May 18, 2009
Author: Trout's Staff
One of the last freestone rivers in Colorado, the Eagle, is an often
over look and under rated river. It begins as a small trickle near Tennessee Pass just north of Leadville and then flows roughly 70 miles until it confluences with the Colorado River at Dotsero. The Eagle River was named by the local Ute Indians, who thought the river had as many tributaries as an eagle had feathers. Like many rivers in Colorado, the Eagle followed the path of the Colorado mining boom during the mid 1800’s. Gold, silver, lead and zinc were mined heavily as settlers scrambled to grab their piece of the American dream, and those hazardous practices began to take their toll on the river shed. By the 1970’s, much of the river was “dead” and void of fish, and it wasn’t until the early 1990’s that the federal government began to take notice and intervene. After millions of dollars in clean-up efforts, and a commitment by the local communities to see the Eagle thrive again, the river is beginning to return to its pristine state.