Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


July 20, 2015

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FLOW: 605 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon)

WATER CLARITY: Clarity is ideal but flows are still on the higher side. Fish the soft water and you'll do plenty of damage out there.

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Our guides have been venturing out on the upper river more with each passing day, and the fishing is improving, yet still on the challenging side. Exercise caution while moving around on the river, and don't get in unless you find a soft section with some visibility. The green drake train stops up here next!

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drake nymphs, Caddis, PMDs, Stoneflies, Worms, BWOs

IN DEPTH REVIEW: It's getting better each and every day along the upper river with hatches resuming as the water levels continue to drop. Caddis are the main hatch (for now), with lighter numbers of PMDs and a few stoneflies. By the end of the month we will see Green Drakes come to fruition along with heavier numbers of PMDs as the BWOs begin to fade away. Dry fly junkies are doing well fishing dry/dropper goodies midday, with the heaviest hatches (caddis) occuring during the last hour of light. Don't forget to skate, skitter and bump around your caddis dries for the best success.

Nymphing has been producing the most fish out there on a day to day basis. The number one rule up here right now is to focus on fishing the soft pockets of water AND to cover water. One of the benefits of fishing during the backend of runoff and in higher water flows is that you can eliminate 99% of the water/river. That remaining 1% of river is just loaded and stacked with fish making "reading the water" very easy. Remember, where you catch one fish - there's probably another 12 in that same pool. Stoneflies and drake nymphs are fishing well as lead/point flies with smaller PMD and BWO patterns as dropper/trailing flies.


DRIES: Stimulators (olive) 12-14, Stimulators (yellow) 14-18, Yellow Humphy 16-18, Elk Hair Caddis (brown), Film Critic PMD 16, Improved Sparkle Dun PMD 16-18, Melon Quill 16-18, Flag Dun Emerger PMD 16-18, H&L Variant 12-14

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone (ginger) 6-10, Spanflex Stone (brown) 10-12, 20Incher 12-14, BH Gilled Drake 12-14, Hunchback PMD 16, Tungsten Split Case PMD 16-18, Halfback PMD 16-18, Prince 8-10 and 14-16, Red Copper John 16-18, BLM (black) 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Foam Wing RS2 (black) 20-22

STREAMERS: Slumpbuster 6-10, Splendors 6-10, Baby Gonga 8

HINTS: Start tying up your drakes, pmd's, and caddis! Feel free to give us a call for up-to-minute river conditions 970.927.4374


FLOW: 1,000 cfs in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Good clarity but still a bit on the high side for a better rating.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 with evening "lightning rounds" ranking at an 10 out of 10 (drakes are going strong from Bonedale all the way to Basalt now...)

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes!!!!, Caddis, Stoneflies, PMDs, BWOs

THE SHORT AND SWEET: We're whacking 'em during the green drake lightening round around Basalt now, and the caddis dry fly fishing mid-day has been rock solid.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: River flows are still on the big side, but we'll take all the water we can get. The green drake wave is now between Carbondale and Basalt. Caddis are going strong all day now, with drakes beginning to appear right around dusk. Take plenty of dry shake and your head lamp to take advantage of this amazing fishing. This is one of the main reasons we all live here!

Floaters - Please be aware of a fallen tree on the river left channel in Rock Bottom Ranch making it impassable, a mile below the tree nursery. Landmarks to look for would include an adobe house on river right BEFORE coming into the channel split, and an osprey nest on the powerline BELOW the split. You will think that the river left channel is the way to go but BE SURE to take the river right channel.


NYMPHS: Same as upper Fork but add in the following: Winged Drake Emerger 12, CDC Drake Emerger 12-14, Zug Bug 12-14, TC USD Drake 8 (12), Split Case Drake 12

DRIES: Same as upper Fork but add in the following: H and L Variant 10-12, Royal PMX 8-12, Royal Wulff 10-12, Poxyback Cripple Drake 12, Jake's Drake 12, Parachute Hares Ear 12-14

STREAMERS: Articulated Goldie 6, Bonefish Clouser 8, Slumpbuster 6-10, Baby Gonga 8

HINTS: Don't forget your headlamp and plenty of floatant for the "power-hour"!


FLOW: 1690 cfs in Glenwood Springs

WATER CONDITIONS: Good clarity but still currently a little bit on the high side for a higher rating. Be aware of limited space at Westbank take out, there is only room for a few boats in a queue below the ramp. There are reports of many people with less experience on the Fork zooming right by the take out, especially if you are floating until dark..

OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Drakes (starting to fade out, the wave is between Carbondale and Basalt now) PMDs, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, BWOs

THE SHORT AND SWEET: It's on!!! The float fishing has resumed too in a very BIG way. If you have the opportunity to float - definately do so! Nymph the soft n' slow with shallow and moderately heavy two-fly nymph rigs.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: Don't fret. The river has dropped and cleared significantly over the past two weeks and we are RIGHT on schedule with our reknowned green drake hatch. Overcast days are yielding decent midday hatches of yellow sallies PMDs with "lightning rounds" producing very good numbers of caddis. It's most definately GO TIME!

As far as fly patterns and techniques go for NOW, we're covering the soft water quickly using short, heavy two fly nymph rigs fished on 3x. Don't go smaller on your tippet unless absolutely necessary (dries on flat water for example). Best flies have been the worm, Cat Poop stones, big princes, drake nymphs and brightly colored (lime/green) caddis larva.

All of this will change in the next 2-4weeks as the fish shift focus to the more numerous and smaller PMDs, sallies and caddis as the green drakes continue to march further up the Roaring Fork.


NYMPHS: 20Inchers, Poxyback Drakes, Split Case Drakes, Winged Drake Emerger, CDC Drake Emerger, Tungsten Redemption PMD, Hunchback PMD, Princes, PTs, Red CJs, Guides Hares Ear, Peacock Soft Hackle, Cat Poop Stones, Golden Poxybiot Stone,

DRIES: Royal Wulff, H&L Variant, TC Sparkledun Drake, BDE Drake, Yellow Humpy, P&E Caddis, Olive Stimi's, Film Critic PMD, Imp.Sparkledun PMD, PMD Cripple, Fat Albert, Tarantulas

STREAMERS: Baby Gonga, Slump Buster, Autumn Splendor, Zuddlers

HINTS: Give it another week or so for more ideal conditions.

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 

In the coming 2weeks our fishing will literally EXPLODE, with the best fishing of the entire year. Start tying up your green drakes!

Must Have Flies 
Vernille San Juan Worm Red 10 Buy from
Prince Nymph 8-12 Buy from
TH 20 Incher 10-14 Buy from
Bead Head Rubber-Legged Orvis CJ 4-8 Buy from
Taylor Creek-Basalt

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