Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Eagle River In
The Eagle River starts out at the Tennessee Pass near
the little mining town of Leadville. In its headwaters,
access it difficult, if at all possible. The first access in
near Camp Hale near the pass where the stream flows
though alpine meadows. Below that the Eagle flows
through private property. It can be accessed again
near Minturn. Below Minturn there is about fifty miles of
the stream prior to its convergence with the Colorado
River. The stream flows though the little towns of Avon,
Edwards, Wolcott, Eagle and Gypsum.
The stream runs along highway #6 for most of its
length. From the point Gore Creek, one of its many
tributary streams, enters the river, it turns westward
and flows parallel with I-70. There are several public
areas you can fish along this stretch but most of it runs
through private property.
Several leases provide some excellent access areas
where you can fish the Eagle River. In many cases,
floating the river provides the best opportunities.
Eagle River Colorado
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing:
71/2 ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
The headwaters provide mostly small stream, alpine
meadow fishing for small trout. The Eagle is one of the
few remaining large freestone streams in the State of
Colorado. Its water is very diversified, ranging from a
small alpine stream to fast pocket water, to a larger river
with long runs, riffles and deep pools. It takes a variety
of different techniques and strategies to fish the river
successfully depending on the time of year and
particular place you are fishing.
A year-round season allows you the
opportunity for fly fishing the Eagle River any
day of the year.
Although you can fish during the winter,
fishing is generally tough and limited.
Spring is probably the best time to fish the
Eagle River because of the hatches.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Eagle River:
Being a freestone river, the Eagle is subject
to the conditions Mother Nature provides. It
can be low, with clear shallow water that is
difficult to fish in areas, or raging with high
water impossible to fish, all depending on the
amount melting snow and rainfall. The best
way to describe how you should go about
fishing the Eagle River, is to say that you
always need to go with the flow. Different
water levels demand different techniques.
All in all, the river is a far better nymph
streams than a dry fly stream. There are
some good hatches that you will want to take
advantage of, but many days you will find a
"no hatch to match" situation. Nymphs and
imitations of midge and caddis larvae work
during this time.
The Eagle River runs smack through the
middle of the Vail Valley on its seventy-seven
mile long journey from near Tennessee pass
to past Edwards Colorado. The stream drops
an amazing half mile of vertical distance in it's
first twenty-five miles. It then settles down to
flow another forty-seven miles through the
valleys to its confluence with the Colorado
Because of all the other fine trout streams in
the area, the Eagle River is often overlooked.
It is a very good brown trout fishery. It can be
waded almost anywhere in its upper sections
and offers pocket water fishing as good as it
Below Edwards, both floating and wading
options are available for fly fishing the Eagle
River. Rainbows and browns are common.
The lower Eagle is more popular and heavily
fished at times. It offers plenty of good public
Getting stream flow data is very important
unless you want to waste a trip to the river
every once in a while. Melting snow and
rain upstream far away from where you
plan on fishing may put the Eagle River in
a less than desirable condition. Links to
three USGS stations are on your left.
In the upper sections of the river you can
find access to the water on BLM land but
it will be mixed within private property. It
consist of very fast runs and pocket water.
It isn't easy to wade if there's much water,
so again, getting the stream flow data is
important even if your wading.
Fish in an upstream direction making lots
of short cast as opposed to long cast.
Getting a drag free drift isn't exactly easy
due to its conflicting currents.
The best way to cover a lot of water and
find some feeding trout is to fish the Eagle
from a drift boat. That will also allow you to
fish water you otherwise cannot fish from
the banks or by wading because of the
private property. Nymphs fished below
strike indicators, double or tandem rigs
and streamers are popular setups to use
from the drift boats. Of course the
particular rig you use depends on the
season and the weather and water
conditions. There is not such a thing as a
best setup or fishing method to use.
Eagle River Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in the Eagle River and in all
stages of life that are applicable to fishing. If
you want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The Eagle Rivers first important hatch of the
year is the Blue-winged Olives. They hatch
starting in April and last to the middle of May.
These are bi-brooded insects that hatch
again from the middle of August through
The Green Drakes and Red Quills start
hatching around the middle of June and last
through the month of July. There are also
some PMDs, or Pale Morning Duns. These
mayflies are found in the moderate sections
of the river. They start hatching in July and
last on into the first week or two of August.
Golden Stoneflies hatch from about the
middle of June through July. Yellow Sallies,
or Little Yellow Stoneflies, start hatching
about the first of June and last on into August.
One of the most abundant caddisfly species
are the Brachycentrus species. These
caddisflies start hatching in late April and last
until about to the first week of May.
From June to September you will find the
Spotted Sedges. They are the most
plentiful species of caddisflies on the
river. There will also be a hatch of Little
Sister Caddisflies during July. You will find
some Little Short-horned Sedges that
hatch in late May and early June. There
are also some Green Caddisflies, or
Green Sedges, as some anglers call
them. The larvae of these caddisflies are
called Green Rock Worms. Imitations of
them are very effective year-round. There
are a few other species of caddisflies
present on the river, but none that hatch
in large quantities.
Terrestrial insects become important
during the summer months from about the
June through September. Imitations of
grasshopper, ants and beetles are
The Eagle River has a lot of sculpin,
some minnows and baitfish. Streamers
effective when the brown trout start to
spawn in the fall. They also work anytime
the river is
a little off color from rain as well as early
in the morning and late in the afternoons.
If you haven't already done so, be sure to
try our "Perfect Fly" trout flies. They are
most realistic and effective flies you can
purchase. We have imitations available for
everything that hatches in the Eagle River
as well as all of the generic trout flies.
Except for the runoff, which occurs from
mid June to Mid July, the fishing is
Fall provides great opportunities to catch
some large spawning brown trout. It may
be the best all around time to fish the river.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
It didn't stay a little warm long. The
river is cold, with a lot of slush ice
in it. You might try the lowest
section but it is barely above the
freezing level with ice and deep
snow around the banks. Midges
and Winter stoneflies will be the
only insects you need to be
concerned with. Fish the midge
larva and pupa in tandem for the
best results. Keep up with the
latest on our weekly updated
fishing report linked above.
Map of Eagle River
10/16/15 Very good conditions exist right now. Good stream levels and great weather are
allowing anglers some quality time on the water. The October Caddisfly hatch is at its peak.
Some rain is in the forecast. Imitations of terrestrials are also working good. The Eagle River is
one of a few truly freestone rivers in the state. It starts at a very high elevation and flows for
about 50 miles downhill to the Colorado River.
10/23/15 The October Caddis are nearing the peak of their hatch cycle in the middle and lower
river. It will last longer in the uppermost sections. The egg layers bring trout to the surface to
feed in the late afternoons. Fish the pupa imitation during the actual hatch. Brown trout are
entering their pre-spawn stage and becoming very aggressive and territorial. Streamers will
10/30/15 Good conditions exist at this time on the Eagle from the headwaters to the lowest
section of the river. There are still October Caddis hatching in the lower sections and plenty of
Blue-winged olives. They are hatching in two sizes, 16's and 20's. There is a good opportunity
to catch a large brown trout right now. They are getting close to spawning and being very
11/06/15 The stream levels are in good shape and trout are still being caught but the water
temperature is falling fast due to much colder weather. Blue-winged olives in sizwe 20 and 16
are hatching and so are Cream and Light Green Midges. Other than that, streamers like our
Brown sculpin and the olive Matuka Sculpin are working good on the brown trout and larger
11/13/15 This is one of the coldest rivers in the state but right now the water temperature is
fine, especially in the middle and lower sections of the river. Midges would be our first choice
but small BWO nymphs are also working good. The Brown Sculpin streamer will produce some
of the largest trout in the river. Few anglers are fishing and you will most likely have the little
competition from anything but the fish.
11/20/15 The Eagle is one of the coldest rivers in the state of Colorado and it is living up to its
reputation. The headwaters are cold. The lower section of the river is much warmer though and
you still should be able to catch plenty of trout if you use the right strategies and flies. Midges
and little Blue-winged olives should be the insects you imitate. The BWO nymphs and Midge
larva/pupa combo should work.
11/27/15 Same story, second verse, didn't get better, got a little worse. It is very cold in the
middle and upper sections of the river. You can catch trout in the lower part of the river. Fish
midges in tandem with the larva fly on the bottom and the pupa fly up about a foot or more. The
Brown sculpin should still produce well.
12/11/15 You should add Winter stoneflies to your fly list as they have begin to hatch good.
Fish the nymphs and the adult imitation, only when you see the females laying eggs on the
surface. Midges are still the most important insects to imitate. Fish the lowest end of the river for
the best results. The water is a little warmer than it is in the middle and upper sections of the
12/25/15 The water is getting colder and you should fish the lowest section of the river for the
warmest water. None of it is very warm and ranges from freezing up to about 37 at the highest.
Fish the slack current with slow to still water. Trout won't hold in fast water at that temperature.
They would expend more energy than they could replace with food. Fish midges and Winter
stonefly nymphs. Merry Christmas and good luck.
01/08/16 The snow should end tomorrow and it will be clear skies for the next four days. It will
gradually warm up a little and you may have a fair chance to catch some trout in the lowest
section of the river but the water temperature is currently only 37 degrees. Midges, fished in
tanden with the pupa the top fly and larva the bottom fly, is the best setup. Winter stoneflies are
hatching and you may try the nymph.
01/15/16 The Eagle is probably the coldest river in Colorado. It starts out at a very high
elevation and isn't dammed. It is a pure freestone river. Right now, the warmest water in the
river is at the lowest section and it is only about 36 degrees. We hate making this
recommendation, but you would be far better off to fish a nearby tailwater.
01/22/16 The Eagle starts out as one of the coldest streams in the state of Colorado, due to the
high elevation headwaters. Add a cold January to that, and you have a lot of ice in the water
wherever it flows very slow. The lowest section of the river has the warmest water and if you
choose to fish, is where you should fish.
01/29/16 The stream is flowing just a little above normal for this time of the year. It was warmer
a little last week but melting snow kelp the water temperature the same cold temperature barely
above freezing in the lowest section of the river. There will be a lot of new snow fall this coming
02/05/16 This is one of, if not the, coldest streams in the state and right now the water
temperature at the lowest elevation is only 36 degrees. We ar not saying it is impossible to
catch trout but we are saying it will not be easy. The trout won't hold in any current, only deep
holes out of the current.
02/12/16 Stream flows are normal but will likely stay up some due to melting snow this coming
week. The warm weather will create a mini runoff and stain the water. Streamer flies like our
White Belly sculpin will work good under those conditions. Midges and winter stoneflies are the
main insect you should be imitating.
02/19/16 The Eagle is slowly getting into better shape but remember, it is the middle of the
winter. There is a little snow expected the first of next week, but otherwise clear. Snow has
melted the past week and that has stained the water and kelp it at a lower than desirable
temperature in the middle and upper sections. Midges and Winter stoneflies are what you need
02/26/16 The slightly warmer weather is melting snow in the Eagle watershed. That keeps the
water temperature down, just above the freezing level and with some stain to it. We can't say it
is well worth fishing yet, but it is getting a good start. If you do fish, midges, creams and reds,
will be the best fly option.
03/04/16 There is a chance of snow from Monday through Tuesday of next week, but clear this
weekend. The weather is going to be very warm and that's going to be melting snow and
staining the water as well as keeping it cold. The Brown sculpin streamer will be a good fly
choice. Fish the slack water, not fast water.
03/11/16 The Eagle is in as good of shape as it ever gets in mid March, but that's still cold water
at best. The warm weather feels nice but does little to help the trout fishing from a water
temperature standpoint. It is melting snow in the middle and lower elevations and keep the water
cold. Honestly, you would do much better to fish the Frying Pan or other tailwater.
03/18/16 The river is in good shape stream level wise, but still very cold. It is stained in the
middle and lower sections where the warmer than normal weather at this time of the year has
melted a lot of snow. We think there is some opportunity for a change, in the lower section
provided you fish midges in the slack current below the stained water.
03/25/16 We get tired of writing the same fishing reports. That isn't much fun but there is little
change in th Eagle River. It is cold, with lots of ice and snow on the banks. The very lowest
section of the freestone river is only about 37 degrees and that makes it tough to catch trout.
04/01/16 It isn't exactly wet wading weather yet but it is warming up nicely. That will melt some of
the deep snow, keep the water cold but make everyone feel much better. Catching trout on the
Eagle will still be tough but those that do, can write home about it. Midges are the only things
you need to worry about imitating.
04/08/16 The stream levels are up above normal from melting snow and rain. There is a lot
more rain on the way this coming week, so the levels are likely to be high. Streamers, like our
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Scupin, might work good. Midges and little BWOs are hatching
and March Browns should start any time now.
04/15/16 Conditions are excellent in the headwater country of the Eagle River - that is, if you
are a snow skier. The usually April winter storm has arrived and the trout have shut their
mouths until the water drops and clears up again. We think that will be no earlier than the end
of next week.
04/22/16 The Eagle is the coldest river in the Rocky mountains and when it starts to warm up, it
has more runoff than most of the other streams. It is doing okay and the real runoff hasn't really
started, but the warmer weather is melting lots of snow and keeping the water cold and dirty.
There is more snow and rain forecast, and we don't see much opportunity the next few days.
04/29/16 Snow, snow and more snow, at least for the next four days. The water is still cold in
the Eagle, averaging from just above freezing in the high elevations to the mid forties in the
lower elevations. March Browns, Midges and little BWOs are hatching in the lower elevations,
but the stream is stained and a little high.
05/06/16 All sections of the Eagle River are high and the water dirty. Blown-out is a better
description for it. It will most likely remain in this condition for the next few days. There is more
rain and snow in the forecast and lots of melting snow in the watershed as well.
05/13/16The river is still high and badly stained from melting snow and ice. The runoff will likely
continue through this coming week. II is a good time to plan your next trip to the Eagle because
when it does end, the fly fishing opportunity will be as good as it gets.
05/20/16 The runoff is underway and there is little to no fly fishing opportunity at this time. You
can expect these conditions to continue on into at least the middle of June. All you can do is
watch the stream levels at the three gauges linked below, and send us an email to let us help
you plan that next trip.
05/27/16 The Eagle is in the full runoff mode with very high, muddy water rolling down hill like a
freight train. It will continue to be in this shape for several more days. The cool weather slows it
down and warm weather speeds it up.
06/03/16 The warmer weather has the river is a mad rage, carrying a lot of the banks and
surrounding limbs, sticks, logs and anything in it way with it. There is no fly fishing opportunity
and it is going to be that way for the next week for certain. You can be planning that next trip,
but that is about it for now.
06/10/16 flow at Avon is 3230 cfs at 8.65 ft. That is very high and the water is muddy to badly
stained. This is likely to last a few more days or even longer. Keep checking back with us for the
06/17/16 The flows are all still very high at all three USGS stations. The runoff is starting to
subside and the water drop but it has a long way to go. It is very dingy and not worth fishing
anywhere yet. You should use the time to plan that next trip and shoot us an email so we can
help you do that. The address is across the page on your right.
07/01/16 The Eagle is getting into good shape but still has a ways to go. The levels are still too
high to wade safely in most sections. The heavy rain isn't helping but that will end the first of the
week. There are a lot of insects hatching and it will be a very good destination when it does
drop a little more. The hatches vary from the headwaters to the lowest end of the river.
07/08/15 The Eagle begins at a very high elevation, and offers water that including about every
type that trout are able to survive in. They hatches in the high elevations are more like what
hatches in the lower river six weeks ago. There are still plenty of Blue-winged olives. The lowest
section of the river has hatches that are almost completely different.
07/15/16 There isn't any reason to hold back fishing the Eagle. It is in as good of shape as it is
going to get. We are getting some very good reports from customers fishing in the middle and
upper sections. There are lot of different hatches taking place but it depends on the section you
are fishing. The weather forecast looks good for this coming week.
07/22/16 The Eagle is in great shape from the uppermost section of the headwaters to the
lowest section of the river. It doesn't get any better than it is right now. Stream levels are down
and most all the stream easy to wade. There are lots of insects hatching. The hatches will vary
from the uppermost section to the lower river. Now is the time to fish the Eagle River.
07/29/16 The river is about average to a little low in some places. Thee is a chance of rain from
tomorrow through Monday, so we don't think it will be getting much lower. There are lots of
insects hatching but they vary depending on the elevation. Send us an email for more detailed
information on that.
08/05/16 The cooler weather is going to help the lower river section. It was a little warm. The
stream levels are up near normal and our customers are sending in some very good reports.
Lots of Pale Morning Duns, Spotted and Green sedge caddis, little Yellow stones and other
hatches that vary with the elevation.
08/12/16 The Eagle is in good shape from the high elevation headwaters down to the lower
section of the river. If you want to try something different, catch plenty of trout and enjoy the
beauty, fish the meadows near Camp Hale. Little Yellow stoneflies, Spotted sedges, Green
sedges, Pale Morning duns, Tricos and other insects are hatching. Terrestrials are also working.
08/19/15 The stream levels range from normal for this time of the year, to just a little low. This
makes wading easy and fishing about as good as it gets. Hatches vary greatly with the elevation
but there are still plenty of them. Caddisflies ae the most consistent. Imitations of terrestrial
insects are working good as well. Lots of small trout are being caught in the headwaters.
08/26/16 The stream levels are flowing at about an average level in all sections for this time of
the year. The headwaters still has a lot of early hatches. Hatches in the other sections vary with
the elevations. Triocs are hatching in the lower section of the river. Our customer are catching
trout in all sections and reporting the fishing is as good as it has been all year.
09/02/16 Stream levels are a little high to normal levels depending on the section. Both wading
and drift boat anglers are catching trout. There are mega caddisfly hatching taking place. Fish
the egg laying activity late in the day. Tricos and Blue-winged olives are also hatching good.
Terrestrial imitations such as hopper, ants and beetles are also working.
09/09/16 It is rare that the Eagle River gets in any better shape than it is right now. Stream
levels are perfect for wading anglers, yet you can use a drift boat in the lower section. There a
lot of hatches taking place but they vary greatly from section to section. There are few anglers
fishing. Terrestrial insect imitations are also working good.
09/16/16 The river is in good shape from the headwaters to the lowest section. Our customers
are reporting some good numbers of trout caught. Both wading anglers and drift boat guys on
the lower river are doing well. There are still lot of hatches but they vary with the elevation.
Terrestrials are working as well. Send us an email for a fly list.
09/23/16 The river is still a little below normal levels in all sections. That makes it easy to wade
and with the cooler water, easy to catch trout as long as you can keep from spooking them. Fish
longer, lighter leaders and tippets. October Caddis and Mahogany Duns are hatching in
addition to lots of Blue-winged olives.
09/30/16 The Eagle is still a little low but the good news is, the water temperature is down in all
sections and the trout are active and feeding. The stream can be easily waded in all sections.
Right now is a great time to fish the stream. We recommend the middle section but the upper
and lower are in good shape as well.
10/07/16 Good water levels exist except a little low in some sections. There are a lot of Blue-
winged olives and October Caddis hatching. Our customers are catching lots of trout and most
on the surface on dries. It is a great time ot fish this river. Cloud cover helps the hatches and
streamers will catch the aggressive brown trout.
10/21/16 Stream levels are low in all section but the river is in great shape otherwise. There are
lots of hatches taking place including some very good October Caddis and Bluw-winged olives.
Brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage and anglers are catching time on streamers like our
brown sculpin. Stay low and hidden from the trout.
10/28/16 The river is in good shape from top to bottom. The weather is going to be nice this
coming week and it is a good time to fish the river. Blue-winged olives and Western Ginger
Quills are hatching good. Brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage in the lower sections of the
river. Brown sculpin streamers will catch them.
11/04/16 The lower and middle sections of the river are producing some good catching for our
customers. They are using Brown sculpin streamers mostly. There are some good Ginger Quill
and Blue-winged olive hatches taking place. The weather is turning cooler. Stream levels are
okay now, but check them before traveling very far to fish the river.
11/11/16 Stream levels are in good shape in all sections of the river. The uppermost
headwaters are getting a little chilly but okay. We recommend fishing the middle and lower
sections. Midges, creams mostly, and Blue-winged olives are hatching good. Trout can still be
caught on the surface during the hatch. It doesn't get much better than this in November.
11/18/16 The stream levels are just fine and allow wading about anywhere you wish to wade.
The weather is turning a little colder and the uppermost sections of the Eagle are getting cold.
We recommend the middle and lower sections. They have some very good Blue-winged olive
and midge hatches taking place. Give the water a little time to warm up in the morning.
11/25/16 The river levels are just a little below normal and in good shape. Fish the lower
sections or no further upstream than the middle sections. The water is below 40 degrees in the
headwaters. Midges, creams and reds (blood) midges, Blue-winged olive nymphs and Sculpin
streamers are the preferred flies to use at this time.
12/02/16 The middle and upper sections of the river have water temperatures in the high
thirties. That makes it tough to catch trout. Fish the lower section. Midges, creams and reds or
blood midges, are hatching good. There are still some Blue-winged olives hatching as well as
Winter stoneflies. The Brown sculpin streamers should continue to catch the larger trout.
12/09/16 The river is in good shape stream level wise, but the water is cold, especially in the
middle and upper sections. Midges are hatching good. Fish the Cream and Red midge larva
and pupa imitations in tandem with the larva the bottom fly. Winter stonefly nymphs should also
catch trout. The Brown sculpin streamer will catch the larger trout under low light conditions.
12/16/16 We don't like it, but we are not recommending fishing the Eagle this coming week. The
air temperature is barely getting above freezing and then only one day of the coming week. This
is a freestone stream, and the water stays near the same temperature as the water. Right now,
there is a lot of slush ice in the water.
12/23/16 Conditions remain about the same. The lowest section of the river is only 25 degrees.
Most of the river has a lot of slush ice and ice and deep snow around the banks. We don't think
it is worth fishing under these conditions. It isn't impossible to catch trout on midges, but it won't
12/30/16 We hate posting this but our advice is to select a nearby tailwater for a much better
opportunity. The water is about 35 degrees in the lower section of the river at the warmest. Yes,
it is possible for you to catch trout feeding on midges at that water temperature. You just have
better options in the nearby area. Fish the warmest part of the day.
01/06/17 If you insist on fishing the Eagle, fish the lower section for the warmest water. You can
catch trout in 35 degree water on midges. Fish the warmest part of the day and watch for midge
clusters. We still think a local tailwater is a far better option and we hate not pushing the Eagle,
but it is tough when it is this cold.
01/13/17 For the first time in a while, we can recommend fishing the lower section of the river. It
has about 36-37 degrees water temperature right now, with midges and winter stoneflies
hatching. The water is at a low level and there are more areas open to safe wading than
normal. Red and Cream midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching.