ROARING FORK RIVER REPORT
July 29, 2014
UPPER ROARING FORK- ASPEN DOWNSTREAM TO BASALT
FLOW: 368 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: Bye, bye runoff. It's summer time 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, BWOs and midges. Stoneflies, PMD and green drake 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: Caddis, BWOs,Midges, Stoneflies, PMD and Drakes
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 PMD/Drake nymphs in the soft water. Essentially, fish the big bugs in the roily pockets and the small bugs in the slower sections.
DRIES: 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: Drakes will be on the scene up here before you know it! (mid July)
MIDDLE ROARING FORK- BASALT DOWNSTREAM TO CARBONDALE
FLOW: 669 cfs in Basalt
WATER CONDITIONS: Runoff is done. The volume of water is still fairly high though is dropping rapidly with good, clear flows.
OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 in general but again, the evening "lightning-round" or "power-hour" is an easy 9 out of 10 .
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes, Stoneflies, Caddis, Worms, PMDs
THE SHORT AND SWEET: The leading edge of the green drake hatch is Basalt! Party on! We are back in business on the Roaring Fork. The water is still high and just a tad swift, but visibility is perfect 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. Green Drake and 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, as green drakes are still a week or two away from this stretch.
NYMPHS: 20 Incher 12-14, USD Drake 12, BH Gilled Green Drake 12, 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.
LOWER ROARING FORK- CARBONDALE TO GLENWOOD
FLOW: 1,230 cfs in Glenwood Springs.
WATER CONDITIONS: Runoff is done! 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 with evening lightning rounds easily ranking at a 9.5 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: GREEN DRAKE ALERT!!! And don't forget about the piles of caddis hatching in the evening, the PMDs hatching midday and the random lingering stoneflies.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Pack up your fishing gear and get your butt out on the river! The green drake hatch starts and moves quickly upriver, thus if you want in on the action, do so NOW! Book your favorite float or wade guide as soon as possible as we're heavily booked this late in the game. 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, drakes etc), to holding more midriver and eating smaller flies (PMDs, caddis etc).
THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: If you're tired of runoff, your agonizing wait is over. We have been floating daily with much success. The river is still moving at a bit of a fast clip, but clarity is no longer an issue these days. 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.
Like the middle Roaring Fork, evening hatches of green drakes and 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.
For dry fly nuts, focus on the evening hours. From about 8:00pm up until 10pm, the abundance of rising fish is impressive to say the least. Early on in that time period, the fish are keying in on caddis. The biggest contributing factor to success here is to softly skate your flies towards the streambank. If you're not skating your fly, don't expect to hook many (if any) fish. Favorite patterns include old stand-by's like Elk Hairs, Goddards, Variants and Renegades. New school caddis patterns like P&E Caddis, Foam Caddis, Etha-Wings and X2 Caddis are equally productive. It's of more importance to skate your fly than it is to have the "right" fly. As Lil' Jon might say, skate, skate, skate those caddis dries.
As the sun begins to set below the mountains, large size 10 and 12 green drakes make their appearance. Unlike the caddis hatch, dead-drifted imitations are best during this scenario. Due to the lack of sunlight, hi-viz and impressionistic drake imitations such as Royal Wulffs, H&L Variants and BDE Drakes are favored as lead/point flies. More exact imitations such as TC Sparkleduns, Cripples and Film Critics are great dropper patterns to trail below.
Leading up to the drake and caddis hatch, anglers should be tossing subsurface imitations of these two insects. Favorites include: 20Inchers and Zug Bugs, Winged Drake Emergers, CDC Drake Emergers, Soft Hackle Peacocks, X2 Caddis and venerable Prince nymph.
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
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
Taylor Creek Flyshop | 183 Basalt Center Cir. | Basalt, CO 81621 | email@example.com | 970-927-4374| fax 970-927-3076
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.