When most people think of fly fishing, they picture Montana and the movie filmed there that brought fly fishing to the masses – “A River Runs Through It”. Therefore, it might be surprising to learn that Colorado has some of the best, and most abundant, fishing you’ll find anywhere, with 8,000 miles of rivers, including 322 miles of Gold Medal streams. Vail’s very own Gore Creek, that runs right behind Lodge at Lionshead, happens to be one of these Gold Medal streams. Oh, and Vail has pretty incredible scenery, too.

Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast or brand new to the sport, Vail is the perfect location to build or perfect your skills while enjoying the beautiful nature that surrounds you. 

Go With a Guide: Float Trips

First of all, we always recommend hiring a guide because they have a wealth of experience, insight and can take you to some of the best local spots. They also have access to private water if that is something you want to try. A float trip is a great option for any skill level, but especially for the more expert angler. Fishing by boat offers access to water that is not available for wading and the ability to cover more miles during the course of your trip through stunning scenery. You also may get the opportunity to stop and wade in certain sections, getting the best of both worlds.

Half-day, 3/4 day and full-day options are available, with half-day trips being around 5 hours total (including travel) and full-day trips being 7-8 hours total. We like Gore Creek Fly Fisherman for both float and wade trips. 

Go With a Guide: Wade Trips

Wade trips are a great way for anglers of all skill levels to fine tune their skills and increase their fishing knowledge. You also get a chance to slow down, relax and have a more intimate connection to water, local landscape and fish. Depending on your fitness level and desire for adventure, you could even hike to some fantastic secret spots in the surrounding wilderness.

Like float trips, half-day, 3/4 day and full-day options are available, with half-day trips being around 5 hours total (including travel) and full-day trips being 7-8 hours total. We like Gore Creek Fly Fisherman for both float and wade trips.

On Your Own

Locally, you can fish on Gore Creek and the Eagle River. For Gore Creek, access is easy via the public parks in Vail. If you are seeking large trout, head due west of Vail to the point where Red Sandstone Creek enters the Gore. That’s the Gold Medal territory. On Gore Creek you are only allowed to use artificial lures and flies. The minimum size for trout is 16-inches and the catch-and-keep limit is two (although obviously taking 0 is better for the stock levels).

The nearby Eagle River is not too far away and really worth the trip, often times being quieter than Gore Creek.

You can purchase a fishing license online or at any local fly shop. Fly shops also offer casting clinics, gear, clothing and advice on where to fish - if you are lucky.

Useful tips…

  • All trips include waders, boots, rods, reels, beverages and flies used during the trip. Lunch is included on full-day trips and is available for an additional cost on half-day trips.
  • Trip pricing does not include fishing licenses or guide gratuity.
  • Guided trips go out rain or shine, and afternoon showers are common throughout the summer months. Please come prepared with an extra pair of socks, sunglasses, a hat, and a light rain jacket. For sunny weather, add a camera and sunscreen.