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4 Tips for Responsible Fly Fishing in Vail

Did you know that many fish are sensitive to temperature and can survive only in specific temperature ranges? In recent years, our waters have been experiencing low flows and unseasonably high temperatures, causing a tremendous strain on our local fish population, especially during summer and early fall.

Here we have four tips and other things you can do while fly fishing in Vail to help put less strain on the fish that inhabit our rivers, lakes and creeks.

1. Fish Early

The coolest part of the day in Vail is typically the morning. We recommend getting out on the water earlier in the day when the air and water temperature are not as hot, specifically during the warmer seasons.

2. Carry a Thermometer

Once the water temperature reaches 65 degrees, our fish start to feel more stress in their environment. When fishing in Vail, always carry a thermometer with you to ensure that you are fishing in waters with optimal temperatures. Anglers can also sign up for text and email Temperature Alerts from the Eagle River Watershed Council, which notify subscribers of critical river temperature information throughout the area.

Bonus Tip: Fish in tailwater streams which draw water from the bottom of reservoirs, supplying these streams with cooler water.

3. Focus on the Release

When you do land a fish, try to keep the fight as short as possible to reduce the amount of energy expended by the fish. If you plan to release your catch, get them back in the water as quickly as possible and give them the time they need to revive and swim away before casting another line.

4. Fish Higher Up

By fishing higher up in the tributaries and alpine lakes, you can reduce stress on certain fisheries and still have an excellent day on the water. A better understanding of streamflows can lead to improved stewardship practices on the part of anglers, rafters, landscapers and even dog-walkers — as well as anyone who turns on their hose or tap. Before your trip, sign up to receive the River Report to stay in-the-know of local streamflows.

What You Need to Fish Gore Creek’s Gold Medal Section Responsibly

The Gold Medal is the highest designation a fishery can achieve in Colorado for top-quality trout fishing. Central Colorado is home to several Gold Medal waters that offer renowned fly fishing, including a section of Gore Creek that runs right through the heart of Vail. Like many Gold Medal waters, there are several regulations one must follow when fishing at Gore Creek. Here, anglers can only use artificial lures and flies and must adhere to the two-bag limit. It’s also asked that any fish under 16 inches be released. Learn more about Vail’s Gold Medal waters.

Looking for more tips for your upcoming fishing trip? Check out our Definitive Guide to Fishing in Vail.