Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


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June 20, 2016


FLOW: 2,200 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon)

WATER CLARITY: Clear/green with Snowmass/Owl creeks occassionally putting in some minor discoloration. The extreme heat we are anticipating will speed runoff up and get it over with quick.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 10 The upper Roaring Fork is still on the fast and big side, but there are fish to be found.

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Its springtime in the Rockies. The weather is all over the place at this time of year, so come prepared for anything. Keep in mind, cool and dank overcast days are ALWAYS the better fishing days. Don't be afraid to get your Gore-Tex wet! 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. With flows yo-yo-ing, look for the fish to move toward the banks and into the soft pockets.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Baetis, Caddis, Stoneflies, Worms, Midges

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 June. Crowds have been thin overall with mostly locals out on the water. 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.


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.


FLOW: 2,950 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. A pine tree is down about a mile above Catherines Store (near Flying Fish Rd) blocking river right. It is quite obvious but make sure to go down the river left channel (which you should always be doing anyhow). Don't count this section out for wading either for the same reason; fishing has been rockin' out there!

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: 5 out of 10, due to fluctuating clarity. Time to bust out the big uglies...worms, caddis, stones, cranes and streamers.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Stoneflies, Caddis, Worms, Baetis, Drake nymphs

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! There are numerous side channels and soft pockets that are still very fishable.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: We will experience a very hot week here in the RFV, runoff should be done sooner than later. 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, black and purple.


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.


FLOW: 5,110 cfs in Glenwood Springs

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: 3 out of 10 but wildly variable. 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, Drake nymphs

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 ten days, especially on those sunny days. Get on the river now as some of the best fishing (floating especially) of the year is at our doorstep. 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 high flows. 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 and fall (averaging 1,000 cfs up and down every day), 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.


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

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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