Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


August 25, 2014

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FLOW: 221 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon)

WATER CLARITY: Clear and green with plenty of visibility! Fish the soft water and you'll do some damage. Don't be scared, GO FISH!

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10 though some local anglers would argue that it's rating at least an 8 out of 10. If you know the river well and enjoy pocket water fishing, this upper section of river is right up your alley.

THE SHORT AND SWEET: It's summertime and the fishing and water conditions are much, much improved now. In general, look for the fish to be stacked up in the softer water eating general attractor patterns. Hatches are consisting of predominately caddis, PMDs, BWOs and midges. Stoneflies, PMD and BWO nymphs are also fishing well. And of course, don't count out the San Juan Worm either. Look for the fishing to go from 0-100 in no time flat! Right now it feels like the calm before the storm, where the locals and fish-bums are taking advantage of the conditions before the crowds of summer roll in in the coming weeks. Fish the softer pockets and seams and you'll get em!

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: PMDs, Caddis, BWOs, Midges, Stoneflies, PMD and BWO nymphs

IN DEPTH REVIEW: Hatches are anywhere from sporadic to good, and vary wildly with the weather. As we often preach at this time of year, success will come to you if you fish the softer sections of water instead of standing in them. In a nutshell, it's more presentation oriented than fly oriented out there right now. As the river continues to drop and warm, hatches will become more prevelant and the fishing will only continue to improve.

Look for nymphing to account for the majority of fish being caught. Like elsewhere on the Roaring Fork, it's all about stoneflies and caddis in the fast water and BWOs, midges, and PMDs in the soft water. Essentially, fish the big bugs in the roily pockets and the small bugs in the slower sections.


DRIES: Sparkle Stacker PMD 16-18, AK's Melon Quill 16-18, Renegades 14-16, P&E Caddis 14-16, Variant Caddis 14-16, BWO Sparkledun 20-22, BWO No Hackle 20-22, Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, Bills Midge 22, Bills Midge Emerger 22, Stimi's 12-14, Sqwalla Stone 12-14

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 10-12, Twenty Incher 12-14, Prince 16-18, Tungsten Split Case BWO 20, Night Rider Midge 22, Bling Midge 20, Chocolate Thunder 20-22, BTS Baetis 20, Tungsten Hoovers 20-22, RS2s 20-22, Biot Midge Emerger 20-22, Day Walkers 20, Cali Rolls 20, Soft Hackle Peacocks 16, Iron Sally 16-18, Military Mayflies 18, Spilt Case PMD

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

HINTS: Cover all the water you can!!


FLOW: 537 cfs in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: The volume of water is still fairly high though is dropping rapidly with good, clear flows. The lower Fryingpan has been experiencing heavy rain showers, and the Fryingpan over the last few days had added quite a bit of color into the Roaring Fork below the confluence. Give us a jingle (970 927 4374) and we will lean out the window and tell you what it looks like.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Stoneflies, Caddis, PMDs

THE SHORT AND SWEET: We are back in business on the Roaring Fork. The water is still high and just a tad swift, but visibility is perfect (when the lower Fryingpan isn't adding a bit of mud) and the levels are dropping daily. All of the fish are still on the edges and side channels, and where you find one, you'll find many right now.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: The Roaring Fork significantly widens below Basalt, making the river seem less roaring than it is upstream. Numerous side channels are concentrating the fish, as are any pieces of soft water along the edges and near seams. Go ahead, don't be scared...GO FISH! It's been that good. The Roaring Fork is in the declining stages of runoff as our guides are back in their drift boats and catching plenty of fish. The hatches have been light during the day, but the nymphing has been rock-solid. PMD nymphs, San Juan Worms, cranefly larvae, stoneflies and various caddis and PMD nymphs are all on the menu. With such a plethora of insects around, we generally dumb it down and fish the larger insects in the faster sections of water, and the smaller flies in the softer sections of water.

Dry fly fishing has been on the light side early and mid-day, but the fish are all seemingly looking up as the early evening progresses into nightfall. Caddis are main hatch through here right now, especially when females return to the water to lay eggs in the twilight.


NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 8-12, Lawson's Caddis Emerger 16, Deep Sparkle Pupa 14-16, Deep 6 Caddis 16-18, Tung Rainbow Warrior 18-20, Prince nymph 14-18, BLM 18-20, STD 18-20, Split Case PMD 16-18, Military Mayfly PMD 18, Tung Stud PMD 16, BH P-Tails 16-18

DRIES: X2 Caddis 14-16, Variant Caddis 14-16, Renegades 14-16, P&E Caddis 14-18, Putterbaugh Caddis 16, Stimi's 12-16, PMD Flag Dun 16-18, TC Sparkledun PMD 16-18, Film Critic PMD 16, PMX Royal 12-16, Ants 16-18

STREAMERS: Stingin' Sculpins 8, Ziwi's 8, Slumpies 6, Bow River Bugger White 6

HINTS: Move around! You can't camp out in a specific pool all day and expect to do well. The Roaring Fork is not the Fryingpan.


FLOW: 981 cfs in Glenwood Springs.

WATER CONDITIONS: The Crystal can muddy up this lower section of the Fork, but it too is dropping and clearing significantly. Clarity is vastly improved since last week, despite the high volume of water.

OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 Conditions are ideal but are still amazingly improving daily as the water continues to drop and the fish become more concentrated.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: There are plenty of caddis, BWOs, PMDs, golden stones and big sedges moving around these days.

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Pack up your fishing gear and get your butt out on the river! Like the other sections of water along the Roaring Fork, nymph the fast water with larger flies and the soft water with smaller flies. As the water continues to fall, look for the fish to make the transition from holding along the edges eating big flies (stoneflies, sedges, etc) to holding more midriver and eating smaller flies (PMDs, caddis etc).

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: We have been floating the lower Roaring Fork daily with much success. The river is still moving at a bit of a fast clip, and heavy rains up on McLure Pass can add in quite a bit of color below the Crystal River confluence. As mentioned above, runoff tends to leave a few booby-traps in the river in the form of strainers and wads of sticks stuffed between the rocks, so take a few extra of your favorite flies as well as tippet and leader along.

Guides are running plenty of beaded baetis nymphs on subsurface rigs, and the worm has fished well lately when the Crystal is pumping a bit of mud into the river. Hatches vary right now in accordance with the weather.

Like the middle Roaring Fork, caddis are keeping the fish above and beyond well fed. Some of the better sections of river frontage include Satank, Burry, 3Mile, Sunlight and Veltus. Of course, we welcome you to swing by the shop and we can happily go over a river access map with you to direct you to these areas.

Adujusting your strike indicator placement and the amount of weight being fished is still of more importance than having that supposed "magical" fly. Cover water and you'll keep your rod bent frequently.

APPROPRIATE PATTERNS: The same bugs apply as the middle Roaring Fork, with larger concentrations of BWOs being seen down low on the Fork.

NYMPHS: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

DRIES: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

STREAMERS: Same as the middle Roaring Fork

HINTS: Stop thinking about it already and pack your bags! Trust us, going fishing is a lot more fun than just reading about it!

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 

Clearing and flows are dropping rapidly. Float trips are definitely back on the menu. The weather is looking sublime, but bring a rain coat for the usual afternoon shower.

Must Have Flies 
Taylor Creek-Basalt

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