What Is the Best Guided Fly Fishing Trip for Trout?

What Is the Best Guided Fly Fishing Trip for Trout?


Many people who have never booked a guided fly fishing trip before have a lot of questions and are unsure which trip to take. There are several options and all have their benefits. Just about any fly fishing trip offered by reputable outfitters and guides can be catered for any skill level and all capable guides will be able to handle clients who have never held a fly rod or those who are lifelong anglers. The list below will discuss the benefits of the different types of fly fishing trips available.

Half Day Fly Fishing Trips

Half day fly fishing trips generally run from three to five hours. They are often the trip of choice for those with a full schedule who have a lot of activities planned. Also for anglers bringing children along, a half day is usually best.

For beginners on their first guided trip, a half day works well and doesn't overload a person. During the coldest months of winter, a half day wade trip during the warmest part of the day is all that is necessary to land a few trout. During summer, especially when it is very hot for extended periods of time, an early morning half day trip is preferred. Some simply prefer the time frame of a half day and it is easy for guides to suggest when and what time will best for a few hours of fly fishing.

Full Day Fly Fishing Trips

Full day fly fishing trips usually take anywhere from six to nine hours. Lunch is always included. Many experienced anglers prefer the full day, which allows for targeting specific hatches and going where the fishing is best, even if it is an hour's drive away. Half days may not provide this option. Full days also give fly fishing guides a chance to work with clients on new techniques and methods of fishing. 

From late June through the month of July, when fish are feeding all day, a full day float is the best way to catch large numbers of trout. Fall is also a great time to enjoy a full day float on isolated rivers while late winter and early spring are perfect for a full day wade trip.

Full day wade trips can also be run as a class where the client "goes to school" in the morning, learning casting, knots and fly selection from the guide. In the afternoon the pupil applies what they've learned and actively fishes with the guide's assistance.

Wade Fly Fishing Trips

Wading should be the first trip a new angler books with a guide. For novices, it is easier to learn in a setting where the guide is right next to the fisherman, available to watch and make suggestions and teach technique. The pace of a wade is slower than a float and most people can pick up the basics of nymph fishing with an indicator in a few hours. During winter, wading is the best choice, as most fishing is concentrated towards nymphing deep holes and moving a lot is unnecessary.

Float Fly Fishing Trips

For anglers who love throwing dry flies and steamers, floating is the obvious choice. More water can be covered in one float than could be covered in a week of wade fishing and in Colorado, float fishing makes fishing through private water possible. Most experienced anglers prefer floating since they don't need as much instruction but appreciate the possibilities floating offers. Since the guide is limited somewhat when rowing a boat, beginners may find floating intimidating at first, but it does offer benefits that outweigh worries about lack of experience. Floating is also great for those who may have trouble getting around in a wading situation. Late winter through late fall is the average float season. Often in May, June and into July, the fishing is excellent but high water limits wade fishing opportunities so floating is a better option. At different times either a half day float or full day may be recommended.

Other Guided Fly Fishing Trips

Single or multi-day fly fishing schools are also a great choice for neophytes looking to get an in depth instructional experience that they can then apply to their own fly fishing excursions. Private water ranches offer less pressured and usually larger trout. Hiking into alpine lakes and streams is an experience that offers eager trout and gorgeous mountain scenery. For those looking to fish multiple days, combining wades and floats or floating several different rivers is a good way to mix things up and also gives anglers more of a chance to hit at least one of those days when the stars align and the fishing is incredibly good.

Keep in mind booking a fly fishing trip does not guarantee good fishing. Beginners should manage expectations and focus on learning as much as catching fish. Guides are a great resource so use them to become a better fly fisherman. Book your trip as far in advance as possible. The most popular experienced guides are the first to get booked!

Experienced anglers often will book a guide to learn an area they can then fish on their own. Let your guide know your intentions in advance if this is the case. Also book your trip early in your fishing vacation so you can use what you've learned  to catch trout on your own. You will also have time to rebook if conditions were unfishable or if you had a great time and want to go again.

Ready to book your guided fly fishing trip in Colorado with Vail Valley Anglers? Give us a call for more information on booking your trip!

Brody Henderson, Senior Guide and Web Content Writer