Fly Fishing Colorado’s Eagle County Open Space

In the last couple of years Eagle County, Colorado has acquired several open space properties that have added miles of fly fishing access on both the Eagle River and Colorado River. Because of the nature of Colorado’s stream access laws and a significant amount of private property in Eagle County, more fly fishing access is always great news for area anglers.  Both wade fishermen and boating anglers have reaped the rewards of Eagle County’s forward thinking Open Space Program that was approved by taxpayers in 2002 and raises over 4 million dollars a year for purchasing open space areas for outdoor recreation including fly fishing access.

Try fly fishing on one of the many new properties that are open to fly fishing and paid for by Eagle County residents.

Eagle River Open Space Properties

Eagle River Preserve

This property offers wading anglers plenty of productive pocket water to fly fish for wild trout on the upper Eagle River near Edwards, Colorado. Access is found just west of Edwards off of Highway 6. This stretch fishes the best in March and April and again from July through November.

Horn Ranch

This recent purchase offers over a mile of excellent wade fishing access just past the BLM Climbing Rock Campground west of Wolcott. Several access points and parking spots are available off of Highway 6. Some large rainbows call this area home and the best times to fish are summer and fall.

Brush Creek Confluence

Prime wade fishing can be found on this property just west of the town of Eagle off of HWY 6. With access on both the Eagle River and Brush Creek this is a diverse property that was once the location of an unsightly junkyard. Some surprising large trout lurk in Brush Creek and the Eagle River fishes very well here from late winter through late fall.

Duck Pond Open Space

Found west of Gypsum off of Highway 6, the Duck Pond area gives anglers access to the lower Eagle River. A new boat ramp is planned for this area which gives float fishermen additional chances at  extending their float fishing below Gypsum and targeting some of the huge browns that lurk in this portion of the Eagle River.

Colorado River Eagle County Open Space Properties

The Colorado River has also benefitted from recent Eagle County Open Space purchases with several new boat ramps and wade fishing areas.

State Bridge Landing

Formerly a private launch with fishing access and upkeep challenges for fun floaters,private anglers, outfitters and whitewater rowers, State Bridge Landing was purchased by Eagle County and administration was turned over to the BLM. Day fees apply but modern bathrooms, a phone and a much improved new boat ramp make the small fee a worthwhile expense. Access is just before the Trough Road turnoff on Highway 131 north of Wolcott. Wade fishermen can walk up or downstream from the boat ramp for good fishing.

Two Bridges Open Space

The newly acquired Two Bridges property makes floating between State Bridge and Catamount on the Colorado River a much easier proposition for the general public. Located about five miles downstream from State Bridge on HWY 131, float fishermen can choose the shorter float down to Two Bridges or try the longer full day trip down to Catamount. The fishing here is good from early summer until the snow flies in late fall. Wading angler can explore the main portion of the Colorado River upstream from the boat ramp as well as several productive side channels.

Burns Open Space

This is a very new acquisition which allows floating anglers to stop to wade fish or camp. Located just upstream from Burns on the Colorado River, access is primarily by boat and includes around a half mile of water.

Red Dirt Creek Open Space

The Red Dirt Creek Open Space does not include a boat ramp but does allow wading access and stopping points for float fishermen. It is located at the twin bridges about  fifteen miles upstream from Dotsero on the Colorado River Road.

Horse Creek Open Space

The Horse Creek Open Space was a welcome addition for float fishermen who enjoy fishing this remote stretch of the Colorado River. Previously launching or taking out on public property meant extremely long full day trips, camping overnight, or paying to access a private boat ramp. Found about ten miles up the Colorado River Road from Dotsero just above the Horse Creek Rapid, wade access is also excellent here in conjunction with the Eagle County Open Space conservation easement found just upstream on the Colorado River Ranch publicly accessible property. This is a great late summer and fall fishery.

Dotsero Landing Boat Ramp

At  the junction of Highway 6, the Colorado River Road and I-70, the Dotsero Landing Boat Ramp was built by Eagle County Open Space.  It replaced an old unimproved boat ramp that was lost when a new bridge was built over the Colorado River. Parking and bathrooms are provided.

At Vail Valley Anglers we appreciate the improved angler access and fly fishing opportunities the Eagle County Open Space Program has created for Colorado anglers. Hopefully, the trend of opening up new river properties will continue into the future which will further improve river recreation possibilities for fly fishing, whitewater enthusiasts, wildlife viewing and more. For detailed fly fishing information on the Eagle County Open Space properties stop by the fly shop in Edwards.

Brody Henderson, Guide and Content Writer