Category Archives: Eagle River

Eagle River – 10/03/2023

Time: 11:00AM – 2:30PM

Location: Private water near Eagle, CO

Eagle River 10/03/2023 Photo Album

My friend, Dave G., invited me to fish the private water of the Eagle River with him on Tuesday, October 3, 2023. Jane and I joined Dave G. and his wife, Beth, for dinner on Monday night, and then we stayed over in Eagle, CO.

Tuesday morning was very dreary with overcast skies and rain, so Dave G. and I took our time before departing for the river. When we arrived at the crude parking area, the air temperature was 46 degrees, but the sun broke through among heavy clouds. I chose my Sage R8 four weight and wore my North Face light down coat. We hiked a short distance to the A section, and we were positioned on the water fly fishing by 11:00AM.

I copied Dave G. and launched my pursuit of trout with a yellow fat Albert, a green-black Pat’s rubber legs, and a size 20 blue-green perdigon. In the early going I managed to land a small rainbow and brown trout on the perdigon, but then my fortunes tumbled, as I suffered through a lengthy fish drought. Dave G., meanwhile, was rocking, and his catches included a twenty plus inch cutbow.

Stunning Relatively Large Trout

Wide Riffle Was Productive

After a lengthy lull, I asked Dave G. for one of his olive-green perdigons (I will tie some of these this winter), and he obliged. I swapped the unproductive Pat’s rubber legs for a salvation nymph, and I exchanged my perdigon for the olive-green version from Dave G. I approached a  long and wide riffle that screamed trout, and I began to toss the three fly dry/dropper to the top of the section, as I covered all the feeding lanes. I fished from the top and moved steadily downriver for thirty yards, and I concentrated on the seam that bordered the fast moving main current. This section was easily my most productive on the day, as I landed four rainbows. The first netted fish was a football shaped sixteen inch rainbow that snagged the salvation nymph. The girth of this fish barely allowed me to get a grip around the body. The other three were fat gems in the fourteen inch range. I was beyond excited after this early afternoon session.

I Can Barely Get My Hand Around the Body

Faint Slash on This Cutbow

For the remainder of my time on the river, I progressed steadily upstream, and I doubled the fish count to twelve. Four of the additional catches were chunky thirteen and fourteen inch slabs that displayed iridescent pink and purple stripes. All the fish landed after the first two inhaled the olive perdigon except for number three which grabbed the salvation nymph.

Love This Head Shot

Screams Trout

Tuesday exceeded my expectations, and the size of the fish was superb. The weather gradually improved, although there were periods of heavy overcast with intermittent blasts of wind. I pulled on my rain shell as a windbreaker at lunchtime and added my billed hat with earflaps. More October outings such as Tuesday would be greatly appreciated.

Fish Landed:12

My Host, Dave G.

Eagle River – 07/12/2023

Time: 11:00AM – 4:30PM

Location: Downstream from Wolcott and then in Edwards

Eagle River 07/12/2023 Photo Album

Ever since I met my friend, Nate, I have been hyping the edge fishing on the Eagle River, as something that he should experience, Nate had off work on Wednesday, so we made plans to undertake the two plus hour trip to the Eagle River on July 12, 2023. Since I was the advocate to fish the Eagle, I developed the plan for our day.

We met at 8AM at the Woolly Mammoth parking lot west of Denver, and we arrived at a pullout below Wolcott by 10:30AM. The air temperature was already in the upper seventies, and the afternoon high registered in the mid-eighties. Nate’s fly rods were already strung, and he chose his five weight based on my suggestion. I also put together my Sage One five weight, and we hiked to the river. Early on in our exploration of the river, Nate hooked and landed a feisty rainbow trout, and I was encouraged by the early success. The flows were in the 800 to 850 CFS range, so wading was easier than on my visit on Monday; however, most of the casting remained limited to the ten feet of river that rolled along the bank.

Tough Release

Because of the continued fast current, Nate and I alternated between promising spots. Not too long after Nate netted his fish, I also connected with a very fit and energetic rainbow trout, and I was fortunate to land the fourteen inch fighter. During the late morning we observed an increased number of insects including pale morning duns and yellow sallies; however, the density of the hatches never brought fish to the surface. We both continued to deploy our dry/dropper rigs, as we cherry picked only prime runs, pockets and slots. In my case, I cast a size 8 fat Albert, iron sally and salvation nymph. I had a goal to reach the wide riffle, where I ended on Monday, by 12:30PM; and we arrived ten minutes late, but the attractive section was devoid of rising fish.

We eventually acknowledged that a hatch was not going to materialize at one of my favorite sections of the river, so we stripped in our lines and returned to the car. During the morning session, I landed one fine rainbow trout, but I also connected briefly with three additional trout, and each appeared to be a very respectable fish in the thirteen to fifteen inch range.

I was now in scramble mode to salvage some action for Nate and I on a hot day in July. Originally I planned our second stop to be the Horn Ranch section, but this area was also on the lower, wide open portion of the river, so I continued onward to Edwards and parked at the rest stop. I knew from past experience that the narrower and tree-lined section by the rest stop fished better on hot summer days.

Our rods were at the ready, so we grabbed them and ambled along the path in an upstream direction, until we arrived at the massive run and pool that serves as the centerpiece of the rest area public water. Much to my amazement the pool was devoid of other anglers. We prospected our dry/droppers through the shelf pool nearest to our position with no success, so we paused to eat our lunches. As we munched our food, we observed the river, and a cluster of rising fish appeared at the tail of the pool.

Nate Displayed with Pride

We pulled on our gear after lunch, and we reconfigured our lines with double dry fly offerings, and Nate approached the risers at the tail, while I moved along the bank to the midsection. We both spent fifteen minutes tossing our dries, and Nate came up empty, while I logged brief hookups with two brown trout that were rising in the shelf pool on my side of the strong center cut run. Near the top of the run, I spotted another rise, and I placed quite a few casts in the vicinity to no avail other than a cursory look.


The risers ended their feast, so Nate and I moved on to the pocket water section above the large pool. We spent the remainder of the afternoon prospecting the pockets with our double dry fly rigs, and we finally experienced a modicum of success. Nate featured a black hippie stomper and size 14 golden stonefly adult with a yellow and orange abdomen. As we covered the first half of the pocket water, the stonefly caught fire, and Nate upped his fish count to three, but he also notched a bevy of long distance releases.

Respectable Rainbow

I, meanwhile, deployed a yellow stimulator and size 16 olive-brown deer hair caddis, and I managed to land a small brown that savored the caddis. However, as Nate’s stonefly became the preferred meal, my flies fell out of favor, so I switched to a red-body hippie stomper trailing a beadhead hares ear nymph. This move was renounced by the local trout, so after a short trial period I switched to a peacock body hippie stomper that trailed a size 16 light gray deer hair caddis. This combination performed admirably, and I increased my fish count to four including a very fine thirteen inch brown trout. I made a nice cross stream cast to a narrow slot and allowed the flies to drift without drag to the lip of the slick. Just as the flies began to accelerate to the next pocket, a fish chomped on the caddis, but I was connected for a brief split second. I resumed casting, and the hungry stream resident continued to make refusing swirls at the flies. On a subsequent cast I halted the drift so that the flies fluttered at the lip, and then I moved my rod to the left and created a skittering caddis. The trout aggressively pursued the waking flies, but once again it came up short. Nate was in awe of this performance. Finally I extended a cast another three feet, and fed the fly down another lane tight to the fast current, Just as the caddis was about to drag over the lip, a thirteen inch brown attacked, and I landed it. Nate and I both suspected that the fish I landed was different from the one that put on a chasing show.

Nice One by Dave

The Brown Chased the Caddis at the Tail of the Smooth Water

By 4:30PM we reached the pedestrian bridge that marks the border with private water, so we called it quits and hiked back to the car. Just before we quit Nate connected with a very nice rainbow, but it maneuvered into the faster main current and managed to elude the net.

Needless to say Wednesday was a bit disappointing, as we landed seven fish between us over 4.5 hours of fishing. Nevertheless, we salvaged some fun in the pocket water with opportunistic fish in the late afternoon, and Nate received an introduction to several sections of the river, should he decide to revisit on his own at a future date. I, meanwhile, will turn my attention to the Arkansas River in the near term, as Jane and I are renting a cabin with private river frontage in the upcoming week. Stay tuned.

Fish Landed: 4

Eagle River – 07/10/2023

Time: 11:00AM – 4:30PM

Location: Below Wolcott

Eagle River 07/10/2023 Photo Album

After a somewhat disappointing day on the Eagle River on 07/03/2023, I was anxious to return. I blamed the relatively low catch rate on the high flows, which rushed along at 1250 CFS below the Milk Creek tributary. I generally favor levels to be around 1,000 CFS at the lower gauge. The flows on Monday morning, July 10, 2023 were at 985 CFS, so I packed the car and made the drive.

I arrived at my chosen pullout at 10:30AM, and I pulled on my waders, gathered my gear and assembled my Sage One five weight. The temperature was in the seventies, and the high probably peaked in the mid-eighties. I completed a short hike to the river, and I was positioned to cast by 11:00AM. The flows were lower than I experienced on July 3 and July 7, but the river still rushed along at a rapid clip.

Lower Flows

Similar to my 07/03/2023 trip, the morning fishing was very slow, and I did not land my first fish until after lunch. I fished a dry/dropper rig for most of my time on the water except for a twenty minute period during the peak of the pale morning dun hatch, when I switched to double dries, after I observed a pair of rises. The move partially paid off, as I hooked a decent trout on the cinnamon comparadun, but it quickly charged into the fast water and shrugged off my nuisance fly.

Only Brown Trout

Pink Striped Beauty

During the morning I cycled through an olive-black Pat’s rubber legs, an iron sally, salvation nymph and a dark olive nymph with rubber legs. None of these flies met the standards of the resident fish. During the afternoon I fished a tan pool toy hopper on top and trailed an iron sally and traditional size 18 pheasant tail nymph. Of the eight fish landed via the dry/dropper, roughly half snatched the pheasant tail and the other half grabbed the iron sally. The catch rate never elevated to lukewarm status, but I did manage steady action in the time period after the heavy PMD emergence. Three of the trout that landed in my net were very fine rainbows in the thirteen to fifteen inch range, and one fifteen inch brown trout joined the mix. The other four landed trout were very feisty rainbows in the ten to twelve inch range. I counted my temporary hookups, and eight additional fish made contact with my flies but managed to slide free. Several very nice fish moved into the heavy current of the main river, and it did not take long before they chucked the hook and fled to freedom.

Promising Edge Water

Coiled to Jump

I suffered through more than the normal number of tangles, and the wind was an ever present nuisance. At one point I stepped on a muddy bottom, and my feet shot out and left my butt in the mud. Fortunately I was not hurt and the river did not spill over my waders. The abundant quantity of willow sticks that were wedged between rocks presented another annoying hassle to my day of fishing. In one case I was unable to extract my flies, and I ended up snapping off an iron sally and pheasant tail nymph. I abandoned tying size 18 pheasant tails in favor of super nova pale morning dun nymphs, but after experiencing success on the old classic pheasant tail, I may need to revise my tying program. After I snapped off the two flies, I replaced the pheasant tail with a super nova, but all the catches after that were attributable to the iron sally.

Long and Fast

I am planning another trip to the Eagle River on Wednesday, July 12, and I may now possibly target some sections farther upriver. During the float on Friday, it seemed like the hatch was denser in the Wolcott area, and more rising fish were visible.

Fish Landed: 8

Eagle River – 07/07/2023

Time: 10:00AM – 6:00PM

Location: Edwards to Eagle, 17 mile float

Eagle River 07/07/2023 Photo Album

Each year over the past three I have scheduled a guided float trip with my friend, Dave G. Actually Dave G. schedules the trips, and I select a few to accompany him. Friday July 7 was the first of two such trips in 2023. Our guide, Reed, selected the Eagle River as our river destination. The flows at the gauge in Avon were peaking around 1050 CFS, and the downstream gauge at Milk Creek registered 1250. For wade fishing I prefer flows approximately 200 CFS lower, but floating in an inflatable raft made managing the higher flows quite feasible. In fact, the high flows accentuate the capabilities of a nimble, high-floating raft.

Launch Site Was Crowded

I stayed at Dave G.’s house in Eagle on Thursday night, and on Friday morning after a delicious breakfast, we drove separately to the Eagle museum parking lot. Here we parked our cars and jumped into Reed’s truck, and he drove the trailered raft to our launch point west of Edwards, CO. The boat ramp area was buzzing with guides and fishermen, so it was evident that prime floating season was in progress on the upper Eagle River. Reed notified the shuttle company that he needed a shuttle to the Eagle Museum, and this committed us to a 17 mile trip!


The weather was perfect, as the temperature at the start was in the mid to upper sixties, and the high probably spiked in the low eighties. Rain never developed, however, some strong gusts of wind hindered us for short periods in the afternoon. I wore my fishing shirt and quick dry wading pants with my Chacos, and I completely lathered up all exposed skin with sunscreen. I strung my Sage One five weight, and Reed provided a six weight for the heavy lifting of tossing a large dry/dropper configuration.

Attractor Dry

We launched and began fly fishing by 10AM. From our start until noon Dave G. and I fished mostly dry/droppers with a chubby Chernobyl as the top fly and an olive-brown Pat’s rubber legs and yellow sally nymph. Several other flies factored in the mix including a Frenchie (jig pheasant tail), but the three mentioned previously were the mainstays of the morning time period. I landed four fish before lunch, and one of the four was a stunning eighteen inch brown trout. What a fish! The husky brown put up quite a battle, and I was thankful for the 4X tippet and the heft of the six weight rod.

Looking Back

Toward the end of the morning Dave G. and I swapped positions, and I moved from the normally favored bow to the rear of the raft. By noon or shortly thereafter, we began to notice a dense emergence of pale morning duns and to a lesser extent, yellow sallies. Caddis were present throughout the day, but they were never on the water enough to distract the trout from feeding on the other two more prevalent insect food sources. Reed was quick to switch Dave G. and I to dries, when he spotted the mayflies floating up from the surface.

Bank to Bank Flows

Love the Red Rock Cliffs

The two hours between noon and 2:00PM were the most exciting of the day. Trout fed ravenously, and we could spot nice fish hovering just below the surface and then rising to snatch tasty morsels from the film. Many of these trout were tight to the bank, so accurate casts and drag free drifts were the keys to success. On several occasions Reed rowed the raft back upstream to fish especially attractive pools and eddies behind current breaking structures. These instances were dry fly fishing at its best, as Reed positioned each of us to make medium range upstream casts to pods of feeding fish. My heart rate elevated with the adrenalin rush that accompanied my anticipation of hooking a steady feeder. During this time our lines featured yellow sally dry flies and parachute pale morning dun imitations.

Reed’s Chubby

By 2:00PM the PMD hatch waned into random stragglers; however, the yellow sallies continued their fluttering reconnaissance over the river. Unfortunately the trout did not seem as excited over yellow sallies compared to their appetite for pale morning duns. Eventually we converted back to a dry/dropper approach, and I picked off a few trout to boost the fish count to double digits. In order to reach the take out ramp by 6:00PM, Reed rowed through some of the less desirable sections, and he converted me to a double dry rig for the home stretch. Caddis became the more prevalent insect, and I hooked and landed a small rainbow trout near the take out to raise my fish count on the day to eleven.

Afternoon Beauty

Friday was a fun day of fly fishing on the clear but high Eagle River. Seventeen miles was a long trip, and Dave G. and I enjoyed a lot of fly fishing. My casting was off as evidenced by losing at least eight flies on riverside vegetation, and I tended to rush my forward cast, and I allowed my arm and elbow to elevate upward. These were all faults that took the power out of my forward cast. Casting close to the bank and not wasting time on break offs and snarls were critical to experiencing a spectacular day on a float trip, and I was a bit off my game on Friday. Nevertheless, I landed double digits and my catches included five trout in the thirteen to eighteen inch range with the early eighteen inch brown my prize. A slow motion surface take of a dry fly by a respectable rainbow trout during the dense PMD hatch was another highlight of the day. I am looking forward to my second guided float trip on July 21, and conditions will dictate our destination.

Fish Landed: 11


Eagle River – 07/03/2023

Time: 10:30AM – 3:30PM

Location: Below Wolcott

Eagle River 07/03/2023 Photo Album

I did more lake fishing in June than I ever fished lakes during my entire fly fishing career. I was proud of my improvements in lake fishing knowledge and fish catching success, and I also enjoyed sampling some lakes that I never fished previously. However, as I scanned the stream and river flows in Colorado a couple days ago, I felt the urge to once again wet a line in moving water. Our trip to Creede, CO at the end of June coincided with the Yampa River flows falling to my preferred range of 1,000 CFS, so I missed out on one of my favorite annual trips to Steamboat Springs. I turned my attention to my other prime edge fishing destinations, the Eagle River and the Arkansas River.

The DWR chart for the Eagle River presented steadily dropping water levels, with the Avon gauge registering 1060 CFS and the gauge below Milk Creek in Wolcott displaying 1250 CFS. Judging from the slope of the curve, I estimated that the Eagle would drop below 1,000 CFS at Wolcott by Monday. The Arkansas River was rolling along at 1860 CFS, and the fly shop stream reports documented good edge fishing, although they mentioned stained water. The mention of poor clarity spooked me, and I targeted the Eagle River for Monday, July 3.

On Monday morning I revisited the DWR website, and I was disappointed to discover that the graphs for the Eagle and Arkansas Rivers showed a temporary leveling, and the Eagle flows remained very close to the numbers that I quoted above. My preference would be for 200 CFS less, but I concluded that I fished at the current levels before with some success, so I made the drive. I arrived at a roadside pullout by 10:00AM, and the temperature was in the low seventies. It was clear that Monday would be a hot day, but I decided to wear my waders, since I anticipated fighting through bushes, willows and thorny plants. My Sage One five weight was my rod of choice in order to handle the higher flows, wind, and larger than average fish. I cut off all my tippet extensions and constructed a new series with a section of 3X followed by 4X. This move was an effort to preempt bad knots or damaged tippet in the event that I connected with a large fish.

A Good Place to Begin

By 10:30 I was perched along the river at a spot, where the nice long slowing section of water filled the space between the bank and the main current. I selected an amber ice dub chubby Chernobyl from my fly box and then added an olive-black Pat’s rubber legs and a 20 incher. I wanted large weighted flies to get deep in the morning session. Neither flies produced results in the first two prime locations, so I swapped the 20 incher for an emerald caddis pupa. The caddis pupa fooled a five inch brown trout, but it subsequently got replaced by a salvation nymph. Neither of these flies attracted the attention of the fish, so I changed flies once again. I replaced the Pat’s rubber legs with an iron sally, and I then swapped the salvation nymph for a beadhead hares ear. Finally, at the top of a churning pocket behind some exposed rocks, I spotted the flash of a fish and netted an eleven inch brown trout. I was on the board.

A Small Start

Willows in Water

I remained at one fish, when I broke for lunch along the flooded willows at 11:50PM. As I munched my sandwich, I observed the river, and I noticed the beginning of a sparse pale morning dun hatch. In addition, yellow sallies fluttered up over the river. I resumed casting the dry/dropper after lunch, but as I prospected a nice deep run, I spotted a very fine rainbow trout, as it rose to sip something from the surface. I was reluctant to reconfigure with dries after one random surface sip, but I was doing nothing with the nymphs, so I made the change. I tied on a size 14 yellow stimulator (stonefly) and then added a size 16 cinnamon pale morning dun. The once viewed rainbow never reappeared, but I did generate a few looks and refusals from some smaller fish.

Nice Length

Just a Bit Smaller Than the Rainbow

I moved on and fished the double dry for another ten minutes, but with no rising trout, it seemed rather futile at the elevated flows. I returned to a dry/dropper setup that featured a yellow fat Albert instead of the chubby Chernobyl, and behind the large foam fly I added the iron sally and a hare nation (PMD nymph imitation). The density of the fluttering PMD’s increased, but the trout were not feeding on the surface, so I concluded that nymphs might be the ticket. I plucked a size 18 pheasant tail nymph from my fleece wallet, and I replaced the hair nation nymph. Suddenly I had a hot fly, and between 1:00PM and 3:00PM I landed five additional trout. All the afternoon netted fish succumbed to the pheasant tail nymph or its close cousin, the PMD super nova. Between 1:00 and 2:00 the intensity of the hatch peaked, and this period coincided with my hottest action. Two of my prize catches were a rainbow and brown trout in the fifteen inch range, and these fish displayed excellent girth. A rainbow of thirteen inches also found my net, and the other two fish were rainbows of eleven inches. I also hooked and failed to land an excellent rainbow that fought valiantly and eventually maneuvered into the fast water and broke off all three flies. I lost a fat Albert, iron sally and pheasant tail nymph to the combative cold water fish, and I was not pleased.

Entering the River

Hooked My Cast Around the Branches

During the 1:00PM to 3:00PM time frame I probably connected with as many fish as I landed. All except the one that broke off my flies managed to toss the hook after a very brief hook up. Between 3:00 and 3:30 I approached a section that I refer to as the flats. The river widens and the left side features a wide riffle stretch with a water depth of two to three feet. I thought I saw a rise, so I removed the dry/dropper and tied a size 16 cinnamon comparadun to my line. Repeated drifts over the site of the rise failed to induce a response, so I added the yellow stimulator with the cinnamon comparadun on an eight inch dropper. Neither of these fly options coerced as much as a look, so I reeled in and quit for the day.

Cactus Flower

I would be fooling myself, if I did not admit that I was disappointed with Monday. Yes, I landed two very hefty trout, but six fish in 4.5 hours is a below average catch rate. Before the hatch activity, the trout languished in an inactive state. I suspect that the flows remained on the high side, the water temperature was cold, and it took longer to reach the prime range required for insect hatches and subsequent feeding. If I return to wade fish, I will deploy a deep nymphing rig for the morning session. I am scheduled for a guided float fishing trip on the Eagle River on Friday, and I expect conditions to be prime. Stay tuned.

Fish Landed: 6

Eagle River – 10/18/2022

Time: 11:00AM – 4:00PM

Location: Private club water near Eagle, CO

Eagle River 10/18/2022 Photo Album

My friend, Dave, invited me to join him on some private water on the Eagle River on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, and I readily accepted. I fished this same stretch in late June prior to one of our float trips, and I knew it was quality water that contained a high ratio of rainbow trout. As you may know, I am constantly seeking rainbow trout water in the fall, while the brown trout are mostly preoccupied with spawning.

I arrived at Dave’s house in Eagle Ranch at 10:15AM, and we were on the water by 11:00AM. It was 44 degrees, as we hiked down a path to the river, and I wore my North Face light down coat in the morning, but the bright sun warmed the air up rather quickly. As I’m still waiting for my Sage One five weight fly rod to be repaired (shipped to Far Bank in late June), I used the Scott five weight that Dave G. loaned me. I crossed the river at a low, wide spot, and Dave and I worked up the river in parallel until 1:00PM, when we returned to our cars for lunch.

Low and Clear

To say that the morning was frustrating would be an understatement. I began fishing with a size 8 amber ice dub chubby Chernobyl, beadhead hares ear and RS2; and after twenty minutes of focused fishing in some very attractive sections, I had nothing to show for my efforts. Dave G., meanwhile was connecting on a fairly regular basis. Dave G. showed me his lineup before we began, and it consisted of a tiny olive beadhead midge larva and a zebra midge. Since he was experiencing steady success, I decided to copy him, and I swapped the RS2 for an olive-colored perdigon fly. This change increased my contact with trout, but it also raised my frustration level significantly. In a nice deep pocket between some exposed boulders, a twelve inch rainbow trout smacked the chubby Chernboyl, and I was on the scoreboard with my first fish; but the remainder of the morning and early afternoon tortured me with seven straight long distance releases. The fish were grabbing the perdigon, but for some reason they were consistently able to shake free from the tiny fly weighted with a tungsten bead. I inspected the fly several times, and it was a small curved scud hook with a wide gap, and the point seemed sound.

Dave G. Concentrating on His Fly

After lunch we hiked downstream to one of the most attractive pools that I ever encountered on the Eagle River. It was wide and deep with a strong center current that fanned out to create a very long and wide slower moving area. It was an obvious fish gathering spot, and Dave offered me the top of the pool. I carefully observed, and I was surprised to see quite a few subtle rises along the slower moving shelf area, so I took the time to remove the dry/dropper configuration, and I switched to a single size 22 CDC blue winged olive. Initially the tiny speck of a fly provoked several refusals, but when I shifted to some fish directly above me, I managed to land two rainbows in the seven inch range. Dave, meanwhile, continued to net larger fish on the midge larva at the tail of the pool.

Only Brown Trout on the Day

Given his success rate with subsurface offerings, I decided to change my approach, but before going deep, I knotted a peacock hippie stomper to my line along with the CDC BWO on an eight inch dropper. This double dry combination was largely ignored, although I did manage a temporary hookup with an above average fish on the trailing olive. Finally I gave up on dry flies and reverted to the dry/dropper with the chubby Chernobyl, a zebra midge and a classic RS2. For the remainder of the afternoon, I prospected all the likely fish producing locales with this threesome, and I built the fish count from three to ten. Of the ten landed fish, seven were rainbows in the seven to nine inch range, one was a medium sized brown trout, and two were chunky rainbows in the fifteen inch range. All of the afternoon trout snatched the RS2 from the drift. The fat fifteen inch beast materialized in a relatively obscure deep and short trough between some bank boulders and very fast white water. This fish grabbed the RS2, after I disturbed the same small pocket while playing a rainbow of similar proportions just prior to landing my prize, but the earlier catch avoided my net by shedding the hook.

Quite a Chunk

Ten fish in late October was a respectable day, but had I converted at least 50% of my temporary connections, I would have experienced an exceptional day. I’m not sure why the perdigon resulted in so many long distance releases, but I plan to use a few of the others that I tied over the winter. I told Dave that I would welcome another invitation to the private stretch in order to atone for my low batting average, and he agreed to another outing, should the fall weather cooperate. Snow is predicted for the weekend in Denver, so a short break from fishing may be in the near future.

Fish Landed: 10

Eagle River – 07/05/2022

Time: 10:15AM – 3:30PM

Location: Downstream from Wolcott

Eagle River 07/05/2022 Photo Album

Jane and I celebrated the Fourth of July with a pickleball marathon in the morning and then relaxed a bit for a backyard cookout at my son and daughter-in-law’s house in Louisville, CO. With the Fourth holiday now behind me, I was anxious to resume my fly fishing blitz on Colorado freestone rivers, while the flows remained elevated yet clear. In the early part of the previous week I spent a day on the Arkansas River and another on the Eagle River. Both large freestones remained in an attractive range for my preferences, and I decided to begin my week on the Eagle River. My schedule contained commitments for Thursday and Friday, so Tuesday and Wednesday were my designated fly fishing days for the first week of July.

550 CFS

I arrived at my chosen pullout near the Eagle River by 9:45AM, and I quickly assembled my gear and fit together the Scott five weight that Dave G. loaned to me, while I waited for the broken tip on the Sage One to get repaired. Once I was properly equipped, I hiked to my favorite starting point and began my day of fly fishing. The air temperature was in the low seventies and the river was chugging along in the mid-500 CFS range. The flows were lower than my visit on the 06/28/2022, yet the river remained at an elevated level that dictated wading caution, and I was largely confined to tossing my flies within the twenty foot band of water along the bank. The sun remained bright until 1:30PM, when a series of large dark clouds moved in from the west. I never experienced rain, but the cloud cover held the temperature in check with the high probably in the upper seventies.

Shelf Pool

Salvation Nymph

My initial rig included an amber ice dub chubby Chernobyl, an iron sally and a salvation nymph. I progressed upriver along the left bank until 11:45AM, when I broke for lunch, and during this time I landed two fish. One was a small rainbow, and the other was a feisty rainbow that measured around thirteen inches, but it fought like a champion and tested my fish landing skills.

Iron Sally

I sat down to eat my lunch by a gorgeous long run, and as I munched my sandwich, a sparse emergence of pale morning duns advanced into a fairly dense hatch, and three or four trout appeared to pluck surface naturals. In addition, golden stoneflies and yellow sallies joined the party, and although the hatch was not as dense as the PMD’s, I was convinced that the stoneflies offered another viable food source for the river residents. I finished my sandwich and decided to stuff the rest of my lunch in my backpack for later consumption, as I did not wish to squander any more of the valuable hatch time.

Head on Home

Wide Body

I snipped off the chubby Chernobyl, iron sally and salvation nymph; and I selected a size 14 yellow stimulator to imitate the stoneflies and a size 16 cinnamon comparadun to mimic the pale morning duns. I carefully approached the long and deep run that showcased a number of feeding trout, and I began to flutter casts through the area. Initially I witnessed a few refusals to the yellow stimulator, but eventually the trout threw caution to the wind, and I hooked and landed three absolutely stunning rainbow trout. One of the netted trout stretched the tape to eighteen inches, and its girth suggested that weight watchers was in its future. The first two trout attacked the stimulator, but number three sipped the trailing comparadun. This was easily the hottest fishing of the day, and I enjoyed it immensely. In addition to the three robust rainbows, I hooked and failed to land two additional hot fish that managed to escape after relatively lengthy engagements. I’ve come to expect this relatively high lack of respect from the Eagle River residents.

Cannot Wait

I migrated upriver from the productive run and raised the count to seven, as I added another pair of thirteen to fourteen inch rainbows. These fish favored the the size 16 cinnamon comparadun, and I donated four comparaduns and three stimulators to the Eagle River environment during my double dry fly period. Several fly losses may have resulted from foul hooked fish that simply charged into the fast water, and I was unable to contain them from there.

Head Shot

Once I attained seven fish the sighting of pale morning duns ceased, and concurrently the presence of rising fish ended. A few stoneflies continued to make an appearance, so I retained the yellow stimulator, but I replaced the comparadun with a purple haze. The purple haze allowed me to add a couple medium sized fish to the tally for the day, and one was my first and only brown trout.


By 2:45PM I approached a series of ideal wide and deep runs that rushed between the bank and a strong main current. The band of water was approximately fifteen feet wide, and I knew from previous experience that the stretch harbored some large and freakishly powerful trout. The double dry no longer represented a desirable commodity, so I decided to revert to the dry/dropper approach that I deployed in the morning session. In previous years the dry/dropper method yielded some very memorable catches. I knotted another amber ice dub chubby Chernobyl to my line, and beneath it I dangled the iron sally and salvation nymph. Surely stonefly nymphs and pale morning dun nymphs continued to be a food source in the bottom of the water column.

Productive Water Type

Alas, the ploy was solid in my head, but apparently not what the trout had in mind. I spent the remainder of my time prospecting through some terrific water to no avail. When I arrived at some shallower riffles I took the time to switch back to the double dry with a gray stimulator and purple haze, but again there was no evidence of trout. I stripped in my line at 3:20PM and made the ten minute hike back to the car.

Once again the numbers were not overwhelming, but I landed at least five rainbow trout in the thirteen to eighteen inch range. These fish were terrific fighters and quite beefy for their length. I was very challenged to land them, and as documented, I failed to land an equal number of noble combatants. I managed to log another day of successful edge fishing, and hopefully I will report the same result for tomorrow after my planned trip to the Arkansas River.

Fish Landed: 9


Eagle River – 06/28/2022

Time: 11:00AM – 3:30PM

Location: Club water above Eagle, CO

Eagle River 06/28/2022 Photo Album

I scheduled a guided float trip with my friend, Dave G., for June 29. Dave G. invited me to join him for a day of fishing on Tuesday, June 28 on some private water above Eagle, CO, and I readily accepted. I arrived at his house by 10:10AM, and I immediately pulled on my waders, and we traveled in his car to the crude parking area along the Eagle River.

Daisies Border the River

Tuesday was a sunny day, and the afternoon high temperature peaked in the seventies. The river was clipping along in the 700 CFS range, and most of my fishing was confined to the edge, although there were a few spots, where the river widened, where I was able to cast to mid-river locations.

Love the Edge

I rigged my Sage One five weight and began with a dry/dropper configuration that included a yellow size 8 fat Albert, olive-black Pat’s rubber Legs, and a salvation nymph. On the first cast I hooked a stick that was wedged between two rocks, and somehow in my effort to free it, I broke the rod tip six inches from the endpoint. I did not apply undue pressure to the rod, so I suspect that there was a nick or scar on the tip section. Dave G. offered his Scott five weight that he won in a raffle, and my backup rod remained in my car back at his house, so I took him up on the offer. I liked the rod quite a bit, as it had a bit more flex than my Sage One, but it was not too whippy.

A hour and a half of intense fishing yielded no fish, and after a torrid day on the Arkansas River on Monday, I was perplexed and disappointed. I exchanged the rubber legs for an iron sally and swapped the salvation for an emerald caddis pupa, but none of these changes reversed my bad karma.

After a brief lunch, I resumed tossing the dry/dropper, but then Dave G. pointed out some active fish six inches below the surface in a tight eddy at the top of a long shelf pool. I thought perhaps a pale morning dun would coax the fish to the surface, so I converted to a solo cinnamon comparadun, but that move failed to bring a fish to my net. We moved upstream a bit, and finally I saw some fish rising in a spot toward the center of the river, where two currents merged to form a V-shaped trough and another eddy. While this scene evolved, I began observing golden stoneflies, yellow sallies, caddis, pale morning duns, and blue winged olives. None of these emerged in dense quantities, but I decided to imitate the stoneflies and pale morning duns with a double dry consisting of a yellow size 14 stimulator and a size 16 light gray comparadun. The ploy worked temporarily, as a torpedo of a rainbow sipped the PMD. Unfortunately, after several mad dashes, the irate fish turned its head and slipped free from the small size 16 hook. I persisted in the central trough, as several fish continued to swirl periodically, but the strong current between me and the eddy made attaining a drag free drift nearly impossible. I surrendered and moved on.

Worthy Brown

We once again transitioned upriver a bit, and Dave G. was in a state of frustration over a large brown trout that broke him off, so he invited me to fish the attractive run that he vacated to reconfigure his line. I lobbed the double dry to the center of a twelve foot width run of moderate depth, and a mouth appeared, and the trailing comparadun disappeared. Initially I thought I connected with a twelve inch fish, but after a lengthy tussle I discovered a gorgeous sixteen inch brown trout resting in my net. Wow! Fish number one was worth the wait.


I continued along the bank a bit farther, and while my flies drifted over a very small two foot depression between a large submerged rock and the bank, a fish swirled. I could clearly see a large rainbow trout, and my heartrate leaped precipitously. I made ten additional casts, and the target bow looked at three or four drifts, but I suspect it was focused on and rejecting the lead yellow stimulator. Meanwhile the picky fish continued grabbing naturals, so it was not spooked by my presence. Finally, on drift number eleven, the comparadun slid over the fish ahead of the stimulator, and the pale morning dun disappeared in a swirl. Now all bets were off, but I fought off several streaking runs and landed number two on the day; a spectacular eighteen inch rainbow trout.

In Front of the Exposed Rock

Set Me Free

I persisted with the double dry a bit longer, but the type of water was not conducive to dries, and the PMD hatch waned. I probably stuck with the surface approach too long, as Dave G. converted back to dry/dropper earlier and quickly increased his fish count. Eventually I absorbed the message and converted as well. In this instance I opted for a size 8 amber ice dub body chubby Chernobyl accompanied by an iron sally and salvation nymph.

Displayed Just Above the Water

For the next hour I prospected my way upstream and pierced the lips of five additional trout to bring the daily total to seven. One additional brown visited my net, and it was a fifteen inch beauty that emerged from an extremely marginal, shallow riffle. My cast to the area was actually an afterthought to keep busy while progressing upstream.


Of the four rainbows landed on the dry/dropper, all were rainbows, and three were very robust and energized trout that made landing them a risky proposition. I also experienced two long distance releases and two foul hooked fish during the afternoon time frame.

Dave G. in a Prime Spot

The quantity of fish was a bit below my expectations on Tuesday, but the quality was outstanding. I suspect that an earlier conversion to dry/dropper with the salvation would have produced more fish, but the dry fly eaters were two of my best fish of the day, and that counts for a lot.

Fish Landed: 7

Eagle River – 11/15/2021

Time: 11:00AM – 2:00PM

Location: Between Avon and Edwards

Eagle River 11/15/2021 Photo Album

My cumulative fish count was stalled at 1,093 for 2021, when colder temperatures moved into the state. I spent the weekend of November 5 – 7 at Rendezvous Ranch near Fraser, CO, and although I hiked along the Fraser River several times during mild weather, I was prohibited from fly fishing. In fact, my fly rods and equipment remained tucked in the garage back in Denver during the entire weekend.

After a short period of cooler temperatures another four day stretch of mild weather stalled over the state, and I decided to take advantage with a fly fishing trip on Monday, November 15. Unfortunately the warmer temperatures were accompanied by high winds along the Front Range, so I ruled out two favorites; South Boulder Creek and the Big Thompson River. I scanned the weather forecast for the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon and the Arkansas River near Salida, and I was encouraged by what I found. I was nearly committed to Eleven Mile Canyon, when I decided to review the flows and weather on the Eagle River. I was pleased to discover that the high temperature in Avon, CO was 61 degrees and the flows were seasonally low at 81 CFS. Historically late season visits to the Eagle yielded some interesting casting to blue winged olives, so I settled on the trip to Avon on Monday, November 15. Would I be able to reach my even goal of 1,100 trout for the year? Stay tuned.

I arrived at a wide pullout along the highway near Avon by 10:30AM, and I was perched along the bank of the river ready to cast by 11:00AM. The temperature, as I prepared to fish, was 50 degrees, and I wore my Under Armour long sleeved undershirt, my North Face down coat and a rain shell. I considered wearing my brimmed hat with ear flaps, but I quickly decided it was overkill, since I assumed the air temperature would rise to the low sixties. I also gave some thought to toe warmers, but again I rejected the idea. In the latter case I regretted foregoing the aid of foot warmers, as my toes and feet eventually morphed into stumps.

Top of the Pool

I began my day twenty-five yards downstream from a huge pool, and I rigged my line with a New Zealand strike indicator, split shot, Pat’s rubber legs, and an ultra zug bug. This combination failed to draw interest, so I swapped the ultra zug bug for a sparkle wing RS2; however, the new lineup failed to excite the trout of the Eagle River. During the first thirty minutes I progressed up the river to the midsection of the huge pool that was my planned destination. I covered both sides of the entering center run with the nymphs, but again the trout ignored my offerings.

As this lack of action transpired, I began to observe quite a few feeding fish. Most of the early risers were along the opposite shoreline feeding in a long shelf pool. Targeting them required a long forty-five foot cast across a strong run, so initially I focused my attention on the area on my side of the river. Within a short amount of time rises commenced within easier range of my position, and I decided to convert to a dry fly approach. I removed the strike indicator, split shot and both nymphs and knotted a size 22 CDC blue winged olive to my line.

First Catch Was a Cutthroat

I began casting to the rising fish on my side of the center current, and after quite a bit of futility, a nine inch cutthroat trout sipped the tiny olive mayfly imitation. This initial success was accompanied by a pair of momentary hookups and numerous fruitless drifts. The low position of the sun created a discouraging glare on the water, and I resorted to lifting the rod tip, when I estimated that a rise approximated the location of my fly. I am not a fan of this sort of fly fishing, but it was the best option available to me.

Eventually I decided to adopt a double dry technique, and I added a size 16 light gray deer hair caddis to the front position with a CDC BWO in the trailing spot. This made tracking the flies moderately easier, although glare and the swirling surface continued to wreak havoc on my ability to follow the flies. After quite a bit of fruitless casting to fairly regular rises, I managed to connect with a twelve inch rainbow that grabbed the size 24 CDC blue winged olive. Surely I was now on track to land more trout.

Decent Rainbow

By this point in time the wind kicked up, and my feet burned and warned me that they were entering stump status. I decided to forego lunch, while the river remained alive with rising fish. The caddis and CDC olive combination produced a couple more temporary hookups, but even the takes I managed to generate seemed very reluctant. Was I even imitating their natural food source? I never saw a natural blue winged olive, so perhaps an adult midge was more to their liking, but I had no evidence upon which to base my fly choice.

Pretty Colors

By 1:15PM the number of rising fish dwindled and the frequency of rises diminished from regular to sporadic feeding. The wind became a significant negative factor, and I decided to replace the leading caddis with a more visible size 14 hippie stomper. My ability to track the front fly improved significantly, but the trout were ignoring both offerings. I scanned the water along the opposite bank and observed some fairly long fish nosing the surface with their fins exposed. How could I approach these tantalizing feeders?

By now the two fishermen that claimed the bottom end of the pool had departed, so I decided to cross below the pool and then wade along the edge of the opposite bank to obtain a favorable downstream position below the feeders across from my present position. It took some time to make the crossing on feet that behaved more like fence posts, but eventually I was positioned below the spot, where I observed feeders from the south shoreline.

Head of the Pool

While I paused to observe, three fish rose, but the regular rhythmic feeding that grabbed my attention was absent. I fired quite a few casts to the area, but my north side gambit never generated the slightest interest. I finally surrendered to the weather and the fish and the river, and I progressed upstream to a point, where I could safely cross back to the side bordered by the bike path.

By now the wind was gusting at frequent intervals, and the river was nearly devoid of rising fish. I decided to return to the car and call it quits after landing two fish. I was unable to land seven fish to reach my goal of 1,100 for the year, but I cannot pin the blame on a lack of feeding fish. Instead I attributed my inability to land more fish to angler ineffectiveness. Will I have another chance? My window of opportunity is shrinking, but I will continue to look for mild days, before winter permanently descends on the Rocky Mountains.

Fish Landed: 2

Eagle River – 07/06/2021

Time: 12:00PM – 4:00PM

Location: Edwards Rest Area

Eagle River 07/06/2021 Photo Album

As I mentioned in my 06/30/2021 post, on my last day on the Rio Grande River, I contracted a cold that began on Sunday and progressively advanced during my three day stay in the Creede, CO area. Fortunately it remained a sore throat, until it morphed into an annoying cough on Wednesday. My original plan called for a day of fishing on the Eagle River on Thursday, while Dave G. attended an all day town council retreat, but I abandoned those plans and rested at Dave G’s house in an attempt to curb the advancing respiratory virus. My efforts to stop the spread were minimally successful, and by the Fourth of July weekend I experienced persistent coughing, blocked ears and general head congestion. The inability to swallow and reading about the surging delta variant of COVID raised concerns that I somehow picked up the virus even though I was vaccinated, so I underwent a COVID test on Saturday morning.  A surprisingly quick turnaround of the test results relieved some of my anxiety, when a text message informed me of a negative result on Saturday evening.

On Monday the coughing subsided, and by Tuesday morning I was feeling improved with the aid of cold medicines. Since Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were filled with commitments that precluded fly fishing, I decided to attempt a day on the river on Tuesday. The flows on the Eagle River remained in the 350 CFS range, and I guessed that pale morning duns, caddis and yellow sallies were still on the menu, so I made the Edwards Rest Area my destination. Because I slept late in my effort to overcome my summer cold, I got off to a late start and arrived at 11:30AM, and after I assembled my Sage four weight, I downed my lunch. I was perched on the edge of the river by noon, and I began casting a double dry fly arrangement that featured a hippie stomper and size 16 deer hair yellow sally. In a shadowed pocket along the left bank I hooked up temporarily with a twelve inch rainbow, but it shed the hook, and never made it to my net.

Water Still Fairly High

The dries did not seem to be attracting attention, so I converted to a dry/dropper featuring an iron sally and salvation nymph, as I worked my way up the river through some quality deep pockets. By 1:30PM the fish counter rested on two, and that included a very fine rainbow trout with a pink sheen and a quality brown trout of fourteen inches. I was thrilled to land two trout, but I covered a significant amount of quality water, and the action was very slow.

Nice Coloration

Early Afternoon Brown Trout

With another thirty yard section of quality pocket water ahead of me, I decided to modify my approach and returned to a double dry presentation. A hippie stomper assumed the point position, and below it I knotted a cinnamon size 16 pale morning dun. These two flies were ignored, as were the hippie stomper when paired with a size 14 olive stimulator. I also experimented with a size 14 purple haze trailing a size 16 gray deer hair caddis, but again the fish gave me a solid thumbs down.

Pocket Water Galore

I finally reached a point where the river widened into a section of shallow riffles, so I exited with the intention of circling the long run and pool across from the high bank, but the fisherman who occupied the downstream portion of the pool was exiting, so I cut to the river to investigate. A young mother with three kids was wrapping up a swimming session at the top of the run, so I made a few obligatory casts, but I was uncertain whether the swimmers had recently disturbed the water, so I migrated to the pocket water.

Reentry 2

I removed the purple haze and replaced it with a peacock hippie stomper and added a size 16 olive-brown deer hair caddis on a twelve inch leader. This move proved to be my best decision of the day, and I increased the fish count from two to seven over the next 1.5 hours. Numbers three and four were small brown trout in the seven to eleven inch ranch, but the last three were fine trout that raised my rating of Tuesday from disappointing to decent. Two were bulldog brown trout in the fourteen to fifteen inch range and one was a chunky thirteen inch rainbow. The pocketwater feeders grabbed the trailing caddis, although I also suffered quite a few refusals to the size sixteen caddis. All the fish from the late afternoon pocket water section attacked the dry fly, as it drifted next to a seam bordering deep, fast water.


End of Day Surprise

The late afternoon flurry of action salvaged my day on the Eagle River. I took a stream temperature at 2PM, and it registered 62 degrees, so I felt that it was safe to continue fishing; however, I believe that the bright sun and high air temperatures definitely impacted the urge to feed of the Eagle River trout. An increase in cloud cover in the last 1.5 hours provoked increased caddis dapping activity, and this probably explained my improved success rate. A seven fish day under warm temperatures was appreciated and certainly preferred over remaining at home and nursing my cold.

Fish Landed: 7