Roaring Fork River

Weekly Overview:

January 14, 2021: 

  • Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced

  • Mild afternoon temps have led to productive fishing but the mornings remain slow due to temperatures below 20 degrees and ice/slush runoff. If you can avoid hitting the river until noon, you should have some luck targeting deep and slow pools, runs and pockets with a heavy nymph rig. Due to cold water temps, these trout are sluggish and focused on conservation. Trout will hug the deepest water column and won’t move far for your flies, so focus on getting your flies down deep and cover every inch of the pool until you hit them on the nose. Larger attractors are getting their attention when the barometric pressure is in flux, so make sure to have some Frenchies, Rainbow Warriors, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails on hand. Those patterns are particularly productive in the lead position when trailed by small midge offerings. Some of our go-to midge patterns right now are Miracle Midges, Bling Midges, Mercury Midges, Mercury Black Beauties, Chocolate Foam Wing Emergers, Jujubee Midges and WD-40’s.

    • Ideal Days to Fish: 1/13, 1/14 & 1/16

  • Suggested Flies:

    • Sub-surface: Mercury Midge (#20-24), Bling Midge (#22-24), Miracle Midge (#22-24), Black Beauty (#20-24), Zebra Midge (#20-24), Blood Midge (#20-22), Disco Midge (#20-24), Top Secret Midge (#20-24), Manhattan Midge (#20-24), RS2 (#20-22), Barr's Emerger (#20-22), Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger (#20-22), JuJu Baetis (#20-22), Mercury Pheasant Tail (#18-20), WD 40 (#20-22), Buckskin Caddis (#18), Guides Choice Hares Ear (#16-18), red Copper John (#18-20), Frenchie (#18-20), Rainbow Warrior (#16-20), Pat's Rubber Legs, Mini Leech, and San Juan Worm.

    • Surface: Parachute Adams (#24), Griffiths Gnat (#22 - 24)

      • Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All ​to package a dozen flies that are hot on the Roaring Fork right now - Click here for hand selected flies

Detailed River Info:


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. 


River Access:

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. 

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