Current Flows: Current Flow near Minturn, Current flow below Gypsum
#12-18 Parchute PMD,#12-16 Royal Stimulator, #12-16 PMX, #16-18 Elk Hair Caddis, #16-20 Blue Winged Olive, #18-22 Parachute Adams, #10-16 20Inchers, #18-20 Copper John, #18-22 Pheasant Tail, #16-20 Prince Nymphs, #16-20 Zebra Midges, #16-22 Barr Emerger, #16-20 Z-Wing Caddis, #18-20 WD 40, #8-12 Wooly Bugger.
Located along the I-70 corridor, the Eagle River is the best kept secret in Colorado. From its headwaters in southeastern Eagle County, near the continental divide, the river flows 60 miles to its confluence with the Colorado at Dotsero. The Native Americans that lived in this area said the river had more tributaries than an Eagle has feathers, thus the name.
The upper section is creek sized flowing through high meadows and in and out of beaver ponds. The river then flows into a canyon near Red Cliff, where it passes the modern day ghost town of Gilman. Gilman was a former mining town founded in 1886 and abandoned in 1984 by order of the EPA because of contaminated ground water and toxic pollutants. After large fish kills and the threat of contamination for the drinking water in the town of Minturn, the area became a Superfund site in 1986. The efforts at the site have substantially cleaned up the river and fishing in this area has rebounded as well.
As the Eagle River flows under I-70 just north of Minturn it collects a very important tributary, Gore Creek. Gore Creek flows through the town of Vail and is considered Gold Medal water from Red Sandstone Creek downstream to the confluence. Clean and full of insects, it is not uncommon to catch 20"+ trout in this little creek.
From Minturn to Edwards the river gains some water but still stays relatively small, full of pocket water, this area holds rainbows and browns averaging 13". Gaining Lake Creek at Edwards the river grows enough for float fishing to start, see our "Guide to Float Fishing" tab for put-in and take-outs. The river between Edwards and Wolcott is very productive with fish in the 18"-22" class and copious bug life. The area is heavily fished, because of its proximity to the towns up valley as well as it propensity to stay clean even after rain.
Below Wolcott and down to our fly shop in Eagle is our home water, 10 miles of perfect trout water. Our fly shop is located on the bank of the Eagle River in the town of Eagle; 25 minutes west of Vail, with plenty of public river access this is a good point to start at, and maps are available for purchase showing access at the shop. Wading the in the Eagle can be tricky, we like to say that it is full of greased bowling balls. The river is most efficiently fished from a boat, floating the river offers anglers the easiest access to private water and the best fishing. Unfortunately river flows become too low in the latter part of the summer to float. With browns, rainbows, cutthroat and cut-bows the Eagle River consistently fishes well. With prolific hatches and lower than historic metal content the river is averaging 14”-16” trout with possibilities to 20”+. After rain showers the Eagle can become unfishable below Wolcott, but quickly recovers, this does have the beneficialeffect of giving the fish a break from fisherman.
At this point we have to take a break from the Eagle to talk about Brush Creek. One mile downstream from the fly shop, Brush Creek meets the Eagle,with miles of public access, campgrounds and clean pocket water full of trout and insects, this creek is a gem. Offering varying terrain there is water suited to all anglers. Beginning in the Sawatch Range south of Eagle, the creeks two forks meet in Sylvan Lake State Park. The park features 10 miles of classic high mountain stream fishing and the 42 acre Sylvan Lake. There are campgrounds as well as cabins and yurts for rent. You can also rent canoes at the lake. The picturesque beauty of this park is not to miss, for more information check their website at www.parks.state.co.us
. Below the state park Brush creek flows through private ranches and has no access until its last mile where there is access through the Eagle Ranch Golf community, downstream to the confluence with Eagle. This is ideal dry-dropper water filled with browns and rainbows.
From Eagle downstream to Gypsum the river mostly flows through private property so we float this section a good deal while flows allow. At Gypsum there is a state recreation area called Gypsum Ponds, which has a few miles of public access. The river begins to slow and meander below Gypsum to its meeting with the Colorado. This area can be tough to wade because of the silt bottom but offers float anglers some extraordinary dry fly fishing in the summer.