Eagle River

Eagle River

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 9/25 through 9/28

Weekly Report

Report DateSept. 22, 2022

Rain in the last couple of days has led to an increase in flow on the Eagle which has temporarily impaired water clarity. While we expect this to continue through Thursday (9/22), it should start to clear up and be in decent shape by the weekend. At this flow, trout are able to spread out and are feeding at various depths and locations across the water. However, they have been especially prone to hug the banks and move in and out of the outer seams to feed. As far as tactics go, hopper droppers and nymph rigs have produced the most consistent results. You'll want to focus most of your attention to the slack water and areas along the banks as this is where water clarity will be best. Bigger bugs in the leech, stonefly and caddis variety will make for great lead flies. Otherwise, smaller searchers/attractors or midge, baetis or caddis imitations will be good trailer fly options. Streamers have been increasingly effective and should turn some heads in off-colored water. Go with bigger patterns that are dark in profile and move a lot of water for the best results. Articulated streamers are a great option. When nymphing, you'll want to cover a lot of water and ensure the appropriate depth. During the early morning and post hatch windows, fish deep with something bigger at the lead like a Pat's, leech or San Juan Worm followed by one or more smaller searchers/attractors or imitative midge, baetis or caddis. Otherwise, try your luck at the mid to upper water columns in the faster riffles, seams and transitions leading up to or during the hatch. Last but not least, hatch activity has been fairly consistent with midges, BWOs, tricos and caddis however surface action will be hit or miss over the next few days.

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.