Roaring Fork River

Tip of the week 


November 23, 2015

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FLOW: 148 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon)

WATER CLARITY: Clarity is gin-clear, perfect conditions!

OVERALL RATING: 8.5 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: If summer crowds bum you out, now is your time. Hatches are primarily BWOs and midges.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, midges, huevos

IN DEPTH REVIEW: It's our favorite time of year, crowds are thinning out, leaves are changing, and the streamer bite is intensifying. The Fork is low and clear finally, after a big water summer. The fishing around and above Aspen is very good, with nymphing techniques and streamers putting most fish in the basket.

Tiny and shiny is the name of the game, bring along various bright baetis (BWO) nymphs, some small stones, Princes, and the like. Streamers are best fished on the small side (no need for articulated, long streamers) down and across good looking water. Vary your retrieve until the fish start reacting favorably.


DRIES: General Attractor Dries 16-18 (Stimi's, Humpys) Sparkledun BWO 20-22, Bill's Midge Emerger 20-22, Collett's Para BWO 20-22, Griffiths Gnat 20-22

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone (ginger) 6-10, Barr's BWO Emerger 20-22, Pandemic BWO 20-22, TC Red Midge Larva 20-22, BLM 18-20

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

HINTS: Start low and work your way up-Valley through the course of the day.


FLOW: 384 cfs in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Great visibility, low and clear water awaits you.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10


THE SHORT AND SWEET: The middle section is popping right now, primarily on the nymphing side of the game. Streamers are becoming more and more effective every day as temperatures drop and the days get shorter.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: River conditions are spectacular after a challenging high water summer. Many a guide has been speculating on how special this fall will be on this mighty freestone river. There's not a ton of bugs on the surface, but the trout have the feedbag on, looking for various nymphs and other delights. There are a few returning caddis late in the afternoon to lay eggs.

Many of the fish we are encountering are posted up in shallow riffles. Streamers are getting better every day, we aren't far off from those magical days of chases on every drift! (Especially out of a boat) Like mentioned above on the upper river, play around with colors and retrieves until the fish start reacting.

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: STD Baetis 20-22, BLM 18-22, Glass Bead Baetis 20-22, Chironoflash Midge 20-22, Zebra Midge 18-20
DRIES: Stimulator 18-20, Humpy 16-18, CDC Comparadun BWO 18-22, Sprout Midge 22-24
STREAMERS: Articulated Goldie 6, Bonefish Clouser 8, Slumpbuster 6-10, Baby Gonga 8

HINTS: Drop what you're doing and get out on the Fork! Best fishing in the Valley right now.


FLOW: 667 cfs in Glenwood Springs

WATER CONDITIONS: Good clarity, low and clear

OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, midges, juvenile trout

THE SHORT AND SWEET: The lower Fork is very popular right now, and not very cvrowded at all. Floats, wades, it's all on the menu.

THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: Despite the high water summer we all experienced, the lower Roaring Fork is fishing incredibly well these days! The fish don't have to work so hard now, and many fish in the basket have bulging bellies from the plethora of food sources available. Streamers are turning on in a big way on the lower river when skies are cloudy or late in the afternoon. The early morning bite is a bit slow with the plunging overnight temperatures. If fishing large, articulated streamers, please be kind to the fish (and your skin) and pinch those barbs down firmly. We even recommend cutting off one hook if your fly has doubles. These big streamers are vastly popular with anglers, but damaged fish are the ultimate outcome.

Floaters- the river is prime, but quite low comapared to your summer jaunts. Know your lines, keep your head on a swivel, and exercise caution while having a good time on the water!


NYMPHS: Sunken Spinner 16-18, Prince Nymph 16-18, San Juan Worm 10, BLM 18-20, Juju Baetis 18-22, BTS Baetis 20-22, Disco Midge 22-24, Zebra Midge 18-20

DRIES: (Not much dry fly activity, you might see some BWOs mid day and caddis late into the evening) Foamemerger BWO 20-22, Para Adams 18-22, Ethawing Caddis 16-18, Rusty Spinner 16-18

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

HINTS: Give those fish a break and be sure your streamer barbs are mashed!

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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