Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


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March 20, 2017


FLOW: 161 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon) and dropping.

WATER CLARITY: There has been a bit of mud here and there with the warm-up. It's been a warm and wet winter, you'll be surprised with how good the river looks!

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Eggs, BWO nymphs, Caddis larva, Winter Stones, Golden Stonelfy nymphs, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: Winter is here a little while longer, but it's on the way out. The Roaring Fork is the best fishing river in the Valley as of today. Mid-day midge hatches are already common when it stays warm. There is a cool-down on the way here Friday, this may slow the fishing a bit.

HATCHES: Midges sz 22-24, and we should see some BWOs soon if it stays warm.


DRIES: Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, Bills Midge Adult 20-22, Flag Adams 18-20

NYMPHS: BLMs 18-20, Tungsten Bead Baetis 20, BTS Baetis 20-22, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 20, Biot Baetis 20-22, Soft Hackle BWO 20-22, Prince 18, Eggs 16-18, Tungsten Winter Stone

STREAMERS: Weir's Sculpin 6, Autumn Splendor 6, Zuddler 6, Slumpies 6-8

HINTS: Don't pass up those warm and cloudy days, they're your best shot at plenty of fish.


FLOW: 363 cfs in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Clear for the most part, there has been a bit of color here and there with the warming trend. The Crystal has been blowing out here and there, which will add color below Carbondale.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Eggs, Winter Stones, Golden Stonefly nymphs, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: It's usually pretty good near Basalt below the confluence with the Fryingpan, which actually warms the water a bit on the Roaring Fork. The conditions are drastically improved over the last week.

Overnight temps dictate the fishing here in the winter, so keep an eye on those when you are planning a fishing day. Most fish will be stacked up together in deep, highly oxegenated water. Eggs trailed by Princes, BWO nymphs and midge larva should put a few in the bag for you. Keep moving, keep warm and stick to midday for the best hatch opportunities.

We've been getting into some decent midge hatches mid-day lately, and we are seeing BWO hatches from Carbondale downvalley to the Colorado. Also seeing a few sporadic caddis!

HATCHES: BWOs 18-20, Midges sz 22-24


NYMPHS: BLMs 18-20, Tung Split Case BWO 20-22, Princes 16-20, CJs Red 16-18, PTs 16-20, Tung Teasers 16-18 Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Tailwater Assassin 20-22, Imposter 20-22, Eggs 16-18, Cat Poop 10-12, Twenty Incher 14-16

DRIES: Bills Midge Adult 20-22, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24

STREAMERS: Peanuts, Gongas, Carlton Banks, Splendors, Bread n Butter Bugger 6

HINTS: If you find yourself struggling down here, move! Covering water is key on the upper Fork.


FLOW: 762 cfs in Glenwood Springs

WATER CONDITIONS: A foot or two of visability, the Crystal has been popping on the warm days.

OVERALL RATING: 9 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Caddis, Midges, Eggs, Winter Stones, Golden Stonefly nymphs, Caddis larva, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: March shoulder-season fishing is vastly improved on the lower river. BWOs are now hatching regularly mid-day! Float season never really ended this winter, and plenty of boats are already finding out how good the fishing is on the lower Fork. We've been in an afternoon storm cycle lately, so don't forget your 6 or 7 weight for throwing streamers. The first caddis of the year are now being seen here and there.

If you find yourself struggling down here, downsize those flies. "Tiny and shiny " is your general rule of thumb down here when nymphing. Sporadic rising fish are being taken on midges during afternoons off-the-banks. The streamer fishing can be surprisingly good when it's warm and cloudy. On the flipside, don't be afraid to ply the water with stonefly nymphs and smaller Twenty Inchers.

HATCHES: Caddis 16-18, BWOs 18-20, Midges 20-22


NYMPHS: Prince Nymph 18-20, Tung PT 18-20, BLMs 18-20, Freestone Emerger 20, RS2s 20-22, Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Thread Body Baetis 18-20, Soft Hackle BWO 20-22, Imposters 20-22, Cat Poop 10-12, Twenty Incher 14-16

DRIES: Pearl and Elk 16-18, Ethawing Caddis 16-18, Goddard Caddis 16-18, Morgans Midge 18-20, Sprout Midge 18-20, Skittering Zelon Midge 20-22, Improved Sparkledun BWO 18-20, Perfect Baetis 20, CDC BWO Comparadun 18-20

STREAMERS: Carlton Banks, Meat Gazers, Sculpzillas, Peanuts, Gongas, Splendors

HINTS: Force yourself to learn something new - a new fly, technique, spot - and you'll be a better angler.

Seven-day forecast 

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

Must Have Flies 
Sparkle Dun BWO 18-20 Buy from
Prince Nymph 8-12 Buy from
Bead Head American Pheasant Tail 16-20 Buy from
Griffith's Gnat 20-22 Buy from
WD-40 Gray 20 Buy from
Tungsten Cone Head Woolly Bugger Blk or Wht 4-8 Buy from
Taylor Creek-Basalt

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