Roaring Fork flows are holding relatively steady and water clarity in intact. Water temps are consistently exceeding 67 degrees after 2 pm, so aglers will want to prioritize the morning and early afternoon hours to avoid putting extra stress on these trout. On the plus side, these periods have been highly productive due to cooler water temps and healthy bug activity. Dry fly action has been good between 6 am and noon with midge, BWO, PMD, caddis and stonefly hatches. Single and double dry fly setups are getting the job done when trout are actively rising. If trout are sipping or feeding just below the surface, trail an emerger/pupa 12 – 16 inches behind your dry. Aside from those hatches, hoppers are also a viable option. We also pulled several trout from the bank with streamers last weekend, so don’t rule those out prior to 11 am. As water temps rise, trout will move away from the banks and hold in deep pools, runs, riffles and pockets. Hit these sections with a nymph rig. Lead with a larger stonefly, caddis or searcher pattern and trail a baetis emerger or caddis pupa. If trout aren’t responding, Rainbow Warriors, Perdigons and Frenchies are good alternate trailers.
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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.