Flows dropped by roughly 900 cfs since last Thursday, improving water color and clarity. We recently read a couple reports from the Roaring Fork Conservancy and they believe that peak runoff hit last week. If that’s the case, we should see flows hold relatively steady or gradually decrease as the remaining snowpack melts in the high country. With that said, we are still observing daily fluctuations. Flows will be at their highest point during the morning but gradually decrease through the early afternoon. So, if you’re looking for the best water clarity, we recommend hitting the river around 10 am and fishing until 3 pm. Golden Stoneflies, caddis, BWOs, PMDs and midges are all present right now, so don’t overthink your fly selection. When nymphing, lead with a larger attractor like a Barr’s Tungstone, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear or Electric Caddis. Flashy pupa or emerger patterns will work well for your trailer. Focus on the outer edges of the river where the water clarity is higher and currents are slower. Soft outer seams, slack water, pockets and banks are all holding trout right now. Our daily FlyCasts are currently disabled but will return once trout are able to spread out a bit more.
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The Roaring Fork is a gold medal freestone river that originates in the Hunter-Fryingpan wilderness, just south of Aspen. The Roaring Fork flows north through the town of Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood springs where it meets the Colorado River. As it makes its way through the Roaring Fork Valley, the river increases in size from a small pocket water stream to a wide river. The upper section of the river near Aspen is home to cutthroats, brown trout and rainbow trout. Downstream, the river is populated with healthy rainbows, browns and whitefish.
The Roaring Fork has something to offer every angler. Anglers looking for small stream fishing and easy access will gravitate towards the stretch between Aspen and Basalt. From Basalt to Glenwood Springs, the river offers great wade fishing year-round and float fishing from late spring through the fall. The most popular stretch for float fishing is Carbondale to Glenwood Springs, which is ideal because wading access is limited by private property. The Roaring Fork experiences a vast number of hatches throughout the year consisting of midges, BWOs, PMDs, green drakes, caddis, golden stoneflies, yellow sallys and terrestrials. While these trout are generally less selective like most freestone trout, high water clarity throughout most of the year can make fishing more technical. Nymphing and streamer fishing is the most consistent tactic but if you time it right, you’ll experience fantastic dry fly fishing during one of the many hatches.
Depending upon the stretch you wish to fish, accessibility varies. Between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, access is limited due to a large amount of private property, but there are a number of SWA and public access points for anglers to utilize. Above Carbondale, anglers will find more access points. The Roaring Fork River parallels highway 82 from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. So, if you’re looking to explore the river, drive south along highway 82 towards Aspen and keep an eye out for pull-offs and marked access points. Refer to the map below for some of our favorite access points.