Although flows currently sit below the historical average, fishing on the Roaring Fork has been productive due to cool water temps and consistent bug activity. Roaring Fork flows gradually dropped this week and currently sit in the mid 500 cfs range, which is a comfortable level for wade and float (raft) anglers. Trout are spreading out as the day progresses and water temperatures change. Due to cooler morning temps, trout are favoring soft water sections (banks, outer seams, pools and slow runs). After 11 am, switch your focus to faster moving water where dissolved oxygen and emerging bugs are more abundant. Think riffles, transitions, pockets and runs. Accounting for changes in depth and velocity is key when transitioning to new water, so be sure to adjust your split shot and indicator placement when nymphing. If you’re fishing a hopper dropper, consider adding a split shot above your dropper or leading with a tungsten bead nymph. Dry fly and streamer action has been consistent during low light hours. Afternoon surface feeding has been hit or miss but with overcast skies and light rain in the forecast, we should see more consistent surface action during the early afternoon BWO hatch. Aside from BWOs, opportunistic trout are still looking to feed on hoppers along the banks. Top dry fly patterns include Griffiths Gnat’s, Parachute Adams, Sparkle Duns, Chubby Chernobyls and Morrish Hoppers. Mercury Midges, purple Zebra Midges, Darth Baetis, Sparkle Wing RS2s, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ears, red Copper Johns, Pat’s Rubber Legs and Squirmy Worms are productive sub-surface patterns.
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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.