5 Tips For Fly Fishing Colorado’s Wilderness 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!

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.

Here are five tips to remember when fly fishing any of Colorado’s small wilderness rivers:

  1. 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. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. 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.

5. 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!

Your Private Mountain Snowmobile Playground

Having a base of operations on a beautiful private mountain near Vail, Colorado allows us to offer a snowmobiling experience that’s unrivaled. It’s one of our greatest points of pride here at Sage Outdoor Adventures. It’s a big part of what makes us different.

A snowmobile tour with us means having access to 6,000 rideable acres. What does that mean for our guests? To put it in perspective, that’s bigger than the Vail ski area. And it’s entirely private. The only people you’ll see on the entire mountain are other Sage guests. Most tour companies rely on Forest Service permits. They are forced to deal with public conditions and are restricted to specific trails and small play areas.

SnowmobilingOur riders get to explore the entire mountain. This mountain paradise has 2,500 feet of vertical, more than 100 miles of maintained trails, and expansive meadows for open riding. Our base of operations sits at 8,100 feet elevation, the same as Vail and Beaver Creek Villages. Most of our mountain is north-facing, which preserves snow conditions on our trails.

Trail quality is another major point of pride. Our crew sets the standard for excellent trails and grooming. We operate three Snowcats for grooming, plus five drag groomers that are pulled by snowmobiles. Trail maintenance takes a lot of effort and our team is the best in the business. On a snowmobile ride with us, you won’t have to worry about hitting washboard sections or nasty dips. You’ll be free to enjoy the incredible scenery and an experience like nowhere else!

Finally, the private mountain experience offers an unparalleled level of comfort. Whereas operators on public trails are forced to use temporary check-in trailers and outhouses, our guests enjoy a cozy cabin at our mountain base. Our base is nestled in a scenic valley with incredible views. The cabin is a great place for customers to relax, with wood burning stoves, fully equipped restrooms and a 5,000 square-foot deck overlooking the valley.

The best mountain and the greatest facilities wouldn’t mean what they do without our incredible team. Our people are still what make a Sage experience truly special. But having the opportunity to operate in such an incredible location sure doesn’t hurt!

For more information on snowmobile tours with Sage Outdoor Adventures, give us a call at 970-476-3700 or send us a message. You can also read more about our snowmobiling adventures on our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com.

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 ranch near Vail, Colorado, we get to explore 6,000 acres of private, 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 ranch 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 ranch 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.

Take a look at this video that highlights our horseback riding experience:

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.