The Roaring Fork has moved beyond the pre-runoff stage and is showing signs of true runoff. The water is dirty and visibility is 6” at best. You’ll find a little better clarity/visibility above Basalt, but not much. With more warm weather in the forecast, we don’t expect conditions to improve anytime soon. Persistent and patient anglers will still put trout in the net but until conditions improve, we recommend finding a different river to fish such as the Frying Pan or another tailwater. If you’re dead set on fishing the Fork, focus on the outer edges of the river with a heavy nymph rig or streamer. Large and messy patterns that contrast the water and flashy nymphs are needed to get the trout’s attention. Think Pat’s Rubber Legs, red Copper Johns, BH Pheasant Tails, Electric Caddis, Rainbow Warriors, Perdigons, purple Zebra Midges, Darth Baetis and Sparkle Pupas. Until flows drop and water clarity improves, we will postpone weekly report updates.
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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.