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Salomone: Jump around

Craig Hatcher, Vail Valley Anglers guide with a Gore Creek brown.
Courtesy photo

Gore Creek in the fall is a welcome retreat from the big rivers. She (I often refer to rivers as ladies because they deserve special etiquette and respect) holds a more intimate feel for anglers looking to scratch off a Grand Slam of trout, a rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout in one day from the same watershed. Anglers who feel a beckoning to challenge their angling skills and attempt to capture the obscure goal benefit from the advice the House of Pain gave us back in the early 1990s and Jump Around.

It’s no secret that the Gore, as it is locally known, holds a surprising number of trout. The predominant species are the rainbows and browns. However, anglers willing to put in a little leg work and cover more water have elevated the odds for collecting all the species necessary.

True the brook and cutthroat trout are in diminished numbers compared to just a few years ago but they are still around. Therein lies the challenge, to connect with all four species, despite the lower population. The Gore holds them. You have to go find them.



With a huge amount of public access an outing on Gore Creek can happen just about anywhere along the eighteen-plus miles of tumbling, cold water. The area of the creek that lies east of East Vail is rugged, holding trout no longer than your outstretched fingers. The creek is difficult to fish in this steep section but does still hold trout in the pools and cutbank areas where trout can gain shelter from predators. Brook and cutthroat trout dominate the creek in this stretch. Anglers wanting to scratch off the toughest to achieve of the four species will want to start in an area that gives the best odds for success.

Moving downstream into East Vail, Gore Creek gathers more volume from the numerous seeps that flow down from the side of Vail ski mountain. The East Vail chutes that create the frozen waterfalls in the Winter trickle cool streams of water into the creek. The creek continues to gather size.

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Anglers adept at fishing moving water can pick up fish in the fast riffles. And any deep pool will hold a number of fish and often a mix of species. Good structure is beneficial for any of the trout in Gore Creek. The stream improvements made in the creek funnel trout into prime areas with cool, busy water.

Vail Valley Anglers guide Craig Hatcher on Gore Creek.
VVA Guide Craig Hatcher on Gore Creek

Dry flies bring all of the trout species in Gore Creek up to the surface. Summertime is pure dry fly bliss. But when autumn arrives and even on into winter anglers benefit from a shallow water nymph rig. Gore Creek is never very deep. Anglers can cover more water and harness the pace of the water to present a subsurface presentation more easily with the shallow water rigging.

Small streamers stir up the mix creating a chasing scenario where any of the four species could grab the hook. Little beadhead buggers, light squirreltail leeches and feather-style streamers exploit the shallow water nature of the Gore while presenting a substantial piece of protein. Anglers that can find water deeper than the small streamers can cover are in the correct section of the creek.



Rainbow trout
Courtesy photo

Fly anglers will find a variety of rods that can excel on Gore Creek. Small fiberglass rods lay down dry flies with a soft touch. Long, Euro-nymphing rods reach clear over the entire creek in areas making drag-free presentations a breeze. I will confess that my short, fiberglass rods fit easily on the Vail town buses for when you need to jump to the next section of creek in the village.

From above East Vail to the confluence with the Eagle River in Down Junction anglers needing a bit of respite from the crowds will find nirvana on Gore Creek. The aspens are dancing in gold all along the creek. And the trout are putting on heavy feeding activity in preparation for the lean months ahead. Anglers wanting to scratch off a grand slam need to look no farther than the lovely Gore Creek.

Brook trout and cutthroats roam in the highest stretches of the Gore. Rainbow and brown trout dominate the creek in the lower stretches. Being mobile and fishing different sections of the creek gives individuals an honest shot at success. The best advice for anglers serious about accomplishing the achievement, you have to jump around.


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