Fall doesn’t only mean cozy sweaters, pumpkin-spiced everything, and waiting for the snow to fly. In the Vail Valley, fall is one of our favorite seasons. Not only does fall bring us golden leaves and vibrant natural beauty, but it also brings prime fishing season! Whether you’re a seasoned angler or the only reel you’ve ever used is on Instagram, fishing in the Vail Valley should be added to your fall activity list.
Did you know? Gore Creek, a tributary of Eagle River, is ranked by the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife as a Gold Medal stretch of water. The Gold Medal standard means the river provides an ideal habitat for trout and can produce up to 60 pounds per acre — that’s a lot of trout! With over 9,000 miles of waterways in Colorado, the Gold Medal standard has only been awarded to 322 miles, a portion of which are right here in the Vail Valley.
With the Eagle River right at our back steps, the Colorado River flowing in the valley, and world-renowned Gore Creek only a short drive away, The Inn makes the perfect home base for fishing outings.
If you prefer to learn local knowledge, you can get off the beaten path and into some of Vail Valleys' hidden gems by booking a fishing guide. Local guides spend nearly every day on the river, meaning they know the ins and outs of these waters. Their extensive knowledge will lead you to catch more fish, hone your technique, and bring you to pristine areas you most likely wouldn’t discover on your own.
What to Know Before Booking a Guide
When selecting a guiding service, you will have the option of choosing between wading or float fishing. Each has its perks and it’s important to understand the differences before booking your trip.
Outfitted in waterproof gear (waders), you and your guide will walk the bank of the river looking for water where fish might be. When you spot an ideal area, you’ll step into the water to get a little closer before casting your fishing line. Since wading has a much slower pace than floating, you’ll be able to look for and learn about insects the fish love while soaking up beautiful scenery, making this a great option for beginners.
Hopping into an oar-powered drift boat or fishing raft with your guide and cruising down the river is a much different experience than wading. Your guide will set up your rod and reel and then slowly paddle you downriver, stopping in areas where fish may be. Floating allows you to see more of the river, allowing you to enjoy the solitude of remote locations that can only be accessed by boat while reeling in some beautiful Colorado trout.
Like the world-class rivers in our backyard, the outfitters and guides in the valley are equally outstanding. Rather than scrolling through online reviews, we have selected our top three recommended local guiding services for you.
Vail Valley Anglers
One of the most trusted guiding services in the area, Vail Valley Anglers is located right in the Riverwalk, just a few doors down from The Inn. Not only is their location convenient, they are also a fantastic group of people that provide next-level fishing experiences. With 4-hour (½ day), 6-hour (¾ day), and 6+ hour (full day) offerings for both wade fishing and float trips, they have many options to choose from.
We recommend booking a full-day adventure with Vail Valley Anglers. 6+ hours may seem like a long day, but, trust us, this time flies by. On a full-day excursion, you will be provided with fishing gear, a cooler of cold water, fresh lunch, and guaranteed fun.
Cost (May range depending on season):
Full-day wade fishing is $550 for one person or $650 for two.
Full-day float fishing is $700 for one person or $750 for two.
For a more affordable option, book a half-day guided walk and wade fishing trip with Sage Outdoor Adventures. One of their top-notch guides will take you to a river close to The Inn, help you scout out fish, and teach you the proper technique to hook a big one. This is the perfect option if you’re in Edwards for a short time or if you are new to the sport. The half-day outing will get you on the river quickly and easily, with hands-on instruction that’ll help you try to land a few big fish!
Cost (May range depending on season): $249 for one person or $350 for two people.
Since 2008, Minturn Anglers has offered traditional wade and float fishing in addition to some unique fishing experiences. We highly recommend booking their Cast and Taste excursion if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind Vail Valley experience. It makes the perfect date activity: fishing a beautiful private stretch of water followed by a delicious catered meal, complete with wine pairing — it doesn’t get much better than that!
Cost (May range depending on season): $745 for a party of two
Wool or synthetic tall socks to wear in wading boots (bring an extra pair just in case, no one wants wet feet!)
Snacks and extra water
Base layers for top and bottom in case of cold weather
Cash gratuity for the guide who will be making it all possible
Keep in mind that the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, especially in the fall, so bring along extra layers to be safe.
No matter your guiding service, there is something for everyone and every budget. Getting out onto the water will be one of the highlights on your trip to the Vail Valley. With fall being the perfect time for fishing, trips will fill up quickly.
Book your Vail Valley fishing trip of a lifetime today!