Fly-fishing, an alternative to snowsliding |

Fly-fishing, an alternative to snowsliding

Josh Mishell

There is a proverb that explains, “If you give a man a fish, he has one meal. If you teach a man to fish, he has a pastime that will give him an exciting alternative to skiing and golf while in the Vail Valley.”

Fly-fishing has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity in the last few years, and it’s not just in the baby boomer mid-life-crisis demographic.

There are two types of flies that are commonly used: Wet flies (nymphs) and Dry flies. Wet flies are for use below the water and are meant to imitate a small bug in the early stages of development, such as larvae or eggs. Dry flies are tied to simulate bugs that are on top of the water. Some dry-fly patterns are various -grasshoppers (my personal favorite), ants, beetles, caddis and stone flies. Fish tend to stay in the deep pockets of water, facing upstream, all the while looking for food, which comes to them on the current. When there is a natural hatch of a certain bug, the fish come out of their hiding spots in the deeps and the shadows and feed off the surface.

The fish rise and (hopefully) take your fly in their mouth, which is exhilarating to experience. “This rising” is one of the most breathtaking events that take place during fishing.

There are a plethora of fishing options in the Vail Valley. If you’re in Vail, Gore Creek is the most convenient option.

There are large trout throughout the river, including right below the Covered Bridge in Vail Village. Good luck catching those fish because I never have. The fishing is great right in the town of Avon, but you can also try anywhere on the Gore. If you’re willing to drive a while, you can also fish the Frying Pan River near Basalt (which incidentally is a picturesque drive through Glenwood Canyon).

The Frying Pan is considered by many to be among the finest of trout rivers in the world. At only $20.25 for an entire year’s pass, a fishing license is extremely cheap compared to what many ski resorts charge for their season passes. Your fishing license also comes with free backcountry rescue, which allows you to be rescued at no charge whether you’re fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, or even skiing in the backcountry. These rescues are quite expensive.


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