Eagle River

Eagle River

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish NA

Weekly Report

Report DateJan. 19, 2023

Subfreezing overnight temps and winter weather have led to an increasing amount of ice build up along the banks and finding open water is becoming more of a challenge. As it stands, most of the water is largely unfishable. However, the section below Edwards is where you’ll find the most amount of open water. The beginning of January was relatively mild which opened up a lot of water on this stretch and while it is slowly reverting back to being covered in ice, you should manage to find a few productive runs in the days to come. Keep in mind, however, that this will change with the weather and it is likely to be unfishable unless air temps hold above freezing for more than a few days. With this in mind, we’d recommend fishing elsewhere if you’re looking for more certainty. If you decide to hit the water, keep in mind that the mornings have been and will continue to be slow so there is no hurry to the water. In fact, productivity will be best during peak heat hours after the slush has cleared. Additionally, you’ll want to seek out areas with extended sun exposure as this is where you will find the most open water and actively feeding trout. Trout are largely confined to the deep and slow water most of the day so you’ll want to stick with a heavy nymph rig for the best results. Small and imitative is the name of the game. However, moderate sized searchers or attractors in the #16-18 range will make for good lead patterns. Hatch activity has dwindled lately, but we continue to see sporadic midges making an appearance throughout the day. With this in mind, you’ll likely want to focus most of your efforts below the surface, but if you see consistent surface feeding don’t hesitate to rig up some smaller midge dry flies. Persistence will become increasingly important. Cycle through flies and adjust your depth before moving on. You’re going to need to hit them on the nose in order to see results. If you’re comfortable with sight fishing that will always work in your favor. Otherwise, survey the pronounced pools and slow runs making sure to cover all of the nooks and crannies before moving on.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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Detailed River Info

Background

The Eagle River is a tributary of the Colorado River and spans over 60 miles through west central Colorado. This beautiful freestone river originates at the Continental Divide near the Mount of the Holy Cross and Camp Hale landmarks. Beginning at the Divide, it travels north until it reaches the Vail Valley to which it turns west where it merges with Gore Creek before ultimately spilling into the Colorado River near Dotsero. Here you’ll find beautiful landscapes ranging from a meandering valley setting to intense rapids cutting through jagged mountainous terrain. In this river, you’ll find plenty of cutthroat, brook, brown and rainbow trout in the 10” to 15” range. However, there are a few native lunkers holding in the upper and lower sections. 

Angling

The Eagle offers a variety of fishing styles and is generally friendly to anglers of all skill sets. The upper Eagle, near the headwaters, is known best for its pocket water and swift current. This is one of the more technical sections, but with a little persistence and patience you could find yourself on the fighting end of a trophy brown. Additionally, this stretch offers some incredible dry fly fishing in the late summer and fall. The lower Eagle is more forgiving. However, it sees a lot more angler traffic. Here you will find bigger uniform water with fewer features. A heavy nymph rig has proven to be the most effective in this stretch. However, streamers are always a great option, especially if you’re looking to target bigger fish.

River Access

There are a number of great access points along the Eagle as it flows parallel to I-70 for much of its journey to the Colorado River. If you are looking to fish the headwaters, take Highway 24 from Dowd’s Junction (I-70 and Highway 24) toward Leadville until you reach Camp Hale. Here you’ll find a number of campgrounds and forest service land. However, keep an eye out for private property. Fishing through Vail Valley provides many access points stretching from the Minturn exit to Dotsero. If you follow Highway 6, you’ll find plenty of public access points along the Eagle. Look for BLM sites and DOW leases.