What You Need to Know About Fly Fishing the Piney River

Piney River Fly Fishing

The state of Colorado is often known for its towering mountains and graded river canyons. But there are portions of Colorado that lend to its defining features far more than others. Sitting around 12,000 feet in elevation, the Gore Range is one of those places. One of the rivers born from this textbook Colorado landscape is the Piney River near Vail, Colorado.

Tumbling 28 miles from its headwaters, the Piney River is a long tributary of the Colorado River. The headwaters begin at Piney Lake before stretching through a rugged wilderness canyon until it ultimately feeds into the Colorado River.

Often overshadowed in name by nearby well-known rivers like the Eagle River and Colorado River, the Piney is an absolute gem. And not just for its majestic exposure to the Gore Range’s towering beauty. The Piney River offers some of the best freestone fly-fishing in the state of Colorado.

The Piney River near Vail, Colorado

Fishing the Piney Valley Ranch

Located just above its confluence with the Colorado River, the Piney River flows through the spectacular, Pine Valley Ranch. This stretch is the crème de la crème of the Piney River. And access to this private stretch of water is only available to guests of ​Sage Outdoor Adventures.

Sage is fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with the owners of Piney Valley Ranch and the exclusive lease to guide trips on these waters. When you book a fishing trip with Sage, you’ll have this historic ranch, this beautiful river canyon, and this world-class trout fishery all to yourself.

The Piney Valley Ranch encompasses seven river miles of private water. And the guide service at Sage Outdoor Adventures checks all of the boxes.

Piney River Guided Fly Fishing

Planning A Fishing Trip to the Piney River

Peak fishing conditions on the Piney River begin immediately after runoff subsides, usually in late June and will continue through the early fall. These summer and fall months bring consistent water levels and prolific hatches of mayflies and caddis. Mid-summer and early fall is also an excellent time to fish terrestrials like hoppers, beetles and ants. Whether you prefer to throw dry flies, nymphs, or swing streamers through the deeper runs, all of it is available here on the Piney.

Because these fish see very little pressure, they tend to be aggressive and not very selective. But the guides at Sage will help you pick the best patterns for the conditions and the time of year. While these trout can usually be fooled by a variety of fly patterns, the low, clear water conditions later in the summer often require a stealthy approach. Prepare to approach from downstream and make upstream casts to avoid being seen.

No matter the time of year you decide to take on the Piney, it’s important to keep in mind that the higher altitude provides less protection from the sun, so wear and reapply sunscreen throughout the day for the duration of your trip. Anglers will want to bring a hat, and long sleeves. And we’d recommend a buff to cover your neck. As far as the weather is concerned, there is a common saying in Colorado that, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” From cold temperatures in the morning, to intense midday sun, to afternoon thunderstorms, be prepared to experience it all. Dress in layers so that you can quickly adjust to the changing conditions.

Guided Fly Fishing in Colorado

Piney River: A Gore Range Freestone Tributary

It would be difficult to overstate the quality of the fishing on the Piney River as it runs through Piney Valley Ranch, or the beauty of this canyon and the surrounding scenery. The only way to truly understand it is to come experience it for yourself.

To learn more about guided fly fishing trips with Sage Outdoor Adventures and to reserve dates for your adventure, please click here. Or, give the folks at Sage a call at 970-476-3700. Come experience the Piney River this summer with Sage!

Piney River Fly Fishing

Written by the Staff at Riversmith

The Summer Season is a Wrap – Time to Think About Snow

Summer Season

Fall is in the air and we are already getting stoked for snowmobiling season here in Colorado! But before we jump straight into winter sports mode, we want to say thank you to everyone for a wonderful summer season!

Thanks to each of our guests to joined us this summer for a whitewater rafting adventure, a side-by-side ATV thrill ride, a memorable day of horseback riding, or some incredible fly fishing. We enjoyed meeting folks from all over the world and it’s truly our greatest pleasure to have the opportunity to share in your adventures. Thank you!

Summer Season Rafting

A big shout out also goes to our summer staff. Without these energetic and outgoing folks, your adventures wouldn’t be possible. We’re proud to have some of the best staff in the business here at Sage Outdoor Adventures. And we are thankful for their hard work this summer!

Our 2020 summer season was very memorable. We enjoyed great weather throughout the summer, perfect for enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery here in the Vail Valley and surrounding areas. The rafting season was a ton of fun, from early season on Gore Creek and the Eagle River, down to the late summer trips on the Colorado River and the Arkansas River. All around, it was a fun rafting season.

Side-by-Side ATV Ride

Our horseback riders and side-by-side ATV riders had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of wildflowers and wildlife throughout the summer. There’s no bad time to explore our private mountain on horseback or ATV. But when the weather cooperates, it’s very hard to beat.

With the summer season behind us, we can now look forward to snowmobiling and a fun season of winter activities! We plan to open our winter snowmobiling operation in time for Thanksgiving. If you are planning a vacation to Vail or Beaver Creek during the holidays, please give us a call.

These snowmobile rides are a blast. We can easily accommodate families and it’s a perfect distancing activity. We operate on a private mountain that’s actually larger than Vail ski area! You’ll have this pristine landscape all to yourself, along with its incredible views – talk about space! Get away from the hustle and bustle of the ski runs, and join us for a backcountry ride through this winter wonderland.

To learn more about our snowmobile trips, please check out our snowmobiling page. For specific availability or details, give us call at 970-476-3700 or send us a message.

See you when the snow falls!

Experience a September Adventure in Colorado

September in Colorado

It has been a beautiful summer here in the Vail Valley. We’ve had a blast on rafting trips on the Eagle, Colorado and Arkansas Rivers. The fishing on the Piney River has been excellent. And at our mountain base, we’re having a blast on horseback rides and side-by-side ATV rides with all of our guests.

As we welcome September, we’re thrilled for one of the best months of the year here in Colorado. The temperatures are still warm, and the September weather is idyllic. Cool mornings lead to warm, sunny afternoons. Soon, the aspens will be turning a bright gold. And wildflowers are still growing throughout the mountain meadows. This is where summer meets fall, and it is spectacular!

September Horseback Rides

Horseback riding here at our private mountain base is an awesome experience in September. You’ll ride through old growth aspen stands and witness incredible scenery. And in typical Sage fashion, these are not your average nose-to-tail horseback rides. Being on a 6,000 acre private mountain means that we aren’t restricted to designated Forest Service trails. We can explore the entire place, and ride freely through this historic ranch that’s larger than the Vail ski area!

Side-By-Side ATV Adventures

Side-by-side rides are also a great way to see Colorado in September. These rides also take place on this expansive private mountain, where you’ll have incredible views of the entire Vail valley.  In addition to the adjoining public land, we have more than 20,000 acres of wild country to explore!

Scenic September Rafting in Colorado

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the incredible rafting opportunities here in Colorado in September. River conditions are perfect on many of our favorite stretches of river. There are a number of fun and incredibly scenic river trips to experience in September around Vail and Beaver Creek.

September Fly Fishing on the Piney River

And finally, this is one of the best times of year to experience fly fishing in Colorado. In September, big brown trout begin moving in advance of their fall spawn. And rainbow and cutthroat trout take advantage of grasshoppers and big hatches of late summer insects as they prepare for the lean winter.

Fly Fishing in ColoradoIf you find yourself in Vail or Beaver Creek this September, consider yourself one of the lucky ones! Not only is it one of the most beautiful months of the year in Colorado. But it’s also usually a little bit quieter after the peak summer season. Take advantage of it, and find some adventure!

For information on our trips, please explore our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com. For details and booking you can contact us online or give us a call at 970-476-3700.

Something Completely Different: Horseback Rides With Sage

When was your last horseback ride? Was it a nose-to-tail, hardly thrilling experience? Well, you can forget it. We’ll show you a horseback riding experience the way it was meant to be.

Here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, we explore big, wide-open spaces. We ride through open meadows, aspen groves, stands of old-growth spruce forest, and along mountain lakes. Our horses are trained to ride side-by-side rather than in single-file formation.

Where most outfitters are limited to single-track Forest Service trails, we offer something completely different. Operating on a historic, private mountain ranch near Vail, Colorado, we get to explore 6,000 acres of spectacular scenery. The Ranch is the size of Vail Ski area, and it’s exclusive to our guests. Not only will you be able to break formation, you’ll have the place to yourself!

Our base of operations on this incredible mountain provides the perfect summer home for our horses. There’s nothing quite like experiencing a beautiful new place on horseback, and our excellent wranglers will help make sure you feel comfortable and ready to enjoy it. We can accommodate riders of any ability level.

Perched above the Vail Valley and overlooking the Eagle River Canyon, this mountain retreat is a quick drive from Vail and Beaver Creek. We offer free hotel pickup and two-hour rides that will have you back in time to enjoy the rest of your day.

 

To learn more about horseback rides with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please visit our Horseback Riding Page. For availability and reservations, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

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. And as we enjoy the great snow conditions this winter season, we are reveling 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

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 is 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.”

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 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.

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 Vail and Beaver Creek 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.