5 Tips For Fly Fishing Colorado’s Wild Rivers

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Fishing conditions on our private stretch of the Piney River are at their best. River flows have come down to the perfect level and summer dry fly fishing continues to be outstanding. When it comes to fly fishing Colorado’s remote and scenic rivers, it doesn’t get any better than this!

To learn more about these guided trips and this epic stretch of private water, see our recent post on guided Piney River fly fishing. In the meantime, here are five tips to remember when fly fishing any of Colorado’s small wilderness rivers!

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Fly fishing on small wilderness rivers, like the Piney River, comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. Even our guests who are experienced anglers might learn a few new tricks if they are used to fishing on bigger waters.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Profile

The water here can be crystal clear. It’s beautiful, and it’s fun being able to spot the fish. But it’s important to remember that the fish can also see you.

Colorado Fly Fishing Trip

On a guided trip, pay attention to how our guides approach the river. When fishing small wilderness rivers, it’s important to be aware of your profile. If you walk right up to the edge of a cut bank and see the shadows of trout skittering across the river, you’ve gone too far.

Instead, you may need to approach the river cautiously. Don’t let your profile loom over the places where fish are most likely to be holding.

  1. Make Upstream Casts

In many other situations, anglers are used to making quartering-upstream casts, allowing the fly to drift downstream, past the angler’s position.

Here on the Piney River, take note of where your guide positions you for the cast. When fishing these high alpine streams, it’s more common to make upstream casts and allow the fly to drift back down toward the angler.

Fly Fishing in Colorado

Trout tend to face upstream in the current, opportunistically feeding on insects that come drifting down to them. By making an upstream cast, you’re approaching the trout from behind, where they are less likely to see you.

  1. Start at the Bottom of a Run

When you approach a new run or riffle, it’s often beneficial to begin at the downstream or tailing end, and work your way up. This allows you to target the downstream fish first, without spooking the fish at the head of the run.

Vail, Colorado Fly Fishing

This technique isn’t unique to wilderness fishing. The same principle applies to larger rivers. However, it’s especially important on these small alpine waters. In such clear water, it’s easy to spook fish if you’re not careful. When you target fish at the bottom first, and then work your way upstream, you’ll maximize your opportunities.

  1. Don’t Ignore the Little Pockets

Most anglers have a tendency to fish the biggest, most promising-looking runs and riffles on the river. But when you’re fishing on wilderness creeks, don’t skip over the small pockets. You might be shocked at where you’ll find big trout holding. This is true here on the Piney River and most other high country creeks.

Don’t be surprised when your guide asks you to make a cast into a surprisingly small and innocuous-looking piece of pocket water. These little holes can be full of surprises. You might only get a two-second drift through one of these little pockets. But sometimes, that’s all you need for a fish to attack your fly.

Stop and Look Up

When you’re fishing these mountain rivers, the fast-action fishing is exciting. On each cast, you’ll be expecting the water to blow up beneath your dry fly. It’s addicting. And while it’s tempting to keep your head down and tell yourself, “Just one more cast!” don’t forget to lift your eyes and look around you.

The scenery here on the Piney River Ranch is nothing short of stunning. Every once in a while, take a break from casting and enjoy what’s around you. Enjoying the mountain scenery here in Colorado is an important part of the experience.

Colorado Mountain Scenery

Join Us on the Piney River

Our private stretch of the Piney River near Vail is exclusively available to Sage guests and receives no public fishing pressure. Additionally, our knowledgeable guides help maximize our guests’ experience. Whether you’re a beginner angler or a crusty old veteran, we work hard to make the most out of your time on the water.

We offer half-day and full-day guided trips on the Piney. To learn more, please explore our Fishing Page. If you have questions about availability or other details, please contact us. We look forward to helping you plan a memorable fly fishing adventure!

Guided Fly Fishing Expeditions on Vail’s Piney River

Piney River Guided Fishing Trip

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we are extremely proud to have exclusive access to the famed Piney River near Vail for guided fly fishing trips!

About the Piney River

Sage is the sole fly fishing outfitter on the Piney Valley Ranch, and it’s only available to our guests. We offer fully guided fly fishing adventures to this pristine alpine stream, tucked away in Vail’s spectacular Colorado backcountry.

The Piney River is a classic, Colorado wilderness gem. With its headwaters at Piney Lake at the foot of the rugged Gore Range, this freestone river tumbles through a roadless wilderness canyon for 25 miles until its confluence with the Colorado River. 

Fly Fishing the Piney River in Colorado

As the Piney River approaches its confluence with the Colorado River, it flows right through the Piney Valley Ranch, a sprawling, 30,000-acre mountain paradise. Guests of Sage Outdoor Adventures have exclusive access to a stretch of water, which has never been available to the public.

How Sage Received Exclusive Access to Fish the Piney River

The team at Sage Outdoor Adventures was able to secure this premier fishing lease thanks to a longstanding relationship with the owners of Piney Valley Ranch, who previously owned Castle Peak Ranch. Castle Peak is where we offer ATV tours, snowmobiling, and horseback riding. There were several reputable fly fishing businesses knocking on the door for the Piney River lease. But after seven years of working together at Castle Peak, and knowing first-hand the quality of Sage operations, the owners chose to sign with Sage.

Vail Colorado Fly Fishing Trips

What to Expect on our Guided Fly Fishing Trips

We offer half-day and full-day trips to this remote, private stretch of the Piney River. Trips will include side-by-side ATVs to navigate the ranch and high-end fly fishing gear. Full-day trips also include a streamside lunch.

The ranch will be limited to very few fishing guests each day to maintain a high quality experience. As with everything we do, our guides place a high priority on the quality of the fishing, the undisturbed wilderness experience, and the quality of guest service.

Guided Fly Fishing Trips in Colorado

The exclusive fishing lease on the Piney Valley Ranch also includes a premier section of private water on the Eagle River. This will allow us to offer premium half-day trips just a few minutes from Vail and Beaver Creek.

In addition to these new private waters, Sage Outdoor Adventures will continue to offer guided float trips on the Eagle and Colorado Rivers.

If you’d like to learn more, please visit our Fly Fishing Page. If you’d like to chat with us in more detail or check availability, you can call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. 

Guided Fly Fishing on the Piney River

 

Welcome to Our Family Snowmobile Paradise

Family Snowmobile Tour

It’s our own little slice of heaven in Colorado. We’re blessed to enjoy this private mountain, all on a 6,000-acre ranch. It’s an incredible experience for families. And it’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Our private mountain has more acreage than Vail ski area – without the lift lines. In fact, it’s exclusive to Sage guests. We’ve got the whole place to ourselves, creating an idyllic family snowmobile experience:

A Family Snowmobiling Adventure

Snowmobiling here is special, “because we put the trails where we want to put the trails.” All 100+ miles of them! A fleet of snowcats and grooming equipment maintains our custom-designed trail system that runs throughout this spectacular mountain area.

It’s an authentic, Colorado backcountry experience. You’ll experience the quiet stillness of snowy aspen groves and towering spruce forests. You’ll glide through open meadows and then look off the vertical red-rock cliffs of the Eagle River canyon.

Your friendly guides, outstanding trails, and a private mountain environment will make this a family experience to remember. Passengers as young as 5-years-old can enjoy a true Colorado mountain experience on the snow.

To learn more, please explore our Snowmobile Trips on the website. If you have questions or would like to speak with someone about a trip, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 970-476-3700. We’d love to help you plan a memorable Colorado snowmobile adventure!

 

Enjoying Our New Snowmobile Area Improvements

Snowmobile Area

Over the past two years, we’ve made major changes to our snowmobiling program here at Sage. As we enjoy the great snow conditions in Colorado’s winter season, we continue to revel in these big improvements!

We are extremely proud of our snowmobile program, which was already one of the most highly rated in the state. In fact, Sage Outdoor Adventures boasts Trip Advisor’s highest rating for outdoor activities in the Vail area.

Some of the new snowmobile improvements include a totally redesigned trail system and a new state-of-the-art snowcat for improved trail grooming and maintenance.

Snowmobiling on Colorado's best custom-built trails

How We Design our Snowmobile Trails

The guides and designers of Sage’s snowmobile trail system spent a great deal of time and work on the new design. The team built a custom network of trails that are specifically designed with our snowmobile guests in mind.

“We considered the area’s geology, vegetation, wind patterns, and snow deposition zones,” commented Sage co-owner and head trail designer, Darryl Bangert. “Other major factors that went into this trail redesign included trail flow, view corridors, and some of our guides’ favorite places to discover with guests.”

Sage’s Private Mountain is Ideal Snowmobiling Terrain

We are thrilled to run our snowmobile operations on a private mountain near Vail, a property that covers more than 6,000 acres. The area has proven to be an ideal base of operations for snowmobile tours, with 2,500 feet of vertical relief on a north-facing mountain. Sage’s base area sits at 8,100 feet above sea level, the same as Vail and Beaver Creek.

The terrain here lends itself to incredible riding trails, and the area is actually larger than the Vail ski area.

“Imagine being able to design the ski runs on Vail Mountain, and then consider that we get to design snowmobile trails on an even bigger area,” Bangert added. “We are all passionate about riding and discovering the most fun routes. Our extensive background in hiking and cross country skiing gives us great insight into the intimate feel of the land.”

Sage Outdoor Adventures has over 100 miles of marked trails and 25 different loop routes. Sage also has more open meadow riding than the combined bowl area of Vail Mountain.

Maintaining our Trails During Colorado’s Winter

In addition to the re-designed trail system, Sage runs a new, Prinoth Husky Snowcat. This state-of-the-art cat is now a part of Sage’s grooming fleet and will allow the team at Sage to maintain the best possible trail quality.

Guests in Colorado expect a high-level product, and Sage’s grooming efforts are second-to-none. “We want our guests to learn the machines and to enjoy the views, not fight with poorly groomed terrain,” Bangert concluded.

To learn more about our snowmobile rides in the Vail Valley, please visit our Snowmobiling Page. To reserve dates or to ask questions, give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Viewing Colorado’s Spectacular Aspen Tree Displays

Changing Aspens in Colorado

Each September, the Colorado high country erupts in color, as mountainsides covered in aspen groves turn a brilliant gold and orange. The change typically begins by mid-September and reaches its peak near the end of the month.

Colorado Aspen Trees

About the Quaking Aspen Trees

Aspens are one of the most widely distributed native trees to North America, but most of the continent’s aspen forests are located in Colorado and Utah. Here along the Vail Valley, we’re fortunate to have some expansive aspen groves. At our private mountain base, our guests enjoy horseback riding and ATV tours through some spectacular stands of old-growth aspen trees.

In addition to bearing seeds, aspens primarily regenerate by sending up shoots and suckers from lateral root systems. That means an entire aspen grove could be comprised of just a few plants, or in some cases, even a single plant. This is what allows aspens to take the title for being the largest plant on earth!

Changing Aspens in Colorado

Viewing Colorado’s Aspen Trees

The colorful displays of aspen trees in September are beautiful when viewed from a distance when entire mountains are streaked with highlights. However, the best way to enjoy aspen trees is to stand in their midst. Its full name is the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), because, with even the slightest breeze, the entire canopy will tremble in the faint whisper of leaves.

It’s a very special thing, to stand beneath this shimmering roof with the September sunlight filtering through. If you’ve never experienced it, make it a point to spend some time beneath the aspens on your next trip to Colorado.

Aspen Trees near Vail

Forest Adventures With Sage

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we take pride in offering guided trips on a private mountain that contains more acreage than Vail Ski area. We experience the spirit of the old west on horseback rides across this historic ranch and bordering wilderness area. And we grin from ear to ear while cruising through this wild country with the wind in our face on side-by-side ATV rides.

Come enjoy the aspens, enjoy the mountains and capture quality time with your family or friends this September here in Colorado. For information on our trips, you can explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. Or you can call us with questions at 970-476-3700. We’d love to help you plan a memorable Colorado mountain adventure!