Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Roaring Fork River In
The Roaring Fork is a fast flowing, high gradient
freestone stream that begins in the snow packed ski
country and high alpine lakes near Independence Pass.
It is a tributary of the Colorado River. It joins the
Colorado, along with the water from the Frying Pan
River at Glenwood Springs. This river is about seventy
miles long. Twelve miles of it is classified by the state of
Colorado as "Gold Metal" water. Fly fishing the Roaring
Fork River can be challenging but also very productive.
Its headwaters have tributary streams with populations
of brook trout. The main river has both brown and
rainbow trout. The fish are smaller in the upper waters
above Aspen but they are plentiful and fairly easy to
catch. The White River National Forest provides plenty
of public access in the upper part of the river.
McFarlane Creek is a tributary entering the Roaring
Fork above Aspen that is also worth fishing.
From Aspen to Carbondale, what is referred to as the
middle river, is the most popular destination for anglers.
It is still a relatively small stream that can be waded most
places. The stream can be accessed at several points
along the way off highway #82 that runs nearby for
almost the entire length of the river.
At the town of Basalt, the Frying Pan River adds its
water and the stream becomes much more fertile. It can
still be waded in places especially during low water.
Aquatic insect hatches become more diverse and
The lower section of the Roaring Fork from the
confluence of the Crystal River downstream to the
Colorado River, offers great fly fishing and is best suited
for drift boats.
Runoff takes place from about the middle of May to the
middle of June. It means anglers will have to stop fishing
the Roaring Fork for a while and move around the
corner to the Frying Pan River. What a deal!
In summary, the Roaring Fork River can reward and
challenge any angler who wades its waters. From its
headwaters near the 12,095-foot Independence Pass
downstream to Aspen mostly small trout but the
advantage is they are eager and plentiful. Most of the
river flows through national forest land but there are
some privately owned property on the stream.
From Aspen downstream to the Upper Woody Creek
Bridge, the Roaring Fork canyon that's about six miles
long, you can fish pocket water at its finest. It all consist
of public water. Respect its catch and release
regulations and fish only flies. The Aspen waters that
runs from the Slaughterhouse Bridge near the west side
of town. You can reach it by taking Cemetery Lane north
at the stoplight on Highway #82. It's about a mile to the
bridge and parking is available.
It's best to walk downstream and fish back upstream. but
you can fish the stream towards Aspen. A very good trail
makes walking along the river easy.
The Upper Woody Creek Bridge provides an entrance to
the lower end of the canyon. Turn off Highway 82 at the
Woody Creek Canyon sign. It is about six miles west of
Aspen. Wading can be a little difficult in this stretch of
water at times. It's heavy pocket water that's well worth
Below the Upper Woody Creek Bridge all the way down
to Basalt, the Roaring Fork river first flows though a
valley and then through a narrow canyon. Access to this
long section of the river is from Highway 82 at many
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Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rods:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
You can fish the Roaring Fork anytime
during the year.
Nymph fishing can be good at certain times
during the winter.
With the exception of the runoff period,
fishing is good during the spring season.
Fly Fishing Guide to the Roaring Fork:
The seventy-mile long Roaring Fork River
offers a wide diversity of fly fishing
opportunities ranging from its small stream
brook trout headwater tributaries to its larger
drift boat waters its lower section. The Roaring
Fork River is one of the steepest rivers in the
state of Colorado. The decline of the stream
from it headwaters to the Colorado River
doesn't allow the water to flow lazily along in
very many places. The name of the river says
it all. It does roar. The typical fast water also
provide a good clue about the way you have
to fish the Roaring Fork River.
The small tributary streams hold a lot of small
brook trout but once they form the main stem
of the Roaring Fork, rainbows and browns
begin to show up. These trout don't average
as large as the ones in the middle and lower
sections of the river, but they are easier to
catch because they are not as picky. This
upper area flows from the headwaters through
Aspen. This part from its headwaters through
Aspen down to the Woody Creek Bridge, is
considered the upper section of the seventy
mile long stream by the locals. The upper
section that's inside the White River National
Forest area is all open to the public for fishing.
The middle section of the Roaring Fork River
extends from just below Aspen to Carbondale.
One of the best areas to access and fish
within the middle section is from the Jaffe Park.
This is prime pocket water. It also has
excellent access from a trial that follows the
river for over five miles. Most of the time, this
part can be waded easily. It is best fished in an
upstream direction. In general, short more
accurate cast are preferred over long cast, or
downstream cast. You want to keep your rod
tip held high and as much fly line out of the
water as possible to prevent drag. Fish the
current seams between the fast and slow
water and on the side of the pockets. The long
runs and riffles generally hold the most active
or feeding trout. There are plenty of trout in
the pools, but they are not as easy to catch.
Another tip is that if you fish a nymph, the
"high stickin" method usually works better than
using strike indicators and making longer cast.
There's plenty of fast water where you can get
very close to the fish without spooking them if
you do it correctly and carefully.
The middle section gets the water from the
famous Frying Pan River at Basalt. It adds a
lot more water and most importantly, increases
the pH of the water. There's a lot more aquatic
insects in the river from that point downstream.
This area is easily accessed from Basalt down
to the Lower Bypass Bridge.
This is also one of the best places to fish
during the winter because of the warmer
water from the Frying Pan River tailwater.
The river changes in that the extra water
makes wading more difficult but it is still
possible to wade on normal and low levels
if you exercise caution. There are a lots of
hatches in this section and plenty of trout.
At Carbondale, the Crystal River adds its
water to the flow. The lower section is
considered to be from this point all the way
to the Roaring Forks confluence with the
Colorado River at Glenwood Springs. This
section of the river is much larger with the
added water from both the Frying Pan and
the Crystal River. This section flows
through a lot of private property. It is best
fished from a drift boat.
This area has a huge amount of aquatic
insect life. The trout grow large, especially
the brown trout, and aren't quite as easy
to catch as the middle and upper section
trout, but they are certainly catchable. You
have to pay more attention to the hatches
and also more attention to the water
because of the Crystal River water. Its
Spring runoff affects the Roaring Fork and
when theres heavy rains in the upper
Crystal River area, the water can quickly
become cloudy because of the quarries
located in the upper area of the Crystal
River. You may want to review this river
included within this site.
Keep in mind when you are fishing the
Roaring Fork River that the elevation at
Glenwood Springs is a few thousand feet
lower than the headwaters well above
Aspen. In other words the water
temperatures can vary drastically at any
one time depending on where you are
fishing. This has a big influence on the
timing of the hatches.
If you prefer drift boat fishing, then by all
means fish the lower section. It you prefer
wading and good size trout, fish the middle
section. If you prefer the high altitude
streams, its beautiful scenery and lots of
easy to catch wild trout including brook
trout, fish the headwaters. Wherever you
fish this very fine freestone river, you
should find it rewarding in many ways. It is
one of the best freestone rivers in the
state of Colorado and one of the few that
flows very far without being dammed.
Roaring Fork River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in the Roaring Fork River and in
all stages of life that are applicable to fishing.
If you want to fish better, more realistic trout
flies, have a much higher degree of success,
give us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The important thing to remember when you
are looking at the hatch times for the aquatic
insects in this river is the difference in the
elevation of the stream at different points.
The water is always much colder in the high
altitude headwater areas than it is in the lower
section of the river. When hatches occur,
they usually start in the lowest sections first
and move upstream as the days go by. When
we give a hatch period, keep this in mind. If
you are fishing the upper part, hatches will
most likely occur near the end of the hatch
period and hatches starting in the lower
sections may start close to the beginning of
the time period and end well before we show
the hatch ending. The Spring runoff occurs
about the first to the middle of May and last
around a month. During this time, the hatches
can be difficult or impossible to fish.
Midges hatch all year long but are more
important when there are no other hatches
occurring. From about the end of October
through the month of March, you should
always have imitations of the larvae, pupae
and adults. Fish the moderate and slow
sections of the river or pockets and edges of
the fast water.
Blue-winged Olives are the most common
species of mayflies that exist on the Roaring
Fork River. They are bi-brooded and hatch in
the Spring and again in the Fall. They start
hatching about the middle of March and last
for a couple of months or until the middle of
May. They hatch again during the later part of
August. The second hatch can last through
the month of November, depending on the
The Western Green Drakes provide a lot of
action for some anglers. The reason I say
some anglers is that the Green Drake hatch
on other nearby rivers like the Frying Pan
River, draws more anglers than the Roaring
Fork. The only pressure the river gets is from
the drift boat anglers on the lower section of
the river. These mayflies start hatching near
the end of June and can hatch through the
month of July and even later in the high
elevations. They can hatch through the
month of August and into September in
Pale Morning Duns or PMDs hatch from about
the middle of June all the way into September
depending on the particular part of the
stream you are fishing. There are two species
of this mayfly, one of which hatches a little
later than the other. At any one point, the
hatch usually last about two months. These
mayflies are found in the moderate sections
of water in the river and the pockets and
edges of the fast water.
The Red Quill is another important hatch. It
usually occurs from about the first of July
through August. The fish can be keying on
this mayfly when anglers are fishing patterns
of everything else.
Around the middle to late April,
Branchycentrus caddisflies hatch is huge
quantities on the Roaring Fork. This is the
hatch thats commonly called the Mothers
Day hatch. It can be fished very similar to
a mayfly hatch because the pupae hatch
midstream. It last about three weeks at
any one point but moves upstream every
day as the water warms. It may be near
the end of May before the hatch ends in
the upper section of the river. The most
abundant species of caddisflies are
Spotted Sedges. They hatch from June
through the month of September,
depending on the particular species and
section of the river. Make sure you have
imitations of their larvae, pupae and the
adults. There are also a few of their Little
Sisters that hatch during July and early
August. Short-horned Sedges is another
common caddisfly hatch. These little
caddisflies hatch from June through July.
There are a few others but those listed
above are the most important and most
There's a Salmonfly hatch that occurs
usually during the time the Spring runoff is
occurring. It is possible to catch fish from
the banks at certain times during the
hatch on both the nymphs and adult
imitations. Little Brown Stoneflies, some of
which are almost black hatch before the
Salmonflies during April until about the
middle of May. There's also a Golden
Stonefly hatch that occurs from about the
first of June through July and into early
August depending on the elevation. One
of the better hatches that occurs on the
Roaring Fork is the Little Yellow
Stoneflies, or Yellow Sallies, as most
anglers call them. It starts about the
middle of June and can last through
August depending on the location. Make
certain you have imitations of the nymphs
and the adults.
During the months of July, August and
about half of September, terrestrial
insects can play an important part of the
trout's diet in the Roaring Fork. Imitations
of ants, beetles and grasshoppers all work
at times. Make sure you have some
terrestrial flies with you if you fish the
headwater areas during the summer.
They work great in the lower section of the
river also and any areas where the stream
runs through ranch land.
Streamers can be very important anytime
the water is high and off color. Imitation of
minnows, baitfish and sculpin all work
great anytime there is low visibility
conditions. Even when the water is clear,
they often out produce other flies early
and late in the day. They also have a
tendency to catch large trout, so don't
The best advice we can give you is to
check our hatch chart for the time you
plan on fishing the Roaring Fork River
and have imitations that match the insects
and other food the period of time calls for.
By far the best flies you can obtain to do
just that are our "Perfect Flies". We have
specific imitations of everything that exist
in the river. They not only are the most
realistic flies you can purchase, they are
the most effective flies you can use. They
have been proven to be very effective on
this particular river. If you haven't already
done so, we ask you to please give them
a try. You will be happy you did.
Summer is probably the best time to fish
the Roaring Fork.
Early autumn can be very good for fly
fishing the Roaring Fork River.
Click to enlarge
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Headlines: The higher and
middle elevations are in good
shape. Actually, fish can be
caught in all sections but the
middle and higher elevations
have better hatches. We are
getting good reports on a regular
basis. Keep up with the latest
information by clicking the above
link to our Roaring Fork River
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
descriptions of the
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
flies, fly fishing gear
USGS stream data,
much, much more
10/16/15 Stream levels are down and wading is possible in most areas. The weather is turning
cooler and conditions are as good as they get at this time of the season. October Caddis are
hatching. Fish the pupa and adult imitations. Brown trout are in the pre-spawn stage and very
aggressive. Other aquatic insects are hatching but in sparse quantities and terrestrial
imitations are working okay.
10/23/15 The top producing fly is the adult October Caddis. The female egg layers are
bringing the trout to the surface. Fish the pupa during the hatch and the adult late in the day.
Stream levels are up and may get higher but there is little rain in the forecast for the next
week, so we expect them to get back down to good wading levels soon.
10/30/15 Stream levels are in good shape. The hot fly right now is the Brown Sculpin
streamer. It is fooling the pre-spawn brown trout. One of our customers caught two over 16
inches day before yesterday. Blue-winged olives are the main hatch right now and will be for a
good while. They are best n overcast, cloudy days. There are still plenty of October Caddis as
11/06/15 The weather has finally turned cold and that's normal at this time of the year. Stream
levels are good and you can wade about anywhere you desire. Hatches will be reduced down
to Blue-winged olives, currently n two sizes, and Midges. Brown and white Belly Sculpin
continue to produce some big brown post-brown trout.
11/13/15 The weather will be clear through the weekend and then some more now the first of
next week. Midges have become the most important aquatic insect. It will remain that way for
several weeks. Stream levels are fine right now, but melting snow can change them. The
Brown sculpin streamer is a hot fly to use right now because of the brown trout.
11/20/15 The Roaring Fork is in good shape stream level wise, but much colder. Fish the
lower end, at least below the Frying pan confluence. It actually is a little warmer. Midges and
Blue-winged olives will be about the only hatches but nymphs of the BWOs and a pupa/lava
tandem combination will catch trout.
12/04/15 The water has gotten colder but there are good stream levels and you can catch
trout provided good strategies are used. Fish aren't holding in the fast water. Fish the slow
pockets and holes in the bottom out of the current. Midges are the only insect you need to be
imitating. Fish the larva and pupa in tandem. The Brown Sculpin streamer should continue to
12/11/15 The upper sections of the Roaring Fork are very cold, in the mid to high thirties. You
want to fish below the Frying Pan River confluence for warmer water. Midges are the most
important insects to imitate. Don't forget about the Brown Sculpin. It has been catching some
big trout. Notice we added Winter stoneflies to the list. They are hatching.
12/25/15 The winter storm warning is extended through Saturday. Fish below the Frying pan
confluence for a little warmer water than above it. The stream levels are fine, just cold air
temperatures and snow through Sunday. Imitating the Winter stonefly nymphs/adults and
midges provides the best opportunities.
01/01/16 It is going to be a little warmer than it was last week, but still cold. You will find slightly
warmer water below the Frying Pan confluence. Winter stoneflies are hatching and fishing the
nymph is a good idea. Midges is usually the best fly option at this cold water temperature.
01/08/16 The flows are still just fine. The USGS gauge is iced up. Fish below the Frying Pan
confluence for the warmest water. It is about 37-39 degrees, so midges and the little Winter
stonefly nymphs is the best fly options you have. Snow is ending today, so that won't be a
problem. Fish the slower water in holes in the bottom and out of the fast current.
01/15/16 It is wintertime in Roaring Fork country. There is a lot of ice around the banks and
some slush ice in the water in the middle and higher elevations. Fishing isn't exactly great but
it is possible to catch trout. Fish the slack water, not the fast current, in holes in the bottom,
pockets, etc. Midges and winter Stonefly nymphs are the flies you need.
01/22/16 It is a little warmer than it was last week but that helps very little with regard to the
water temperature. It just melts the snow along the banks and keeps it cold. Little snow is in
the forecast this coming week. Fish below the Frying Pan river confluence and/or the very
lowest section of the river for the warmest water.
01/29/16 There isn't much change from the previous week except there is a winter storm
warning for this weekend and snow every day for the next week. Fish the confluence of the
Frying Pan and the lowest section of the river for the warmest water, but it is all cold, below 36
02/05/16 It is going to be a little warmer this coming week, with no chance of rain or snow for
the next seven days. The USGS gauge has even started to work and the stream is currently
just a little above normal levels for this time of the year. Midges and winter stoneflies will still
be the main insects to imitate.
02/12/16 The weather is going to be great this coming week for mid winter. Melting snow may
stain the water in some sections and areas. Midges, winter stoneflies and little BWO's are the
main aquatic insects you need to be imitating. Fish the lowest sections and near the
confluence of the Frying Pan for the warmest water.
02/26/16 The weather is going to be nice and warm with almost no chance of rain or snow for
this coming week. The water temperature in the lower river is staying cold due to melting snow
and ice but the middle section near the Frying Pan confluence is at a normal level and in good
shape. Midges, winter stoneflies and little Blue-winged olives could hatch.
03/04/16 The weather is and has been terrific for humans but not so great for trout. It has
melted snow in the watershed, stained the water and kelp it cold. Midges, both creams and
reds, size 22, and little BWO nymphs, size 20, are your best bet for flies. Sculpin streamers
would be a good option for stained water.
03/11/16 Conditions are about as good as they get for mid March, but keep in mind the
warmer weather is melting a lot of bank snow and that tends to keep the water temperature
down. This is mostly taking place in the middle to lower elevations, not the high elevations with
deep snow packs.
03/18/16 The Roaring Fork is getting in good shape for the middle of March, thanks to the
warmer than normal weather. We recommend fishing the lowest section of the river and just
below the confluence of the Frying Pan River. Midges, both creams and reds, are hatching
along with small Blue-winged olives. It won't be long before March Browns begin to emerge.
03/25/16 The Roaring Fork is in as good of shape as it could be for the first of Spring. It won't
be very warm until after the June runoff but you should be able to catch plenty of trout before
then. Several hatches will occur prior to runoff, including March Browns, larger BWOs and
Little Black Caddis, for example.
04/01/16 The river is in very good shape for this time of the year. The stream levels are a little
low, but that makes it much easier to wade. Yes, you do have to use a little more stealth.
Midges and Blue-winged olives are hatching good. One customer caught some nice trout on
the Brown sculpin streamer recently.
04/07/15 The Roaring Fork is beginning to roar. The levels are up and the water stained from
melting snow. There is a lot of rain in the forecast, so they are likely to continue to rise. March
Browns and little Black Caddis have begin to hatch. Blue-winged olives and midges are
hatching in large quantities.
04/15/16 The Roaring Fork is going to be roaring big time for the next few days. There is
snow or rain in the forecast for the next five days and it is already high and stained. We don't
see much of any opportunity for the coming week. Fish the Frying Pan. It will be in much better
04/22/16 The stream levels are back down near normal and the water has a slight stain from
melting snow. It is still on the cold side of perfect for the Little Black Caddis to hatch, but they
should be starting good in the lower elevations of the river. Blue-winged olives and March
Browns will also be hatching.
04/29/16 The lower end of the river is a little high for wading but some trout are being caught
on streamers and Blue-winged olive hatches. The water is still just too cold for much activity
above the Frying Pan confluence. There is more rain and snow this coming week and the
conditions are most likely going to remain about the same.
05/06/16 The Roaring Fork is roaring along pretty good, with higher stained water. The lower
section of the river is having some good Little Black Caddisfly hatches, or Mother's day hatch.
This will move upstream as the water warms. There are lots of little Blue-winged olives
hatching. These range from size 20 to 18.
05/13/16 The Roaring Fork is roaring loud. It is in full runoff mode. This condition will continue
through the next week. The best thing to do now is to plan a trip just after the runoff ends.
Fishing at that time will be as good as it gets on the Roaring fork and that is good.
05/20/16 The river is getting higher, and higher. It is currently to high to have much of any fly
fishing opportunity. The good news is, the Frying Pan is just around the corner and it is in
good shape. The Roaring fork is likely to be blown out from runoff through most of the month
05/27/16 runoff is still underway with high stream levels and muddy water. This will continue
for a few more days. You can always send us an email and let us help you plan that next fly
fishing trip to the Roaring Fork.
06/03/16 The Roaring Fork is roaring loud. The warmer weather has put the runoff into
overdrive and high, muddy to highly stained water and about everything it can pick up from
the banks is headed downstream. May we suggest the Frying Pan just around the corner.
There won't be any fly fishing opportunity this coming week on the Roaring Fork.
06/10/16 The river is flowing as high as it has been this year. The runoff is in full stream
ahead mode ranging with mjuddy to highly stained water and a little of everything else that got
in its way. There won't be any fly fishing opportunity for the coming week. You should just
continue to check back with us, or send us and email and let us help you plan that next triip.
06/17/16 The river is falling but still very high and dingy. There isn't any fly fishing opportunity
just yet, but hopefully, it won't be long. The weather has turned hot and what snow is left to
melt will do that soon. All you can do is wait and watch the stream levels. There are
salmonflies hatching but are of little use.
07/01/16 The Roaring Fork is still roaring loud. It is one of the last streams in the state of
Colorado to clear from runoff. It has big watershed that begins at a very high elevation. It
shouldn't be much longer until it is in good shape. Once it does fall out, it is one of the better
streams in the area to catch a large number of trout.
07/07/16 The river is finally down in good shape from its headwaters to the lowest section.
The water is clear and lots of insects are hatching. These insects vary from section to section,
but you can count on Pale Morning Duns, little Yellow stoneflies and Spotted sedges being
just about everywhere. There are usually two or three more at any one location.
07/15/16 The stream levels are finally down in all sections of the river from the headwaters to
the Colorado River. The water is clear and there are a lot of insects hatching. We had two
reports this past week from customers who caught good numbers of trout. The Little Yellow
stoneflies and Pale Morning duns are hatching most everywhere.
07/22/16 The Roaring fork is in great shape from its headwaters high in the mountains to it
lowest section. Anglers are catching lot of trout in all sections. There are a lot of hatches
taking place with Pale Morning duns, Green drakes, little Yellow and Golden stoneflies,
Spotted and Green sedges, Tricos and more. It doesn't get any better than this.
07/29/16 It seems like it takes a long time each season for the Roaring Fork to get in good
shape but when it does, it is as good as any stream in the state. You have a lot of options,
from fishing the high elevation meadows to the lowest section of the river in a drift boat. There
are lots of hatches but they vary greatly with the elevation.
08/04/16 There are flash flood warning out for today and a chance to rain is in the forecast
every day for the coming week. The levels are in good shape now, but you will need to keep a
close check on them. There are still plenty of insects hatching but they vary with the section of
water, or more specifically with the elevation.
08/12/16 The river is flowing at a good level and our customers are catching trout in several
different sections from the headwater streams in the meadows to the lowest section of the
river. The forecast looks good for the coming week and it should be a good one. There are a
lot of hatches but they vary from section to section.
08/19/16 Conditions are as good as they get in August and that's from the headwaters to the
lowest section of the river. Customers are sending in some very good reports. They are
catching lots of rainbows in the upper fast water sections. Lots of smaller trout are coming
from the uppermost waters. Caddisflies are hatching everywhere. It doesn't get much better
08/26/16 Both Tricos and little BWOs are hatching and many get them confused. The BWOs
are in the middle to high elevations. The Tricos, the middle to lower elevations. Their spinners
fall in the morning and they hatch early afternoons. Both are size 20 mayflies. The middle and
upper elevations are producing lots of trout. The water levels are good in all sections.
09/02/16 In addition to the little Blue-winged olives, larger baetis species are starting to hatch
in the higher and middle sections of the river. There are still some Golden stones and PMDs
in the highest elevations. The middle and lower sections have lots of caddisflies hatching.
Stream levels are about normal and both bank and drift boat anglers are catching plenty of
09/09/16 Stream levels are normal allowing good wading opportunities as well as drift boat
fishing in the lower section of the river. Our customers are sending in some good reports.
They are using sculpin streamers in the early mornings with good results. Late in the day, fish
the egg laying caddisflies. They are bringing a lot of trout to the surface to feed.
09/16/16 Great conditions exist from the highest headwater to the lowest section of the river.
The hatches vary with the section but two or three species of caddisflies are about
everywhere. Blue-winged olives are hatching most places. Mahogany duns have just started
to hatch. Terrestrials are still working as well.
09/23/16 Our customers are reporting catching trout in good numbers from the headwaters to
the lower section of the river. The cooler weather has the water temperature down some and
some new hatches taking place. There are Ocbober Caddis and Mahogany duns in addition
to the Spotted sedge caddis and Blue-winged olives.
09/30/16 Excellent conditions exist from the headwaters to the lowest section of the river. Blue-
winged olives, Mahogany duns, October caddis and other insects are hatching. The weather
forecast for the coming week looks good. The stream levels are in good shape. What more
could you ask for. This is a good destination right now.
10/07/16 the river is in good shape in all sections, with good stream levels and good numbers
of insects hatching. Our customers are catching good numbers of trout and many on top on
the dry fly. There are Blue-winged olives, sometimes of three different species, hatching.
October caddis are in most sections. The Brown sculpin streamer is catching some nice size
10/14/16 The stream is in very good shape in all sections from the headwaters to the lowest
section. The stream is low but easy to wade. It is also easy to spook the trout, so you have to
stay hidden from the trout. Dress to match the background and stay as low as possible. There
are still some good hatches taking place. Now is a good time to fish the Roaring Fork.
10/24/16 Conditions couldn't be any better for the end of October. Our customers are
reporting some good catches in terms of numbers and sizes. There are few anglers fishing.
The stream levels are low enough that wading is possible about anywhere. There are some
very good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place.
11/04/16 The river is in very good shape in all sections. The uppermost sections are getting a
little chilly but there are still trout being caught. The middle and lower sections are in great
shape with some good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place. The brown trout are mostly
Post-spawn and taking streamers like our Brown and White Belly sculpin.
11/11/16 The river is in very good shape with stream levels just a little below normal. Water
temperature is still great for this time of the year, and trout can be taken on the surface during
hatches of Blue-winged olives and Cream midges. We recommend the middle and lower
sections but you can catch trout just about anywhere.
11/18/16 There will be some cooler weather this coming week and maybe a little snow, but all
thing considered, it should still be a good week. There are good Blue-winged olive hatches
taking place along with lots of Cream Midge hatches. The stream levels are a little below
normal and should allow good wading opportunity.
11/25/16 The stream levels are still in good shape and allow some wading opportunity. We
recommend fishing below the Frying Pan River confluence. Not only is the middle and lower
elevations a little warmer than the upper sections, the Frying pan water is always a little
warmer and that helps. Midges, reds and Creams are hatching, as well as Blue-winged olives.
12/02/16 Fish below or downstream of the Frying Pan confluence. The water above there is
much colder and in the high thirties. The water in the lower river is warmer. The stream levels
are low and that makes it easy to wade about anywhere. Winter stoneflies are starting to
12/09/16 The Roaring fork is in decent shape for the first week of December. Fish the lower
section of the river. The middle and upper sections are in the high thirties in water
temperature. There is snow forecast everyday for the coming week. Midges, Creams and
Reds, is the main flies you should be using. The Brown sculpin streamer catches the larger
12/16/16 The stream levels re just fine but the water is cold and the weather is not going
above freezing except for one day and then just barely. You would be much better off fishing
the Frying Pan River just around the corner. It is much warmer. If you do fish the Roaring
Fork, use midges. Creams and reds are hatching. There are some Winter stoneflies starting
to hatch as well.
12/23/16 The river is in good shape from a stream level standpoint but the water is very cold.
It is too cold to fish in the middle and upper sections of the river. Midges and Winter stoneflies
are hatching. Fish the Cream or Red (blood) midge imitations in tandem with the larva the
bottom fly and the pupa about 16 inches above it.
12/30/16 The lowest section of the river has water that's about 36 degrees. The middle and
upper sections are barely above freezing with lots of ice. The lower section has minimum
wading opportunity. Most of the water is too deep to wade. You really need a drift boat to fish
it. Midges and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
01/06/17 The lower section fo the river has few places that you can wade safely but there are
a few. The water is a little warmer and that will give you the best opportunity. Of course, it is
better for drift boats. The middle and upper sections of the river is just too cold to have much
opportunity, with lots of slush ice in the water. We aren't saying it is impossible to catch trout
there. We are saying the best opportunity is in the lower river.
01/13/17 The stream levels are fine. The weather isn't bad. There is some snow and rain
forecast through Sunday, but then clearing. It is going to be much warmer. Fish below the
confluence of the Frying pan to the lowest section of the river. Midges, creams and reds
(blood midges) are hatching good. Winter stoneflies are hatching.
01/20/17 The river is in good shape stream level wise but the water has a lot of slush ice and
bank ice. The lowest section of the river is the best location to fish. It is a degree or two
warmer but still only 35 degrees at the most. Midges, creams and reds, are still the main
insects to imitate. There are also some winter stonefies hatching. Fish the adults when you
see them laying eggs and the nymphs late in the day.
01/27/17 The river is in fairly good shape for the last part of January. You may catch some
trout below the Frying pan confluence down to the lowest section. There is deep snow on the
bank but the weather is going to be clear and get above freezing some days this coming
week. Midges and Winter stoneflies will be the main insects hatching. Fish the midge larva and
pupa in tandem.
02/03/17 The Roaring Fork has been very cold with little water without some slush ice in it.
The warmer weather ahead for the coming week should really help that situation. The lower
section of the river should be in good enough shape to catch trout. Fish Red or Cream
midges, with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem. Black Matuka sculpin streamers should
work good during cloud cover.
02/10/17 There is heavy rain and snow in the forecast through the weekend. The weather is
warmer and lots of the ice in the middle and lower river has melted. Stream levels are still in
good shape but may change with the amount of rain forecast. Fish Streamers like the Black or
Olive Matuka sculpin when it is snowing or overcast. Otherwise, fish cream or blood midges
with the larva and pupa in tandem.
02/17/17 We recommend fishing from the Frying Pan confluence downstream. The water in
the lower river is in good enough shape to be fished, with less ice. Much of the bank ice and
snow and slush ice in the water has melted. Midges are the main insects to imitate. Fish the
Creams and Reds, with the larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
02/24/17 We received two good reports this past week from customers fishing the lower
section of the river. Of course, the water was a little warmer thanks to the warm weather
pattern but it is turning back cold again. Fish from the Frying Pan confluence downstream.
Midges, Creams, Reds or blood midges, and light Greens are hatching. Fish the larva and
pupa rigged in tandem for the best results.
03/03/17 Our customers continue to send in good reports from the lower river. They are
drifting it and fishing Cream and Red midges, or in low light conditions, Sculpin streamers. The
Black or Olive Matuka sculpin is a good choice. Fish the midges with the larva and pupa
rigged in tandem. Fish streamers under low light conditions or in the stained water from
03/10/17 The river is in good shape with flows that average about normal. There is some stain
in places due to melting snow. The weather is going to be very warm this coming week and
that will melt a lot more snow. Midges are still the main insects to imitate. Fish the Cream or
Red midge larva and pupa rigged in tandem. The Sculpin streamers are catching trout under
low light conditions.
03/17/17 The river is running a little above normal and has some stain due to melting snow
and ice. The water is warmer in the lowest section. Midges and little Blue-winged olives are
hatching. Fish sculpin streamers like our Black Matuka scupin in the stained water. Watch the
levels. We think they might go higher.
03/24/17 High and muddy best describes the Roaring Fork. The warm weather of the past
week melted a lot of snow and ice in the watershed. We think this is going to continue through
this week with the added aid of more rain and snow. All you can do is check back with us and
look at the stream levels.
03/31/17 The river is still running high, too high to wade safely in most sections. Drift boats
are doing well in the lower river. They are catching fish all the way to the Colorado. There is
snow and rain forecast everyday this coming week but Sunday, but it is staying relatively
warm. Skwala and little Brown stoneflies are hatching. Light Green midges are hatching good
04/07/17 The lower river is in good shape for drift boats. We are getting some good reports.
Stoneflies and little Black caddis are hatching. The middle and upper river is still cold, stained
and high. It should get into much better shape very soon. The weather forecast show rain and
snow ending tomorrow and clear weather for the next few days.
04/14/17 The river is high, too high to safely wade most places. The lower river can be fished
by boat, but it is high and dingy. The water is much warmer and there are lots of insects
hatching. March Browns have started to hatch. The warm weather will continue to melt snow in
the higher and upper middle elevations helping to keep the water levels up.
04/21/17 If you want to know why they named it the Roaring Fork, go there now in the middle
section of the river and listen. It is roaring for sure. The levels are high, too high too safely
wade anywhere. It is possible to fish the lower river by boat, but probably not very effective.
There are some very good hatches taking place.
04/30/17 The river is in good shape with lots of hatches taking place. The hatches vary from
the upper and middle elevations to the lower elevations. There are lots of little Black Caddis
about everywhere. Skwala and little Brown stoneflies are hatching. There are some March
Brown mayflies as well. There is some rain and snow in the forecast, but for now, the stream
levels are good.
05/05/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. Of course, the warmer water is in the lower
elevations but you can now catch plenty of trout in the middle and even the upper elevations.
The little Black caddis hatch has reached the upper elevations. March Browns are hatching
good in the lower river. Now is a good time to be fishing the Roaring Fork.
05/12/17 The river is up flowing strong and high as well as stained. It is too high to wade in
most places but you can fish from a drift boat where boats are allowed. There are lot of
insects hatching. They are catching trout (before the high water) from the lowest section to
the headwater. The headwaters will probably fall out first.
05/25/17 The runoff slowed down and the stream levels are down in decent shape to fish. The
lower end can be fished from a drift boat. The weather is going to be warmer again this
coming week and the high water levels are likely to return. Be sure to check them before
traveling very far to fish. There are lots of hatches taking place.
06/02/17 The river is running very high and from highly stained to muddy. The runoff is in full
steam ahead mode. This is likely to continue for most to all of the month of June. All you can
do is to stay in touch. We will keep you informed. You can send us an email and let us help
you plan that next Roaring Fork fly fishing trip.
06/09/17 The river is flowing and roaring very high and the color of chocolate milk. It isn't
worth fishing in any section including the headwater meadows. All you can do is keep
checking back with us. We will keep you informed as to the status of the runoff. You can send
us an email and let us help you plan that next fly fishing trip.
06/16/17 The stream levels are down some, but the river is still far to high to wade or fish
successfully. Hopefully, the runoff has peaked. There are a lot of insects starting to hatch in
the lower river. All you can do is to keep checking back with us. We will keep you informed as
to the status of the river.
06/23/17 The river is up a little from the past week, still blown out and far too high to fish.
There is a big snow pack this year and it is taking some time for the runoff to occur. Hopefully,
it will peak soon. All you can do is check back with us. We will keep you informed as to the
status of it.
06/30/17 The river is getting in great shape fast and parts of it can be waded safely now with
caution. It should all be in good shape within less than a week from now. Drift boats sections
can and are being fished now. There are lots of insects hatching. We received a good report
from a customer just yesterday.
07/07/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. The stream levels are okay and the water
clear. There are lots of hatches taking place and our customers are sending in some good
reports. We have added terrestrials to the fly list as they may become important at times.
07/14/17 The Middle and Upper elevations are turning out some good numbers for those
fishing the Roaring Fork. There are still lots of insects hatching and terrestrials will also work.
We don't recommend using them when there are hatches taking place.
07/21/17 The river is in good shape with stream levels about the normal level for this time of
the season. You can wade most sections safely but it is raining and they may rise tonight and
tomorrow. They will fall out quickly. Fish the middle to the highest elevations for the best
results. There are lots of insects hatching but vary with the elevation.
08/04/17 The river is in great shape in all sections with stream levels just a little above normal.
Wading is safe and easy most everywhere. We recommend fishing the middle and uppermost
sections but it is good anywhere. The lowest water may be getting a little too warm. There are
still plenty of hatches taking place. Our customers are catching some good numbers of trout.
08/11/17 More good reports from customers were received this past week. The upper and
middle sections are turning out a lot of fish, numbers wise. The lower section has the larger
trout but fewer numbers and best fished from a drift boat. There are still a lot of insects
hatching. Terrestrials are also working.
08/18/17 The river is in excellent condition from the headwaters to the lowest section of the
river. Be sure and check our Roaring Fork fishing report linked above for the latest
information. We are getting some good reports from customers. There are still some nice
08/25/17 The stream is in very good shape with good levels that are easy and safe to wade in
most places. We recommend the middle and upper sections. We are getting good reports
from customers catching a lot of trout. There are still some good hatches occurring. The water
is relatively cool in the higher elevations.
09/01/17 All sections of the Roaring Fork are in good condition. The headwaters are turning
out lots of small trout that are fun to catch. All sections are producing good catches for our
customers. Theres are good hatches taking place but vary with the altitude. Terrestrial
imitations will work but don't use them when something is hatching.
09/08/17 The river is in excellent condition. Stream levels are normal and the water clear. The
cooler weather is nice and has the water temperature cooler. We received four good reports
from customers fishing this past week. You can catch trout from the headwaters to the very
lowest section of the river.
09/15/17 The much cooler weather has all sections of the river in good shape. The water
temperature in the lower river is slightly down to a more suitable range. We will be changing
the fly recommendations this coming week. We received one good report from a customer this
past week. Few anglers are fishing.
09/22/17 We received one good report from the past week from a customer. He fished the
middle section just below the Frying Pan confluence. There are still plenty of insects hatching.
Terrestrial are going to be short lived in the higher elevations of the stream but should still be
plentiful in the lower elevations.
09/29/17 The river is still in good shape in all sections. The stream levels are up a little and
there is rain forecast through the first of next week. Trout are being caught in all sections of
the river. There are still some hatches taking place. Blue-winged Olives are hatching good
and the big October Caddis are hatching.
10/06/17 The river is still a little high but safe to wade with caution in several places. The
lower and middle elevations are still turning out some good hatches of Blue-winged Olives and
Mahogany duns. We also have reports of October caddis in the lower section. This coming
weeks hard freeze will end the terrestrial season.
10/13/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week. The stream levels
were a little high most of the time but are back down just above normal levels. You should be
able to wade most places safely provided caution is used. There are lots of Blue-winged olives
and Mahogany duns hatching.
10/20/17 We didn't receive any reports from customers this past week. There are still some
hatches taking place. We recommend fishing the middle and lower sections of the river.
Sculpin streamers should catch the larger trout. Snow should end tomorrow and the weather
10/28/17 We recommend fishing the lower to upper middle elevations and fishing mostly
afternoons versus mornings. The water is cold in the early mornings but will warm up as the
day progresses. There are some decent hatches. There are a few October caddis hatches
taking place in the lower river.
11/04/17 We had one good report from this past week. Midges, creams and reds, are
hatching good. Blue-winged olives are hatching good. The rain and snow should end
Tuesday. We are recommending fishing the middle and lower river. The upper sections are
11/12/17 We didn't receive any reports from anyone fishing this past week, but it should have
been good. The conditions for coming week look very good. The stream levels are good and
the weather is going to be nice most all the time. Cream and Red midges and BWOs are
11/19/17 The tailwater is in good condition. There are hatches of cream and red (blood)
midges and Blue-winged olives. The discharge rates and stream levels are good for wading
anglers. This coming week should be a good one. We received one good report from a
customer fishing this past week.
12/03/17 We received one good report from a customer drifting the lower river this past week.
Sculpin streamers and midges, cream and reds were used. Midges are the only insects
currently hatching. BWOs may hatch on warmer, cloudy days.
12/17/17 There is ice in the upper middle and higher elevations. Fish the lower river or lower
middle section. Midges, Creams and Reds or blood midges, are hatching along with Winter
12/25/17 The river is cold above the Frying pan confluence but trout are being caught
downstream of there. Cream and Red mdiges and Winter stoneflies are still the most
important insects to imitate.
01/08/18 Fish the lower river below the Frying Pan confluence. The red or blood midges and
cream midges are hatching good. Fish the larva and pupa rigged in tandem for the best
results. Winter stoneflies will also work.
01/22/18 Fish the lower section of the river. The water is about 38 degrees below the Frying
pan confluence. Midges, creams and reds or blood midges are hatching. Winter stoneflies are
01/29/18 The river is still in good shape, with good stream levels. The water is cold above the
Frying pan confluence, so we recommend fishing below that point.
02/05/18 Good conditions continue to exist. The water is warmer below the Frying pan
confluence. Midges are hatching good and some light Greens are starting in addition to the
reds and creams. Winter stoneflies continue to hatch. Fish the WSF nymphs near the banks.
They crawl out of the water to hatch.
02/12/19 Stream levels are still good. The water is very cold and the only hatches are midges
and winter stoneflies. The midges are blood midges, creams and light greens. Fish the river
below the Frying Pan confluence.
02/19/18 The river is in good shape from a stream level standpoint but as you probably know,
this is going to be a very cold week. The water is going to be very cold most places with slush
ice much of it.
02/24/18 There is a good week of weather ahead and it should be a good time to fish the
river. Fish the lower section, or at least below the Frying Pan river confluence. Midges, winter
stoneflies and little BWOs are still the most important insects to imitate.
03/05/18 The river is in good shape with good stream levels. The water is cold, especially
above the Frying Pan confluence. Fish the lower sections. Midges, winter stoneflies, Skwala
stoneflies, and sculpin are the foods to imitate.
03/12/18 Skwala stoneflies are starting to hatch and there are still some little Winter stoneflies
as well. Sculpin streamers are working good in low light conditions. Midges, creams and light
greens, continue to work good.
03/19/18 The stream levels are still in good shape and the water clear. The weather looks
good for the coming week. The water is gradually getting warmer but we still recommend
fishing below the confluence of the Frying Pan river.
03/26/18 The river is flowing at a low level but that isn't all bad when the water is very cold and
it is still cold. Midges, creams and light greens, are hatching good. Skwala stoneflies are
hatching. Fish below the Frying Pan confluence for the warmest water.
04/02/18 Conditions remain very good. The higher elevations are still cold but the middle and
lower elevations are warming up good. March Brown mayflies are hatching in addition to the
Blue-winged olives and Midges.
04/09/18 The river is in very good shape with stream levels normal for this time of the season.
Several insects are hatching and the weather forecast for the coming week is a very good
one. Little Black caddis are starting to hatch along with the others.
04/16/18 The river is in very good shape for the middle of April. All but the highest elevations
are in good shape to catch plenty of trout. We recommend fishing below the Frying Pan
confluence. There are several insects hatching and trout being caught below the surface and
04/23/18 The river is getting into good shape. The stream levels are a little low but the water
is getting warmer fast. New hatches of Blue-winged olives, March Browns, and Little Black
Caddis are taking place. Fish the middle to the lower elevations. The higher elevations are still
a little too cold for much opportunity.
04/30/18 The river is in great shape with good stream levels and warmer water. The highest
elevations are still a little cold but the middle and lower sections are in good shape with good
hatches taking place. Blue-winged olives, March Browns, and Little black caddis (Mother's Day
05/07/18 The river is in good shape. Stream levels are up some a little above normal. The
water is still mostly clear. There are good hatches of Blue-winged Olives, March Browns and
Little Black Grannom Caddis. New hatches are sure to start this coming week. The weather
and water is getting warmer.
05/14/18 Stream levels are up some but still okay. There is no rain in the forecast this coming
week. Hatches of Little Black Grannon caddis continue in the middle and higher elevations.
March Browns are hatching good along with lots of Blue-winged olives.
05/21/18 The river is still a little high, but not too high to fish. There are still some good
hatches of Blue-winged olives and March Browns taking place. There are a few Little Black
caddis but all hatches depend on the elevation. Runoff will soon be starting and you better get
it while the gettin's good.
05/28/18 The river is still in good shape but the stream levels are high. There are fish being
caught in the lower sections. There are lots of hatching taking place. They vary greatly with
the elevation. This coming week, should be a good one.
06/04/18 The stream flows are still in the 2200 cfs range, and normally at this time of the year
they would be twice that. Normally, runoff is in full swing at this time. The river is in good shape
with good levels with trout being caught. This is bound to change soon.
06/11/18 The river is in good shape with decent stream levels and lots of hatches taking
place. We received some very good reports from customers fishing this past week.
06/18/18 The river is still in good shape, with lots of hatchest taking place. They vary greatly
with the elevations. Terrestrial imitations are also working good. This coming week should be
a good one.
06/25/18 The river is getting a little low but otherwise, in very good conditions. The water is
clear and warm in all section, even the headwaters are turning out trout. There are many
hatches occurring but they vary some with the elevation.
07/02/18 Stream levels are low and you have to use caution to stay hidden from the trout.
There are sill lots of hatches taking place, especially in the higher elevations. There is some
rain in the forecast and we think the levels will be up soon.