Piney Lake and Upper Piney River | Fly Fishing Report

Piney Lake and Upper Piney River | Fly Fishing Report

Piney River fishing well!
Thumbs up for clear water!

The Piney River Ranch Experience

If you haven’t made the trip up to Piney before this should be something to put on your list. The 12 mile drive from Vail takes you gets you off the beaten path, driving through the White River National Forest. Once at Piney Lake, you are met with majestic views of the Gore Range, the lake and a river that winds through open meadows. Piney River Ranch operates the area and offers many activities including canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, horse back riding amongst other activities. The ranch also boasts a restaurant and wedding venue. A place worth the bumpy drive!


8-16-2014 Fly Fishing Report | Piney Lake and Piney River

This week I had the opportunity to fish the Piney Ranch area twice with different sets of clients and both groups had great days. We found the scenery to be incredible (as always), lots of wildlife (4 moose, 1 fox, deer, eagles and plenty of brookies) and most importantly found the dry fly fishing to be superb. Fish were hanging in the shallows that need to be snuck up on to have a chance for a hookup. We also found most of our hits were where the bottom drops off and the water gets deeper. Other than that, there really was no specific spot on the lake that fished better than others.

The river that flows through the area was great as well. We focused above the lake, and although the water levels are getting lower and lower as we speak, there are quite a few fish eager to take your dries. You will want to gear up using smaller tippet and longer leaders. Get stealthy with your approach, have good fly presentation and you should pick up fish regularly.


Royal, tan and yellow PMXs (#12-16), stimulators (#14-16), parachute Adams (#16-18), tricos (#16) and elk hair caddis (#16)


The nearest measurement station is at the mouth of Piney River at the Colorado.  Still, it indicates seasonably low flows, at about 29 cubic feet per second.

Piney River
Thumbs up for sight fishing clear water!

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

More Articles