Roaring Fork River, Colorado Fly Fishing Reports & Conditions
Fly Fishing Map of Roaring Fork River, CO
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Roaring Fork River, Colorado Fly Fishing Reports & Conditions
My tips of the week
Best fishing has been during the afternoons and evenings.
Fishing Conditions

Fly Fishing Roaring Fork River is currently Excellent

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby:
Capt. Matt Thomas
Sunrise Anglers

Water flow: 148cfs/Aspen, 384cfs/Basalt, 667cfs/Glenwood

Visibility: 48 inches

Water temperature at mid-day: 48 Degrees F

Water condition: Clear

Best time of day to fish: Early mornings, late afternoon-early evenings

Best stretch: Basalt and downvalley, upper Roaring Fork is iced up

Best access point: Two Rivers Rd, Catherines, Bonedale, Westbank, Glenwood

Fly fishing hatches in order of importance:

Midges, Winter Stones, Baetis Nymphs

Fish species: Trout

Fishing season: Year Round (Prime: June 1 - September 30)

Nearest airport: Aspen-Pitkin County Airport

Free Orvis Fish Sticker

Roaring Fork River Description

One of Colorado's premiere freestone trout fisheries, the Roaring Fork River's headwaters run down from the top of Independence Pass and flows for seventy miles down through the Roaring Fork Valley! Because of this great length, the river offers a variety of water types for the angler. From tight canyon pocket water in the upper river to the exceptional float fishing stretches of the lower river, there is always ...

Techniques & Tips

ROARING FORK RIVER REPORT Get social with us! Find us on Facebook@taylorcreekflyshops, Twitter@tcreekflyshop, Google+@taylorcreekflyshops and Instagram@taylorcreekflyshops May 3, 2016 UPPER ROARING FORK- ASPEN DOWNSTREAM TO BASALT FLOW: 188 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon) WATER CLARITY: Clear/green with Snowmass/Owl creeks occassionally putting in some minor discoloration. OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 The upper Roaring Fork is prime and yielding some of the best wade fishing in the valley currently! THE SHORT AND SWEET: Its springtime in the Rockies. The weather is all over the place (today we had snow, sleet, rain and sun). Keep in mind, cool and dank overcast days are ALWAYS the better fishing days. Don't be afraid to get your Gore-Tex wet people! Go fish - the fish are already wet anyhow! Look for predominately BWOs and midges in the way of hatches. Caddis and stonefly imitations are productive as lead/point flies when nymphing. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Baetis, Midges, Stoneflies, Caddis, Worms IN DEPTH REVIEW: There's no doubt that the upper Fork is the most reliable section of river (in terms of water clarity and fishing productivity) throughout pre-runoff and runoff. We're at that funky tweener season right now where hatches of BWOs and midges overlap, with caddis and stoneflies nipping at their heels as we move towards the bigger water and runoff of May. Crowds have been thin overall with mostly locals out on the water. This should stay the case until mid June. Nymphing has been consistent. In the deep and slow pools and seams we suggest sticking with small (#18-20) baetis and midge (#20-22) imitations. Try some TC Poxybiot Baetis, Tung Hoovers, PTs, Split Case BWOs and Black BLMs. For midge patterns we like RS2s, Foamwing RS2s, Biot Emergers, Freestone Emergers and Rojos. When fishing faster pocket water, this is when the larger (#14-18) caddis and stonefly (#8-14) patterns come into play. Rising fish are being caught midday on a variety of baetis and midge dry flies including: Bills Midge, CDC Transitional Midges, Fryingpan Emergers, Sparkledun BWOs, No Hackle BWOs and HOH Thorax BWOs in sizes #20-22. A very few fish are beginning to key in on Caddis adults too - just keep in mind to skate, skitter and bump these when fishing them. As we progress into May, look for the fish to make the switch from BWOs/midges to caddis/stoneflies. APPROPRIATE PATTERNS: DRIES: CDC Transitional Midge 20-22, Bill's Midge Emerger 20-22, Bill's Adult Midge 20-24, Hi-Viz Griffiths Gnat 20-22, Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, CDC Spent Midge 22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, HOH CDC Thorax BWO 20-22, TC Sparkledun 20-22 NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stones 6-10, 20 Inchers 10-14, Tung. Winter Stone 18-20, BLMs 18-20, Pheasant Tails 20-24, TC Red Midge Larva 20-22, Gray RS2's 20-22, Black Sparklewing RS2's 20-22, Bling Midge 18-20, Biot Midge 20-22, Zebra Midge 18-22, Rojo Midge 20-22, Gray Soft Hackle BWO Emerger 20, Gray Pulsating Emerger 20-22 HINTS: Stuff a rainjacket into your pack and keep it there for the next few weeks. Most of us prefer to fish the upper river (Woody Creek Canyon-Jaffe Park) in a backpack or slingpack- as to keep additional clothing, gear, water (beer) and lunch on board since you will be away from your vehicle. Check out the Fishpond Westwater or Orvis GaleForce series of packs. MIDDLE ROARING FORK- BASALT DOWNSTREAM TO CARBONDALE FLOW: 410 cfs in Basalt - Good to go for rafts again! This is the section to float when the Crystal River is blowing-out the Roaring Fork below Carbondale. Don't count this section out for wading either for the same reason. WATER CONDITIONS: Lately, during the morning hours look for the river to be slightly discolored. Don't fret; the river clears rapidly to green/clear by the afternoon hours and is more than fishable into the evening hours. OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 It's still mostly baetis and midges in the way of hatches, but be on the lookout for ever increasing numbers of caddis. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Baetis, Midges, Stoneflies, Caddis, Worms THE SHORT AND SWEET: When you hear us talking about "shoulder seasons", this is EXACTLY what we are talking about. The bugs are going, the fish are on them, the crowds are light - it's go time! THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: A slight tinge or murk in the river has been working to our advantage. Unlike the upper river, the fish below Basalt are now keyed into worms, caddis, stoneflies and streamers. That's not to say that small baetis and midges won't work - just don't rely on them as heavily as you did during winter and Fifth-Season. The majority of risers being seen are in fact on baetis (midday) and midges (early/late), with just a few fish munching caddis. Though the size of flies hasn't seemed to matter too much (as long as you're in the neighborhood), colors are important. For worms we're fishing mostly red, wine and pink, for stoneflies we like ginger and peacock, caddis should be lime or chartreause, with streamers fished in white, tan and black. APPROPIATE PATTERNS NYMPHS: Cat Poops 8-12, 20 Inchers 12-16, SJ Worms 10, Electric Caddis 14-16, Diamond Caddis 14-16, Soft Hackle Hares Ear 16-18, BLMs 18-20, Tung Split Case BWO 20, Tung Winter Stone 18-20, RS2s 20-22, Biot Emergers 18-20, RS2s 20, Princes 12-18, CJs chartreause 16-18, PTs 16-20 DRIES: CDC Transitional Midge 20-22, Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, Colletts Para BWO 18-22, P&E Caddis 14-16, Caddis Ginger Variant 14-16, Stimi's 14-16 STREAMERS: Willy White Shoes, Carlton Banks, Meat Gazers, Circus Peanuts HINTS: Why battle the crowds on the Fryingpan? Check out the awesome fishing on the Roaring Fork. LOWER ROARING FORK- CARBONDALE TO GLENWOOD FLOW: 822 cfs in Glenwood Springs - Lots of caddis in Glenwood! WATER CONDITIONS: Water clarity is fluctuating - discolored water present during the mornings with afternoons yielding green/clear water. Plenty of water to float in a hard boat again too. OVERALL RATING: 5 out of 10 but wildly variable, hence the 5 rating. The fishing has been as good as an 8 out of 10 when clear/green or as poor as a 2 out of 10 under muddy conditions. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Caddis, Stoneflies, Worms, Baetis, Midges THE SHORT AND SWEET: Fishing has been fluctuating between really good and really poor, just depending on the day, water clarity and the weather. As always, feel free to give us a call for daily river conditions - 970.927.4374 If the stars align properly, you very well might experience some of the best fishing of the entire year! THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: If you time it right, the fishing has been lights-out! Caddis are ever increasing in numbers daily. We expect to see full-blown hatches within two weeks, especially on those sunny days. Get on the river now as some of the best fishing (floating especially) of the year is immediately prior to runoff. Like the middle section of river, the fish are focusing more on caddis, stoneflies and worms and less and less of baetis, midges and eggs. As far as our caddis hatch goes, it has been light lately due to the cool and dank weather. With bright, sunny days forecasted this next week, I would anticipate on the caddis hatch vastly increasing. Just remember to skate, skitter and bump those caddis adults/dries around. The only hitch in that is that the warmer weather will probably further discolor the river, making timing it "right" difficult. This is the time of year when it pays off to be a local or just take the conditions as they come. In addition, as the water continues to rise, look for the fish to progressively move closer to the banks. The streamer fishing has been better than decent lately too. We are generally running very light or very dark colored streamers in white, tan, and black. APPROPRIATE PATTERNS: NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 6-10, 20 Inchers 10-14, Spanflex Stone 10-12, Prince Nymph 12-16, Diamond Caddis 14-16, Electric Caddis 14-16, Soft Hackle Hares Ear 16, SJ Worms 10, Prince 14-16, BLM 18-20, Tung PT 16-18, Biot Emergers 18-20, UltraBling RS2 20, Tung. Jeff Gordan 18-20, DRIES: Lowlight Peacock Caddis 14-16, P&E Caddis 14-16, Stimi's 12-16, Renegade 16-18, Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Collett's Para BWO 18-22, HOH CDC Thorax BWO 20-22, CDC Transitional Midge 20-22, Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, Hi-Viz Griffiths Gnat 20-22 STREAMERS: Carlton Banks, Meat Gazers, Sculpzillas, Peanuts HINTS: Feel free to give us a call for daily river conditions at 970.927.4374 Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Fork @ Aspen Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Fork @ Basalt (Emma) Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Fork @ Glenwood

7-Day Forecast

Ditch the big nymphs and dries in lieu of smaller size 18-20 baetis/midges.

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