Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


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December 5, 2016


FLOW: 116 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon) and dropping.

WATER CLARITY: Clear, green and fishable. This section is yielding the best wade fishing on the Fork right now.

OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 and gaining in strength with the cooler fall weather.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Eggs, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: We've changed our fishing reports slightly - for the better! We're now focusing on insect hatches, sizes and times of day to focus on and foregoing our "In Depth Review" which just reiterated our "Short and Sweet Review", now called the "Low Down". We realize that some of you really liked our old reports which told you which rock to stand on, which fly to tie on and where to cast BUT we also realize that the fish don't always listen to the guys behind the counter in the fly shop and Mother Nature does whatever she wants, when she wants. Fly-fishing is about discovery and trying to learn something new each and every time you're out there on the water. We hope that this new format will help enlighten anglers but not give away all the secrets, allowing people to set their own expectations and have the experience of a lifetime. As always, the best advice is to always stop in the fly shop and get the up-to-the-minute scoop.

Early fall conditions are here. Midday hatches of BWOs are dominating with surprising numbers of rising fish during late afternoons. Nymph fishers will be best off covering the soft water with BWO and attractor nymphs as well as midge emerger patterns as droppers. The streamer bite has been damn good, especially in mid-depth, moderate-speed water. Autumn Splendors, Weir's Sculpin, Carlton Banks and Peanuts in warmer, earthier tones can often rival the good nymph fishing. If you enjoy fishing for visuals like we do- this is a very tough time of year to beat. Crowds have tapered off, especially midweek.

HATCHES: Midges (7am-10am) sz 22-24, BWOs (12pm-4pm) sz 20-22, Terrestrials (midday)


DRIES: Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, Bills Midge Adult 20-22, Sparkledun BWO 20-22, CDC Wing Baetis 20-22, Flag Adams 16-20, No Hackle BWO 20-22, Black Fur Ant 18, Flying Ant 16-18

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

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

HINTS: Don't overlook the fishing on the headwaters of the Roaring Fork below Independence Pass (above Aspen). If you enjoy slingin' dry flies all day long and don't mind fishing to eager, small brook and cutthroat trout, this stretch of river is a true gem. As an added bonus, fishing pressure is nonexistant.


FLOW: 275 cfs in Basalt and dropping

WATER CONDITIONS: Green with lots of viz.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5 out of 10


THE LOW DOWN: It's go time!!! Like elsewhere on the Roaring Fork, the bigger flies of early summer are now being replaced by the more numerous BWOs and midges. In-stream construction for yet another kayak park has begun at Fisherman's Park (above the confluence of the Fryingpan) this past week. Floaters will want to put in below this point either at Two Rivers Road or Hooks Bridge. The best fishing has certainly been taking place midday into the evening hours. That said, streamer junkies should focus on mornings and evenings. In general, count on nymphing the vast majority of the time with short periods of dry fly fishing opportunities puntuctuated throughout the day. Its November, which means that the hopper fishing is fading quick but that the streamer, soft hackle and egg fishing has all been on the up-tick.

HATCHES: Midges (7am-11am, 5pm-6pm) sz 20-24, BWOs (12pm-4pm) sz 20-24, Terrestrials (midday)


NYMPHS: GC Tung Hares Ear 14-18, Soft Hackle Hares Ear 16-18, 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

DRIES: BWO Sparkledun 20-22, Para Quill BWO 18-20, Klink BWO 18-20, Bills Midge Adult 20-22, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24, Flying Ant Black 16-18, Black Fur Ant 18

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: 519 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 August are behind us! The "moss factor" is no longer much of an issue...GO FISH!

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Terrestrials, 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 (early/late) sz 20-24, BWOs (11am-4pm) sz 20-22, Terrestrials (midday)


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.

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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