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The Eagle Continues to Fish Well in the Ladders

Warmer days have made for comfortable fishing weather as well as steady Blue Winged Olive activity. The Ladders in Eagle have been my stomping grounds the last few days and the fishing continues to be as good as you can imagine for an Indian Summer.

Though the water remains low and cool, the air temperatures make fishing more than pleasant and the fish seem to feel the same. It’s been all about the BWO these past few weeks with a smattering of small midges to compliment. I don’t know what it is but something in the Eagle River makes these Blue Winged Olives taste like candy to our local trout. Speaking of the trout, all fish caught on this outing were rainbows which leads me to believe the brown trout have other things on their mind; ie. spawning.

With this in mind, PLEASE be carefull where you walk and be absolutely conscious of helping the next year’s class of brownie fingerlings be a strong one. Don’t tread on the redds!

If you take nothing from this fishing report, remember this: light tippet, small flies, small indicators (if you use them) and delicate presentation. The little snow we received last week barely bumped the flows and we are back to a small trickle making focusing on the deeper depressions key. Yes, fish everything as our Eagle River trout will take any spot they can get in these flows, but the bulk of your finned friends will be bunched up in the deeper darker pools.

Today was a great change of scene from Gypsum last week as the fish further upstream had their noses to the sky. BWOs were prevalent and the fish certainly took notice in spite of or because of the infrequent winds. Leading with a #16 Element Hi-Vis Parachute Adams, I had a great reference for my drift; expecting my eats to be on the trailing dry fly,  the #20 Element Sprouts BWO. Though most eats came to the Sprouts BWO, I was able to trick a few on the Hi Vis Parachute Adams. This technical approach was a must in the long flat I was fishing. A 12′ leader to start was great with my back to the wind.

Once I reached my stopping point at the head of the pool, I grabbed my nymph stick for the deep pockets below the riffle. My approach was the same as last week, A jig fly followed by two small BWOs – One a nymph, one an emerger. Luckily, eats came to all three. Lead fly was a Quill Body BWO Jig, the emerger was a Element Blue Wing Olive Emerger and the nymph was a Baetis Forked. Fishing the soft water on either side of two fast runs proved beneficial as the rainbows were aiming to eat this afternoon. After picking through a few smaller fish, I was able to get my flies in front of a 19″ and 17″ rainbow. They were not easy to land as they are well fed and dealing with prime water temps. Make sure you are using your TroutHunter fluorocarbon tippet if you expect to get these fish to hand.

With the daylight decreasing and fish still rising, I decided to make my way back to the car. I found this to be a great opportunity to fish my favorite technique for rising trout downstream – swinging soft hackles. By casting across and quartering my flies downstream, the eats were quick and the takes were vicious. Most fish were relaxing in the slower water off of seams and would almost rise to the soft hackles as they landed on the water. A tandem rig of a #16 Soft Hackle Peacock followed by a #18 Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail was all that was needed to garnish attention from the last rising rainbows of the day. Though not all were hooked and landed, fishing soft hackles is a great way to find fish and receive that heavy tug. After all, the tug is the drug!

It was a special afternoon on the Eagle River. To be able to soak in these few last warm days and to be able to catch fish three different ways is a true pleasure this late in the season. With most people’s eyes on the mountains or in a rifle scope, accessibility and pressure is at a low point considering how great the fishing is this time of year. If you are making your way to the Vail Valley this weekend and looking to grab some bugs or talk technique, give us a call for the latest intel!