Where are some of the Best Locations to Fly Fish the Eagle River?
Sometimes here in Colorado it can be easy to get confused on exactly where you can fish and where you cannot fish. Our local fishery, the Eagle River is a patch work of private and different public entities constantly in a state of change. Several new locations have been added in the last several years, others locations have added improvements, still other areas are planned for opening.
Please remember to always respect private property and ask first before fishing on private land.
When your average traveling fly fishermen enter a fly shop nowadays the number one question they ask is “where can I access the river?”
Let’s answer the question as we take a quick drive along highway 6 from the Eagle River confluence in Dotsero, Colorado east towards Vail, Colorado.
Dotsero is known for having the state’s most recent volcanic activity, not to worry it was 500,000 years ago. From interstate 70, heading east on highway 6 from the Dotsero exit for a couple miles you will stumble upon a dirt road heading south to the river directly after the lava flow disappears.
This is a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) access the locals call the Lava Flow River Access. This area offers a primitive boat access and limited amount of wadable water depending on the river levels.
A few miles east of the Lava Flow Area is the newly acquired Duck Pond River Access 55 acres of public land with over 4,000 feet of Eagle River frontage became a permanent conservation area on October 18, 2013. The land is owned by Eagle County and managed by Eagle County’s Open Space Department in partnership with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife.
Several miles upriver you will see three gated BLM river access points that offer wade fishing. The one in the middle called Community Pit offers a primitive boat launch. The BLM has almost 6.7 miles of public access to the Eagle River, some of the areas offer camping and require fees, while others are free but designated for daily use.
When you arrive at the Gypsum traffic circle take the second right turn to the frontage road, follow dirt road east one mile and it will lead you to a dead end in the Gypsum Ponds State Wildlife Area. Several miles of river and some recent stream/bank enhancement projects are part of this public access.
The land above this lease is private for the next six miles and it would be best to get back on interstate 70; head east to Eagle exit right, next right west to Eagle County Fairgrounds access that appears on left just after arena complex as a dirt parking lot. Boating access and good amount wading acreage await the fly fisher in this county maintained public fishing area.
Return to highway 6 and proceed east from Eagle several miles to the Eagle River State Wildlife Area and find several miles of angling access to the north side of the river. Parking is along the road, found near the SWA signs and barbed wire cross over points.
About two more miles upstream you will find the BLM Red Canyon Access marked by several large parking areas along the river. This scenic area is about a mile of north side only public access.
Next the new news of 400 acres of the historic Horn Ranch acquisition being approved by Eagle County Commissioners earlier this month is exciting news for all Eagle River fishermen. This newly approved public area boast’s 1.5 miles of river frontage along highway 6 between Eagle and Wolcott.
Not more than a few miles east on highway 6 and you notice a small blue camping sign which designates Climbing Rock BLM Area. This place offers camping, boating access and lots of river access. It is about one mile from where highway 131 enters highway 6 in Wolcott.
Continue east of Wolcott about one mile and you will be on still another BLM property called Ute Creek. Local guides refer to this area across from the Wolcott post office as “Raisin Run”.
The next good size public access is in Edwards, Colorado the recently acquired Eagle River Preserve. Parking is off highway 6 designated by a sign.
The upper river is most all Forest Service owned land beginning above Eagle Vail. Just after Minturn is Gilman Canyon site of a former heavy metals mine. Avoid this private area.
Plenty of places to fish the Eagle River on public property but sometimes conditions change and local knowledge can help you. Please stop in Vail Valley Anglers located just off highway 6 in the Edwards River Walk for a fishing report, fly advice or map.
Guide and Content Writer