Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


January 26, 2015

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FLOW: 109 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon)

WATER CLARITY: Clear and low with variable ice/shush conditions

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: It's time to be on the upper Roaring Fork! Rainbows have the feed bag on and the majority of the browns are now post spawn. Fishing pressure is low up here despite the hot afternoon and evening fishing.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Huevos, Stoneflies

IN DEPTH REVIEW: Look for some amazing fishing opportunities in the upper Roaring Fork Valley in the coming weeks. From Basalt all the way up to Aspen, the fishing is terrific.

Hot spots to check out over the coming weeks are Jaffe Park, Dart , Leaning Tree, and lower Woody Creek.

Nymphing is the deadliest way to approach this section, utilizing egg patterns, winter stoneflies, midges and small baetis. The brown trout spawn has certainly tapered off and with that, the fishing picks back up. Midges and stoneflies are accounting for the majority of fish caught in the morning hours, with eggs leading the charge during the afternoons and evenings. The fish are back to holding in any of the deeper pools, pockets and seams. In a sense, this makes finding the fish fairly easy.

Streamer fishing this smaller section of river can be quite fun, but the days are becoming numbered as we get deeper into winter and the fish pull off the banks.


DRIES: CDC Transitional Midge 22-24, Bill's Midge Emerger 22-24, Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, Griffiths Gnat 20-22

NYMPHS: Prince 16-20, Flashtail Egg 14-18, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Sands' STD 18-20, Biot Baetis Emerger 18-22, Beerhead Baetis 20-22, Tungsten Hoover Baetis 20-22, Zebra Midge 18-22, Cap'n Hook 20-22, Flash Bang Midge 22-24

STREAMERS: Slumpbuster 6-8, Sculpzilla 6-10, Salmonid Purple Bugger 8, Stingin' Sculpin 8

HINTS: Find those soft seams and places trout like to take a break from the current


FLOW: 310 cfs in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Clear and ideal. Ideally, the best fishing days always follow the warmest overnight temps. Ice and slush can be present on bitter cold days when temps fall into the low teens and below.

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Stoneflies, Huevos

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Sick of fishing tailwaters for lethargic fish? This is one of the few freestone rivers in the Rockies that fishes right on through the winter! Truth be told, this is the best (most consistant) winter fishing on the entire Roaring Fork due in large part to the warm water of the Fryingpan spilling into the river.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: Like elsewhere on the Roaring Fork, midges, stoneflies and eggs are accounting for the majority of fish being caught. There's no need to get out there at the crack of dawn, as the best fishing has been during the afternoons and evenings. The rainbows are still focusing on eggs for the most part, but as get deeper into December you can't rely on the egg as much as you did in October and November. Stoneflies (both large and small) really start to fish well this month as the brown trout spawn comes to a close and we're still prior to the heavy midge hatches of late winter. This makes attractor patterns (Cat Poops, Princes, Rainbow Warriors, BLMs) useful in searching and covering water. Beyond stoneflies and generics, midge larva and emerger patterns such as Zebras, BH Polywing Emergers, Rojos, and RS2s are all good, viable options to use as dropper patterns. The streamer bite has tapered off with the cooler weather. That said, diehard streamer-junkies are still moving some fish here and there but it's lessening each and every day.


NYMPHS: Flashtail Hot Egg 14-18, BLM's 18-20, Freestone Emerger 20, Cat Poop Stone 8-12, Prince nymph 16-20, STD 18-20, Tung Winter Stone 18-20, Biot Midge 18-20, Rojo Midge 20-22, Ultra-Bling RS2's 20-22, Zebra Midges 18-20

DRIES: Keep won't see much until February. If dries are your thing, keep your eyes peeled during last light. A few risers have been seen in Basalt.

STREAMERS: Not so much anymore with the colder water temps.

HINTS: Dress and layers and bust out those rubber soled wading boots.


FLOW: 560 cfs in Glenwood Springs.

WATER CONDITIONS: Clear with lower water conditions.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Stoneflies, Huevos, Baetis nymphs

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Perfect conditions with great clarity. If anything, flows are on the high-side for this time of year due to the wet weather we had in August and September.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: Are you jonesing to go floating this winter? It's a heck of a lot warmer than standing in the drink, plus the fishing has been damn good too. And who doesn't like sipping hot coffee, tea and a warm bowl of soup or chili to keep you warm while you're fishing? Floating anglers in particular should focus on fishing the deeper slots, seams and pools as the fish are no longer holding tight up against the banks. Ditch the streamers and dries for now, as it's all about nymphing in general. Like elsewhere on the Fork, eggs, stones and midges are accounting for the majority of fish being caught. Overcast conditions keep the fish more relaxed and you'll find the fish more spread-out during these times. Shallow and heavy nymph rigs fished in medium depths at a light/moderate river speed are best under the clouds. This is where stoneflies and attractor patterns shine! During bright, sunny days the opposite holds true; fish the depths with a longer and heavier nymph rig consisting of the more subtle, egg and midge combinations. Wading anglers should hit up the following areas: Gianettis, Satank, Burry's, Airport, 3Mile, Veltus, and 7th Street.


NYMPHS: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

DRIES: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

STREAMERS: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

HINTS: Stay out as late as you can!

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 

A warming trend begins tomorrow for the entire next week, with midday temps hovering around the mid 40's.

Must Have Flies 
Taylor Creek-Basalt

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