The headwaters of the East River begin near Emerald Lake north of Gothic. The river provides 35 miles of fishing from its headwaters to Almont, where it joins the Taylor River to form the Gunnison River.
The East River averages 20 feet in width with ample pools and riffles, with the majority of river banks lined with willow, so wading is a necessity. Open to flies only from the confluence with the Taylor River upstream for five miles as posted. North of Crested Butte (the mountain), the river meanders dramatically. Rainbow, browns and brook trout inhabit this river. It is good fly fishing water, with fishing rated overall as excellent.
Directions from Crested Butte: Traveling south on Highway 135 you can reach the East River from Brush Creek Road, Forest Service Road 738. The river begins to parallel Highway 135 when it approaches Cement Creek Road, Forest Service Road 740,
Directions from Gothic: Traveling north of Mt. Crested Butte on Gothic Road you can see the East River in the valley below. Gothic Road #317 leads to Gothic and crosses the East River as it enters town.