starting to feel like winter. Flows on the Eagle are hovering around 60 CFS in Avon which is very low making the trout easy to find. There are not a lot of hiding spots at this level. Fish have moved to there winter lies and are not moving very far to take a fly. Earlier in the week we saw a few rising fish but for the most part you are going to be staring at a Bobber to catch fish. Deeper slower pools is where you are going to find the majority of Trout. My Nymph Rig has been an egg and midge which I will not change until march. The egg has not been getting a ton of attention but I feel that the trout see it which leads their eyes to the trailing midge. That may or may not be true but it makes me feel better when fishing. Add weight if you are not hitting bottom, the fish have been deep and you might have to hit them in the nose on certain days.

Mr. Moorman found a few big ones before the snow came in.

Good flies to have for winter fly fishing on the Eagle River are; Eggs (Chartreuse, Oregon Cheese, White), Midges (Black, Red, Creme, Olive), Buckskin Caddis, BWO emergers, Jig hook comp flies.

The jig hook comp flies are a great way to add weight to your rig with out pinching on additional sinkers. Try running an egg as your lead fly trailed by a #18 comp fly (black), from the eye of the jig hook tie and additional 12 ” of tippet and attach a midge pattern of your choice. This will allow you to effectively cover deeper water columns. It will also give you one more fly to get tangled on.

Keep in mind that winter fishing can be very slow and we often only have short windows of opportunity. Those opportunities are going to be during the warmest part of the day. There is no need to be on the water early and no reason to stay late. Be persistent and you will be successful.

Colorado River: Fishing Report

The fishing on the Colorado River has been hit and miss. We have been floating the middle Colorado River from Horse Creek to Cottonwood and I’ll give it a 6 out of 10. Black streamers, Eggs and Griffith Gnats have all been working. But, the streamers are out performing the nymphs and dries. We are finding fish in some pretty odd spots with the streamer so be sure to make a long cast and strip it longer than you normally would. A lot of fish are far off the bank in the deeper water. Many of our streamer eats have been in about 6 feet of slow moving water.Vary your stripping speed. The fish are cooperating better with a little slower strip. If the wind stays down, which is a lot to ask on the Colorado, there have been many fish on the surface. Slow moving water, back eddies and foam lines are giving us shots with dry bugs. BWO’s and midges will get a look. Try to be stealthy when approaching a pod of rising trout. A bunch of noise in the boat, scraping an oar on the bottom and a poor cast will put rising fish down for good. Keep that in mind.

We have been staying away from the Upper Colorado River due to all the shade provided by the canyons. The lower section of the Colorado has been hit and miss as well. As our weather starts to cool off our float trips will head west towards Glenwood and New Castle. Those sections of the Colorado River can be great but it can also be slow. It all depends on the day. Happy Thanksgiving.

Eagle River Fly Fishing Report: November

The Eagle River has been fishing great, in fact I cannot think of a month that is hasn’t been fishing great..yet. The warmer weather has been bringing a lot of fish to the surface during the warmest parts of the day. Mostly midges on the menu and a variety of adult midge patterns are hooking fish up top. If the wind is blowing and the fish are not showing their beaks a shallow nymph rig is finding fish in their usual haunts. Eggs, Baetis and Midges are all putting a bend in the stick. The streamer bite has tapered off a bit but if you are willing to put in the time you will find some trout to chase. Smaller Slump Busters have been my favorite, especially natural.

Nymphing with eggs and baetis patterns has been a good way to find trout in deeper water.

There is no need to be on the river early. Sleep in and enjoy your coffee. I have been getting on the river around 10:30 -11 am and staying on the water until 3ish. Fish have been starting to rise around 1pm and will stay up as long as the wind isn’t too strong. The extended weather forecast looks pleasant with more sunny days on the horizon. We are still offering 2 for one specials on our Vail Rod & Gun Club water so take advantage and get up here before its too cold. Happy Thanksgiving.

Eagle River Report: Fall Midges

The dry fly fishing on the Eagle River has been excellent this whole month. The bugs keep getting a little smaller but the fish keep rising. “There is no need to stare at a bobber when you can watch fish eat your dry.” The magic hour for dry fly activity has been around 1pm until 4pm. Midges are dominating the scene with the occasional Blue Wing popping off. The hot bugs have been a mixed bag of small midge patterns in gray, black and rust colors. We have been using a larger Adams as our lead fly then trailing smaller midge patterns behind. Occasionally the fish are taking the Adams but for the most part it is acting as our visual target. Griffith’s Gnats and Renegades are also good & easy to see patterns to be drifting down the river. If you must get on the river before noon try moving streamers. Olive and Natural Colored Slump Busters have been all you need. The streamer bite has been hot and cold but when its on the fish have been hitting it as soon as it lands. We are finding some healthy rainbows in shallow water. It has been awesome. As the cooler weather starts to move in expect your dry fly window to get smaller and smaller. Until then take advantage of the great fishing on the Eagle River right now.

An absolute stunning Rainbow Trout from the Eagle River.

Every once and a while we are bumping into some of those giant Rainbow Trout that were stocked before the World Fly Fishing Championship. These fish are certainly out of place in the Eagle River but are a wild battle on light tippet in skinny water. We found one last weekend and it put on quite a display for our guest Cody Burgdorff.

We are still doing guided trips and offering 2 for 1 rod fees on our Vail Rod & Gun Club Lease. If you have never fished this section of the Eagle River now is an excellent time to see it shine. Give us a call to book your trip and for last minute fishing reports. 970.368.5959.

Flies to have in your box – foam back RS2 (black, grey), Chocolate Thunder, Zebra Midge, Mayhem Midge, Adams, Griffiths Gnat, Renegade, Roy Palm Emerger, Flash Bang Midge, Slump Buster (Olive, Natural)