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) has a more intimate feel for anglers looking to scrape a Grand Slam of trout, rainbow, brown trout , a stream and a cutthroat trout in one day from the same watershed . Anglers who feel the need to challenge their angling skills and attempt to capture the dark target benefit from the advice House of Pain gave us in the early 1990s and Jump Around.
It’s no secret that the Gore, as it’s known locally, is home to a surprising number of trout. The predominant species are rainbows and browns. However, anglers willing to work their legs a bit and cover more water increased the chances of collecting all the necessary species.
It is true that speckled trout and cutthroat trout are less numerous than a few years ago, but they are still there. Therein lies the challenge of connecting with all four species, despite the lower population. The Gore holds them. You have to go find them.
With an enormous amount of public access, an outing on Gore Creek can happen just about anywhere along the more than eighteen miles of cold, rushing water. The area of the creek that is east of East Vail is rugged and has no more trout than your outstretched fingers. The creek is difficult to fish in this steep section, but it still has trout in the pools and cut bank areas where the trout can take shelter from predators. Brook trout and cutthroat trout dominate the creek in this stretch. Anglers looking to eliminate the hardest to reach of the four species will want to start in an area that offers the best chance of success.
As it descends towards East Vail, Gore Creek collects more volume from the many seeps that flow down the side of Vail’s ski mountain. The East Vail Falls that create the frozen waterfalls in winter cause streams of cool water to flow into the creek. The creek continues to grow.
Anglers who are keen on whitewater fishing can pick up fish in the rapids. And any deep pool will contain a number of fish and often a mix of species. Good structure is beneficial to all Gore Creek trout. Stream improvements in the creek direct trout to prime areas with cool, lively water.
Dry flies bring all species of Gore Creek trout to the surface. Summer is pure bliss for dry flies. But when fall rolls around and even into winter, anglers benefit from a shallow water nymph rig. Gore Creek is never very deep. Anglers can cover more water and exploit the rhythm of the water to more easily present a presentation below the surface with the shallow water rig.
Small streamers stir the mixture creating a hunting scenario where one of the four species could grab the hook. Little pearl-headed buggers, lightweight squirrel-tailed leeches and feathery streamers harness the shallow-water nature of the Gore while presenting a substantial chunk of protein. Anglers who can find deeper water than the little streamers can cover are in the right section of the creek.
Fly anglers will find a variety of rods that can excel on Gore Creek. Small fiberglass rods are used to land soft-touch dry flies. Long European nymph rods reach across the creek in areas that facilitate drag-free presentations. I admit that my short fiberglass rods fit easily on Vail city buses when you need to hop to the next section of the village creek.
Above East Vail to the confluence with the Eagle River at Down Junction, anglers who need a break from the crowds will find nirvana on Gore Creek. The aspens dance in gold all along the creek. And the trout are feeding intensively in anticipation of the lean months ahead. Anglers looking to win a Grand Slam need look no further than charming Gore Creek.
Brook trout and cutthroat roam the higher reaches of the Gore. Rainbow trout and brown trout dominate the creek in the lower reaches. Being mobile and fishing in different sections of the creek gives individuals a fair chance at success. The best advice for serious anglers about achieving accomplishment, you have to jump everywhere.