Roaring Fork flows continue to trend down as we move beyond peak runoff. With flows fluctuating between 1,500 and 1,900 cfs, trout are still hugging the outer sections of the river where the current is slower and water clarity is best. Majority of trout feeding is sub-surface but we are seeing decent surface activity when the conditions are right. If trout are rising during a midge, PMD, Green Drake or caddis hatch, tie on a dry fly. Parachute Adams, Parachute PMDs, Green Drakes and Elk Hair Caddis are all good patterns to have on hand for these hatches. If surface activity is sporadic, a hopper dropper is a good way to go. Chubby’s, Amy’s Ants, Hippy Stompers and PMXs are all buoyant patterns that can hold one or two nymphs with a small split shot. Big and flashy is still the name of the game when nymphing. Stoneflies, caddis larva and flashy searcher patterns will get the trout’s attention in the lead position. Flashy baetis emergers (Darth Baetis & Sparkle Wing RS2s), caddis pupa and Rainbow Warriors are productive trailer options. Streamers are a great option during the morning but tend to fizzle out after 11 am.
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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.