View Full Version : Near Vail, CO?

07-24-2010, 03:54 PM
If one was to try to get to make Vail, CO, or somewhere nearby, base camp for a few days of un-guided fishing and do it relatively on the cheap, what would you recommend?

Is October a good month for that?

Where would (or could?) you camp?

Which rivers would you hit?

How crowded does it get in October?


Just brainstorming for a Fall trip and I'm curious about options. I typically hit the Smokies that time of year, but I'm looking to branch out.

Thanks in advance!!!!

07-24-2010, 09:21 PM
Cube, I used to live out there and there are others the board that have lots of experience out there as well, so before I answer, let me ask a few questions that will help us narrow down your choices:

- What type of fishing do you prefer: Tailwaters, Big Rivers (Tellico and Larger), medium stream (Think LR at Elkmont or lower Deep Creek) or tight casting "Brookie Streams"?

- Are you sold on Vail or are you open to some other possibilities?

- Some places in the high-country are getting snow in October (Vail ski resort tries to open before Thanksgiving each year), can you go early in the month or even the end of Sept (Southern CO may be a better choice if you have to go in October)?

- Do you want to Car-camp, backpack, campground camp, motel-camp or rough-it at the Beaver Creek Hyatt?

Going late in October may limit you somewhat if you want to do much in the high-country. Vail wouldn't be my fisrt choice for a base camp for two reasons. 1) Its expensive and 2) there aren't as many good streams as other parts of the state. Gore Creek, empties into Eagle Creek which empties into the Colorado River. They all can be good to great, but there is a lot more diversity in other areas...

Very few places in Colorado get really crowded even during the "prime months" of July/August (with the exception of the Roaring Fork, Colorado River in spots, Dream Stream, South Platte and a few other tailwaters near large cities).

If you want unguided I would stay away from the tailwaters and larger streams. They have huge fish and in good numbers, but you would need to float and a good guide to put you on the best areas. The exceptions might be the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers, which are wadeable in spots but can be very technical. I believe PA has caught some brutes out of those streams, but he's part brown trout himself ;)...If you can catch big browns on the Caney, you might be able to swing it on one of those two waters.

Personally I like 10-14+" relatively unintelligent trout like Cutts and Brookies in high mountain streams. Colorado is silly with places to find fish like that, but Vail isn't really one of those places.

Enough rambling, let me know some of your preferences and I can dial in some advice...

BTW, I'm headed to the Flattops Wilderness (above Glenwood Springs) for 4 days and the Wemuniche Wilderness (below Creede) for an additional 4 days next month, so if you have interest in either of those locations I can give you some good advice, as well. One will be car camping, the other backpacking...

So many places, so little time...

07-25-2010, 03:47 PM
Not sure about Cube but my wife has been thinking we need to rough it at the Beaver Creek Hyatt so PeteCz what would you suggest?

07-25-2010, 05:43 PM
Not sure about Cube but my wife has been thinking we need to rough it at the Beaver Creek Hyatt so PeteCz what would you suggest?

I spend over 50 nights a year in hotels and I have yet to stay in one I enjoyed more than the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

That being said, its very overpriced and I would only stay there again if someone else was paying for it (again). I believe its like $600 during ski season and $250 in the off seasons...

In some ways it reminds me of the Grove Park Inn. It has an awesome lobby and lots to do all around at the hotel with shops and great restaurants, but since you are sleeping for a large part of the time you are there, the rooms are no better than any Doubletree or Hilton for $100 per night...Stay somewhere else and spend parts of the day there instead...IMO...

And if you are looking for ski towns, I think Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Aspen are more fun. Vail and Beaver Creek are a bit stuffy for me...Aspen can be too, but it has more of a feel of a real town...

David Knapp
07-26-2010, 11:51 AM
I would head a bit further west and stay in the Carbondale/Basalt vicinity. Hit up the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan (this is if you are interested in bigger water and larger fish). I've been wanting to fish that area during the fall for a long time but so far haven't made it out then...

07-26-2010, 05:57 PM
Have also hit this area in the fall, and anytime after 1 SEP you are prone to serious snow. Water levels should be OK for Roaring Fork, Frying Pan, Crystal, and maybe as far south as Gunnison, as it is my understanding the release schedule for the Gunnison has been "fixed" by a federal Judge re: too much draw diverted to the Eastern Slope. Scenery will be great; elk hunters will be out as well. Agree with suggestion about being south and east of Glenwood Springs, but do not know much about camping whether tent or RV/car. Carbondale, while not cheap, is where a number of the Aspen labor reside, so has to be more user friendly than Vail/Avon/Beaver Creek. Colorado River should also be OK then. Just take a lot of warm clothes, and make real sure of the weather if you plan to get to altitude for a small stream or an alpine lake. From personal experience, if it starts to snow when you step onto the trailhead, turn back. Skip Watson

David Knapp
07-26-2010, 11:47 PM
I should have added that there are several campgrounds on Ruedi Reservoir but only with the basics...not sure how late in the season they stay open though....

Mr. Mike
07-29-2010, 03:08 PM
"Personally I like 10-14+" relatively unintelligent trout like Cutts and Brookies in high mountain streams. Colorado is silly with places to find fish like that..."
Me likey too. Any recommendations along those lines around Telluride? I'm heading that way in a couple of weeks.

07-29-2010, 04:37 PM
Me likey too. Any recommendations along those lines around Telluride? I'm heading that way in a couple of weeks.

If you're like me, you'll spend most of your time standing there gawking at your surroundings. Its an amazing place.

The San Miguel is right in town, but I don't know how it fishes mid-summer. You might try venturing up past Bridal Veil Falls in the back of the canyon. There are also some small alpine lakes up there that are accessible by trail and FS roads.

07-29-2010, 05:57 PM
I just got back from 9 glorious days in the Lake Dillon area (3rd time out there since 2005) and I must say not only is it a beautiful place ... the fly fishing is FANTASTIC! I caught over 200 trout in 6 outings including numerous brook trout in the 10 - 12" range. I would recommend the Eagle Nest Wilderness Area and the 10-mile Creek area. I must a 20+" brown trout in downtown Frisco on July 4th. Never saw another fisherman during my 6 outings.

07-31-2010, 02:07 PM
Have fished out of Edwards, Co for the last 7 years August-September. You have the eagle river at the foot of beaver creek with plenty of public access.

In Glenwood Canyon or up above State Bridge both about 30 mins from Beaver Creek you have the Colorado River.

In Vail itself you have Gore Creek and 45 mins east of Beaver Creek you have the Blue River.

If you want to drive further afield you can do the Roaring Fork, Frying Pan or Yampa all about 90 mins from Beaver Creek

All in all you have a full range of waters to fish with plenty of public access - the decision is which ones not to fish.

Snow usually starts around mid Sept but no real heavy accumulations, normally. October is a great time to be throwing big streamers out there.

07-31-2010, 02:59 PM
The equation that seems to work for me is:

Get a Trails Illustrated map that covers one or more major streams that have decent sized tributaries, that come down from wilderness areas (Eagles Nest, Rawah, Flattops, Maroon Bells, Wemuniche, South San Juan, Lizard head...http://www.coloradowilderness.com/wildpages/map.html).

Find a trail that takes you 1-2+ miles away from the nearest road, travels into the wilderness area and crosses a stream around 9000'+. Start fishing. Use a #14 -16 Stimulator, EHC, Royal Wulff or other type of attractor and prepare to be amazed.

A personal favorite of mine is the Three Forks area above Platoro Reservoir on the Conejos River. Its an easy 3 mile hike to any of three streams up into the Wemuniche wilderness area.

If you are serious about fishing out there, I would recommend getting the book, "Flyfishing in Southern Colorado" to get a lay of the land (and major Streams) and then start charting out the tributaries they don't talk much about that come out of the wilderness areas. The author says in the book that he specifically left out many of the better small streams for fear they would get overfished. And I won't name names here either because finding those streams are half the funl (including one that I'm going to visit this year thats on the back-end of a 5 mile hike to a spot someone else lost a camera on...)

Even if you don't find 14-16" Cutts in every run, most streams that fit those criteria are full of 10-12" Brookies and Cutts (if they are decent sized tributaries - think LR above Elkmont)...

Mr. Mike
08-02-2010, 02:59 PM
thanks. I received Flyfishing in Southern Colorado in the mail late last week but haven't dug in yet.

I'm only out there for a Thursday - Monday trip, staying in Telluride proper and will be accompanied by my wife, who has only a passing interest in fishing, so I won't be going too far afield.

08-02-2010, 07:39 PM
That's a long way to go for a Thursday-Sunday trip.

There's some good info on the Telluride Outside website: http://www.tellurideoutside.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=standard&categoryId=7&subCategoryId=0 (http://www.tellurideoutside.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=standard&categoryId=7&subCategoryId=0)

I believe that Charlie's been to TellurideAnglers and has said they are friendly folks (much more so than Duranglers), you should probably stop in and pick their brains (and buy some flies, etc...)

In addition to the San Miguel, you are about 20 miles north of some of the upper tribs of the Dolores River. You might want to look into those, as well...

08-04-2010, 11:13 PM
Dang! that's a lot of info! Thanks for all that!

Now the sad part...my trip out west probably won't happen this year. I'm likely to stay around TN/NC again. I'll get out there eventually; I just hope I can find this thread again when the time comes.

Reading all that really makes me want to go out there. Thanks again!

Mr. Mike
08-05-2010, 02:46 PM
I just got to the chapter in the book on the Upper Dolores this morning, and I said to my wife "This sounds like my kind of fishing. I'm packing the 2 weight." I will definitely spend at least one full day on the Dolores above the dam, the West Fork and/or some creek tribs. thanks for the link, and I always hit the local fly shop to buy some items (and information).

08-05-2010, 07:51 PM
Mr Mike, Make sure you post a report with pics....