Mid-May has been really good on the Eagle River in the Vail Valley. You are in luck if you are a patient fisherman who can make tight, accurate casts and fight fish in heavy currents on light tippets. On a family trip, a few fun gentlemen took the time to squeeze in some fly fishing this week, and we combed the banks for soft water and were rewarded by moving our feet so often. Excuse the redundancy for most of these high-water Eagle River fishing reports, but take notice; it’s not rocket science this time of year. It’s about fishing in soft water. You'll catch many bottoms and branches, but you will be rewarded in between, and sometimes often in the case of this duo. Morning meetings were vital, and bugs were active almost from arrival. Mother’s Day Caddis and Blue Winged Olives were moving in big numbers. The bite was strong, even in super short pockets of water, but with little area for fish to travel in this time of year, they were all tucked into those areas together and apparently very hungry. Father and son took turns finding fish by accurately fishing their way out from them - starting close and continuing towards the middle of the river. We also caught many tree branches but had a good laugh about it, and we could even collect as many flies as we lost out of the branches. Apparently, I am not the only person fishing these waters this time of year.
One thing worth noting is today was the first very sunny day I’ve guided in a while, and I don’t know if it was flows, visibility, or water temperatures, but the fish seem to like it as well. The river continues to climb, and it will continue to do so, with plenty of snow still visible at the top of Vail and surrounding towns of the Vail Valley. I encourage you to get out and fish, but I especially encourage you to do it safely—no need to wade deep. The fish are on the soft edges. Don’t be afraid to throw small flies during runoff as long as there is clarity where you are fishing.