August 13, 2020:
The Eagle is in delicate shape right now with low flows and afternoon heat. Water temps are consistently exceeding safe levels (~67 deg F) and the fishing has suffered as a result. Do yourself and the trout a favor and avoid fishing between 1 pm and 3pm, especially this weekend. During this time oxygen levels will be low and the trout will be at high risk of exhaustion and death. Your best bet is to hit the water early or late. With this in mind, the hopper dropper continues to produce great results, particularly in the early hours. Rig up an Amy’s Any, Chubby Sally or Hippie Stomper followed by one or more searcher/imitative patterns and hit the banks and outer seams. If you see trout sipping, rig up a second smaller dry or emerger instead of a nymph. In the evening, surface action has been great with caddis, yellow sallies and PMDs hatching. If you see trout actively rising, rig up a single or double dry fly set up. Otherwise, streamers or a nymph rig will produce.
Ideal Days to Fish: Saturday through Monday
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), Beadhead Iron Sally (#12-16), Caddis Candy (#16-18), .
Surface: Parachute Adams (#22-24), Griffiths Gnat (#22-24), Yellow Sally (#12-14), PMD Thorax Dun (#20-22), Parachute PMD (#20-22), Resting Caddis (#16-18), X2 Caddis (#16-18), Elk Hair Caddis (#16-18), Chubby Chernobyl (#10-12), Amy's Ant (#10-12), Hippie Stomper (#10-12)
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.
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.