Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 
Techniques 

ROARING FORK RIVER REPORT

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January 23, 2016

UPPER ROARING FORK- ASPEN DOWNSTREAM TO BASALT

FLOW: 320 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon) and dropping.

WATER CLARITY: Clear and fishable. This section is icing up a bit, but still fishable for another week or two. Head down valley to find better conditions if you're finding too much ice.

OVERALL RATING: 3 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Eggs, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: Early winter conditions, please exercise caution with the changing weather and icy banks. Warm days can cause ice dams to break loose, be sure to look upstream often in case there is a wad of ice headed your way. This goes for the entirety of this river, all the way down to Glenwood.

Nymphing is the name of the game, but if you see any risers, tie on your favorite midge dry. Eggs down deep followed by Prince nymphs, various BWO nymphs, winter stonefly nymphs and midge larva should be productive. Treat the upper Fork like the Fryingpan in winter, as in light tippets and small bugs for the most part.

HATCHES: Midges sz 22-24

APPROPRIATE PATTERNS:

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, Red Copper John 18, GC Tung Hares Ear 16-18, Hares Ear Soft Hackle 16, 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.

MIDDLE ROARING FORK- BASALT DOWNSTREAM TO CARBONDALE

FLOW: 155 cfs in Basalt and dropping

WATER CONDITIONS: Green with lots of viz.

OVERALL RATING: 5 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Eggs, Winter Stones

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. As mentioned above, ice dams can wreak havoc on warm days, so keep an eye upstream at all times.

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.

HATCHES: Midges sz 22-24

APPROPIATE PATTERNS

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

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.

LOWER ROARING FORK- CARBONDALE TO GLENWOOD

FLOW: 71 cfs in Glenwood Springs

WATER CONDITIONS: Fishing has really picked up over the past week! Great flows and clarity with much improved fishing in the cooler weather. The dog days of November are behind us! The "moss factor" is no longer an issue...GO FISH!

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Eggs

THE LOW DOWN: We're wading the river daily with float trips taking place mainly on the lower river now. Get ready for some hot fish with the cooler winter temps! The nymph fishing has been superb in the morning and afternoon hours. Overcast days can sometimes offer-up midday BWO hatches. If you find yourself struggling down here, downsize those flies. The main event is now BWOs in sizes 18-22. "Tiny and shiny " is your general rule of thumb down here when nymphing. Sporadic rising fish are being taken on ants and hoppers on midday banks, BWOs and midges during afternoons off-the-banks. The streamer fishing has most definitely picked up during the early am hours as well as during periods of overcast and low light.

HATCHES: Midges 20-22

APPROPRIATE PATTERNS:

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 6-10, Prince Nymph 14-18, Soft Hackle Hares Ear 16, SJ Worms 10, Prince 14-18, Tung PT 16-20, 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,

DRIES: Tarantulas 8-12, Chubby Chernobyl Tan 6-8, Flying Ant Black 16-18, Para Quill BWO 18-20, Klink BWO 18-20, Sparkledun BWO 20-22

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.

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.

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