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Fishing in Colorado’s Gold Medal Waters Around Vail

Summer in Vail is a glorious time to explore Gold Medal Waters — Colorado’s highest-ranking waters for wild-trout fishing — with a fly-fishing rod in hand. Let the rushing sounds of Gore Creek relax your mind while you relish its bounty of ginormous fishies. Gore Creek’s Gold Medal Waters are easily accessed from both Vail and Lionshead villages.

Pro tip: Pick up a Colorado fishing license before you go, and consider going with a local guide, like Vail Valley Anglers, that knows all the Gold Medal Waters secrets.

Gore Creek’s Gold Medal Waters

A father and son fly fish on the Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado, with mountains and evergreens behind them.

Gore Creek runs right through Vail, and the Gold Medal section begins where the Red Sandstone Creek enters the Gore and ends where it meets with the Eagle River. Expect to be challenged on this stretch, too. The trout can be spooky (meaning easily startled or scared) so be sure to use light lines and good technique. Sighting the fish and then casting just a little upstream will be your best bet to hook one of the Gore’s gorgeously glimmering trout.

Preparing to Fish Gold Medal Waters

It pays to prepare for your fly-fishing adventure on Vail’s Gold Medal Waters. Don’t forget to check local regulations and permissions required to fish on private lands, as they often vary along stretches of the same Gold Medal Waters. Pay attention to areas that require catch and release for specific fish species, and places that only allow fly and lure. Going fly fishing with your kids? Check out these tips.

More About Gold Medal Waters in Colorado

Hands dip into river water in Vail, Colorado. The river bottom is cracked and the water is clear.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife identifies Gold Medal Waters by rating the water quality and habitat needed to support a vast bounty of large trout.

According to Vail Valley Anglers, “These waters are defined as being able to produce 60 pounds of trout per acre, and at least 12 trout over 14 inches long per acre. Only 322 miles of Colorado’s 9,000 miles of trout streams, and three lakes, carry the ‘Gold Medal’ signature. These Gold Medal fisheries are protected with special regulations limiting harvest numbers and size of fish allowed to be kept in order to ensure quality fly fishing in the future.”

Find top Vail fishing spots and guide information.
Get four helpful tips for fishing in Vail responsibly.
Learn about the importance of restoring Gore Creek.