Roaring Fork flows currently sit in the mid 600 cfs range thanks to consistent precipitation in the area. This is a comfortable flow for both wade and float anglers. Trout are well spread out but have favored soft water sections due to cool air and water temps. The banks are holding trout during the morning and on overcast days but as the day progresses, trout will migrate to pronounced pools, runs, pockets and outer seams/shelves. Dry droppers and streamers are ideal when targeting trout along the bank. Griffiths Gnats, Cluster Midges, Parachute Adams, Parachute BWOs, Elk Hair Caddis and stimulators are good dry flies to have on hand. Terrestrial activity came to an end this week but hopper patterns will still come in handy when fishing heavy nymphs or split shot. In the afternoon, trout will do most of their feeding sub-surface unless provoked by a strong BWO or caddis hatch. Classic searcher/attractor patterns such as Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ears, red Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs, Pheasant Tails, Rainbow Warriors and Frenchies are productive lead patterns when trailed with a Mercury Black Beauty, Zebra Midge, Mercury Midge, RS2, Mercury Baetis, Darth Baetis, Barr’s Emerger or Graphic Cadddis.
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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.