JULY ROARING FORK RIVER FISHING REPORT

The Roaring Fork River’s diverse 70 miles must be broken down into several sections, each with its own unique characteristics.

 

THE HEADWATERS

RATING:8/10

CURRENT REPORT 

The Roaring Fork above the town of Aspen is fishing well right now as these opportunistic fish are trying to fatten up before a long, cold winter.  The fish are opportunistic here and will take most attractor patterns on the surface…

DESCRIPTION

The headwaters of the Roaring Fork River start well above 12,000 feet and flow northwest from Independence Pass to the town of Aspen.  Although this section looks like a high alpine creek more than it does a river, it offers outstanding fishing opportunities for wild brook trout, as well as stocked rainbows.  From McFarlane Creek downstream through the town of Aspen to the upper Woody Creek Bridge is one of the oldest wild trout waters in the state.  Rainbows, the predominant species of fish here, have not been stocked in decades.  These beautiful, heavily spotted fish are not extremely large, but they are numerous.  For their protection, this stretch of water is restricted to the use of artificial flies only, and all fish caught must be immediately returned to the water.

PATTERNS

DRIES: Caddis Patterns #14-16, Stimulators (orange and royal) 14-16, Royal Trude and Coachman #14-16, Parachute Adams #14-18.

NYMPHS: Pheasant tails #14-18, Prince Nymphs #14-16, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear’s #14-16.

THE UPPER FORK

RATING:8/10 if you know what you are doing! 

CURRENT REPORT

River levels and water clarity are perfect right now.  Blue wing olives, caddis, pale morning duns and midges are hatching sporadically all day.   The best dry fly fishing is early and late in the day on the edges of the river.  Nymphing has been best mid-day.  And don’t forget to bring a box of streamers.  I like covering a lot of water when streamer fishing this stretch of river so be wary of other anglers.  Wading downstream and quartering your casts against the banks and pocket water can be highly effective through the months of October and November, especially on overcast and crappy days.

DESCRIPTION

Although the stretch of water from the upper Woody Creek Bridge downstream to Basalt, falls less than the river’s upper portions, it still flows quickly.  This water is characterized by nice pocket water and long riffles, punctuated by an occasional pool and run.  This water hosts a multitude of insects, with caddis and mayflies the most prolific.  When other parts of the Roaring Fork are too warm for great insect hatches, this area still maintains strong dry fly fishing opportunities.  This section of the river remains fishable most of the year and, even during spring runoff, can be clear enough to offer superb fishing.  Although much of this stretch receives little winter sun, large pools and runs that aren’t iced over provide outstanding winter fishing.

PATTERNS

DRIES: Caddis 14-16, Orange Variant Caddis 14-16, BWO Sparkledun 18-20, BWO No Hackle 20-22, Paradrakes: #12, H & L Variant #12, Orange Stimulator’s #14-16.

NYMPHS: Pat’s Rubberleg 10-12, Twenty Incher 12-14, Prince 16-18, Tungsten Split Case BWO 18-20, 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

THE MIDDLE FORK

RATING: 8/10

CURRENT REPORT

The middle Roaring Fork is fishing great right now.  Insect hatches are thick and the water levels/temps are perfect!  Caddis, BWO’s, Midges and Craneflies are the predominant bugs right now and are hatching sporadically all day as well as terrestrials such as hoppers, beetles and ants.  Most of the fish are holding mid-river or in the deeper (outside) banks with structure.  Except during the warmest part of the day. concentrate on the slower water and the tailouts of riffles.     The browns are pairing up and extra territiorial right now so bring your streamer box!

DESCRIPTION

The water from Basalt to Carbondale is known as the middle Roaring Fork.  This section of water runs more slowly than the river’s upper stretches and offers larger runs and pools a bunch of braids, and some perfect riffles.  While offering less public access than the upper river, it still is a popular stretch of river for fly fishermen.  Due to the addition of the dam-released Fryingpan River in Basalt, this water gains in volume and adds a good dose of much needed cold water during the hot summer months, and warm water during the winter months, keeping the river ice-free longer than other parts of the river.  Popular with float fishermen in the early season, usually by late July it becomes a bit too boney to float, though guides sneak down all summer.  Brown trout and mountain whitefish are more abundant in this middle section.

PATTERNS

DRIES: Caddis 14-16, Orange Variant Caddis 14-16, BWO Sparkledun 18-20, BWO No Hackle 20-22, PMD’s 14-16, Midges 18-20, Cranefles 14-16.

NYMPHS:  Pat’s Rubberleg 10-12, Twenty Incher 12-14, Prince 16-18, Tungsten Split Case BWO 18-20, 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, Buckskin Caddis 14-18. 

THE LOWER FORK

RATING: 9/10

CURRENT REPORT

There couldn’t be a better time to fish the lower Roaring Fork River then now.  The rivers is at a perfect level, the water is cold and clear and the hatches are thick.  Expect to see caddis hatching sporadically all day and thick at night.  Skating these patterns on the surface can be deadly during this time of the year.  Pale Morning Duns and Little Yellow Sallies are also hatching during the middle of the day, as are Blue Wing Olives when weather rolls in.  A few Green Drakes are still hatching during the evenings near Carbondale, but the bulk of the hatch has already moved upstream.  Early morning streamer fishing can be deadly as well. 

I highly suggest floating this stretch with a well-seasoned guide right now.  

DESCRIPTION

The stretch of water between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs is known as the lower Roaring Fork.  Its last major tributary, the Crystal River, enters just below the town of Carbondale.  From here, downstream to the confluence with the Colorado River, the state has designated this 14-mile stretch as Gold Medal Water.  The water falls very little compared to its upper stretches, resulting in a classic meandering western river.  Conducive to drift boats, this relatively tame float is the most popular stretch for the floating fisherman.  Hatches start in this part of the river sooner, but they usually don’t last as long.  The largest fish in the entire Roaring Fork River live in this stretch of water, and several fish in the 5-8 pound range are landed each year.

PATTERNS

DRIES: Caddis 14-16, Orange Variant Caddis 14-16, BWO Sparkledun 18-20, BWO No Hackle 20-22, Paradrakes: #12, H & L Variant #12, Orange Stimulator’s #14-16, royal wulffs #16-18, Little Yellow Sally #14-16.

NYMPHS: Pat’s Rubberleg 10-12, Twenty Incher 12-14, Prince 16-18, Tungsten Split Case BWO 18-20, 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