Eagle River

Weekly Overview:

January 14, 2021: 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate

  • Fishing on the Eagle has been a challenge with ice accumulation and snow. While much of the river is covered in ice, you should manage to find a few open runs and pools. Keep in mind that we’re seeing a fair amount of ice/slush run-off in the morning so if the cold weather alone isn’t enough to deter you from fishing the morning shift, hopefully this will. Give it until about 11 am before you hit the water. Once you've settled in and found some fishy water, be persistent and really pick it apart. At this point, it’s all about the small and imitative midge nymph rig. However, with elevated air pressure in the coming days you’ll want to consider small and flashy attractor flies at the lead. Rainbow Warriors, red or purple Copper Johns, Psycho Prince Nymphs and Flashback PTs are a few of our go-to attractor flies at the moment. Otherwise, trail any of the aforementioned flies with one or more smaller and imitative midge patterns like a Blood Midge, Mercury Black Beauty, Mercury Midge, Top Secret or Tube Midge. While baetis are few and far between, trout will go for the more versatile patterns like an RS2. Cold weather, lack of cloud cover and elevated air pressure for most of the next seven days will leave trout holding in the deeper water columns. As such, ensure plenty of weight and get your flies deep. On Monday (1/18), don’t hesitate to lead with something bigger like a leech or stonefly as trout will capitalize on bigger bites in the hours leading up to the storm. 

  • Ideal Days to Fish: 1/17 & 1/18

  • Suggested Flies:

    • Sub-surface: RS2 (#20-22), Barr's Emerger (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Chocolate Thunder (#20-22), Mercury Pheasant Tail (#20-22), Black Beauty (#22-26), Zebra Midge (#20-24), Blood Midge (#20-22), Disco Midge (#18), Guides Choice Hares Ear (#16-18), red Copper John (#18-20), Frenchie (#18-20), Rainbow Warrior (#18-20), Pine Squirrel Leech (#10), San Juan Worm (#10-12) .

    • Surface: Parachute Adams (#22-24), Griffiths Gnat (#22-24), Parachute BWO (#22-24), Comparadun BWO (#22-24)

      • ​Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All ​to package a dozen flies that are hot on the Colorado River right now - Click here for hand selected flies

Detailed River Info:


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. 


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. 

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