A Lesser-Known Gem
Originating near the top of Tennessee Pass, the Eagle tumbles its way through prime real estate on it’s way to joining the Colorado River at Dotsero. Fed by the Gore and Sawatch mountains, the Eagle is the lesser-known gem of central Colorado. Taking a backseat in the eye of the public to the Colorado and Frying Pan, the Eagle flows through some of the most coveted ranch land in the country and offers spectacular fishing.
We are not permitted to guide on the Eagle; however, on our day’s off, Cutthroat Anglers focuses our attention on the stretch of the Eagle below Dowds Junction where Gore Creek joins the Eagle. This valley offers excellent trout fishing amongst some of the most high priced land in the country. The expansion and popularity of Vail Resort converted much of the Eagle River to private propetry; however, plenty of public walk-and-wade access exists.
Once runoff subsides and the river clears, the Eagle is most efficiently fished from a raft. A float trip allows anglers to fish many of the private stretches on the river to near virgin trout. Beware, there are a few very technical rapids on the Eagle, so personal rafters need to be cautious and skilled. The river is primarily fished via public walk-and-wade accesses throughout the summer and fall. The river boasts great hatches and offers a healthy population of browns with a few rainbows mixed in. Because the river flows through red sandstone mountains, it is greatly influenced during rain showers. The Eagle quickly becomes unfishable due to the lack of clarity during many of summer storms; however, the river is usually clear and fishable within 24-hours.
The Eagle River was originally named by the local Ute Indians who thought the river had as many tributaries as there are feathers in an eagle’s tail. The Eagle’s history follows the path of the mining boom in Colorado. Zinc, lead, silver, and gold resulted in an overnight population explosion on the banks of the river as miners sought their fortune. The hazardous mining practices finally took their toll on the Eagle and by the 1970’s much of the river was simply dead. Not until the 1990’s did the government take a serious role in the clean up of the Eagle; however, the Eagle is now returning to her pristine state.