Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated
is DONE! GREEN DRAKES are hatching on the Fork, PMDs on the Pan, Caddis and Stones on the Collie, and the Crystal River
is now aptly named. Welcome to summer!
Stop on by our Carbondale headquarters and let us get you dialed-in or visit our new
location on the Crystal River in Redstone.
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FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 7/27/17): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs): 7 out of 10 rating: 1,490 cfs
in Glenwood Springs with good clarity and quickly receeding water flows. Runoff is over. The majority of the fish
are holding tight to the banks and "in-the-willows" (heavy tippet and precision casting required). Nymphing has
been best using generic runoff attractors (stoneflies, worms, caddis larva, drake nymphs), as well as smaller dropper patterns
like princes, CJs, and PTs. Evenings are all about fishing dry flies; skating caddis along the edges of fast water or
casting delicate rusty spinners in backwater slicks, and oh yeah, green drakes are hatching at dusk too! Leave the bobbers
and split shot at home - now is the time for headlamps and Dry Shake. The streamer fishing has still been strong with black
and yellow colors being our favorites (thanks Wiz Kalifa). Early mornings allow for lower light and better streamer conditions.
Smaller flies are beginning to fish now as the flows continue to drop (PMD nymphs/emergers). Look for these patterns
to produce fish with regularity by the middle of the month.
MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale) 7.5 out of 10 rating:
904 cfs at Emma (Basalt) with superb water clarity. Stoneflies, drake nymphs, worms and caddis
larva patterns are all great lead/point/attractor flies, with smaller generic beadheads as droppers. The streamer fishing
has been off and on though if timed right, can be the fly of the day outproducing nymphs and dries. Animate
your streamers using your rod tip, taking in the slack line after each pull of your fly. Better colors
have seemed to be black, white and yellow. Midday hatches have generally been fairly light thus far with a
mix of stoneflies, PMDs and caddis. Green drakes have pushed their way up to the middle river now and are being seen most
evenings as well as occassionally during midday periods of overcast. Floating the river often allows you to "hit"
the hatch, simply by being able to cover water. Evening float trips are a great way to finish a hot day off; cooler weather,
happy fish, and solid hatches.
RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 8 out of 10 rating: 425
cfs below Maroon Creek with good clarity. The river is more narrow in here making pockets of soft water somewhat
few and far between, thusly make sure to cover water (hence the 5 rating). Like the other sections on the Fork, typical
runoff flies and techniques are producing fish. Caddis, PMDs, stoneflies and drake nymphs are generally the name of the game
for now, with green drakes hatching here literally any day. Though not currently fishing as well as the middle and lower
river, I'd expect that to change within a week or two.
ONE MONTH FISHING
FORECAST: Runoff is done! The first two weeks following runoff is often the fastest paced fishing of
the year - get your butt out there now (big bugs, beadheads, flash)! The latter half of July, expect flows to drop significantly,
making smaller and more subdued flies go-to's (no beadheads, no bling, smaller bugs). That's not to say that the fishing tapers
off, just that the hatches and bugs change. Drakes will be seen on the lower and middle river now, followed by the upper
river in a week or two. Caddis and PMDs will be prominate all summer long.
FLY PATTERNS: GREEN DRAKES---DRIES- Para Wulff Drake, Comparadun Drake, Para H.E. Olive, KGB Drake EMERGERS/NYMPHS-
Stalcups Drake Emerger, Biot Soft Hackle GD, 20 Inchers, Anatomay GD, PMDs---DRIES- Tilt Wing PMD,
Melon Quill, Cripple PMD, Polywing Rusty Spinner EMERGERS/NYMPHS- Halfback PMD, Barr Emerger PMD, Bubbleback
PMD, Red CJs, Micro May PMD, STONEFLIES---DRIES- Stimulator, PMX, Triple Decker NYMPHS---Pat's
Rubberlegs, 20 Inch Bomb, Soft Shell Golden, CADDIS---DRIES---Foam Elk Hairs, Renegades, Neversinks,
EthaWings NYMPHS- Electric Caddis, Buckskin ATTRACTORS---Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Worms BWOS--- DRIES-Roy's Special Emerger, CDC Indicator Parachute BWO, No Hackle BWO EMERGERS-RS2's, Rocky Mtn BWO Emerger, Soft Hackle Baetis NYMPHS-BTS Baetis, Black
PTs, Micro Mayfly Brown STREAMERS--- Skully Bugger, Sex Dungeon, Sculpzilla, Poxyhead Sculpin,
Beldar Bugger, Baby Gonga, Coffey's Sparkle Minnow.
RIVER-- (Flows Updated 7/27/17): 7.5 out of 10: 228 cfs
today with perfect clarity. Look for predominately PMDs and Caddis with an increasing number of
BWOs and Green Drakes in the way of hatches. Flows have recently been decreased to make room for Ruedi Reservoir
to fill during spring runoff (currently 98% full). Once full, the inflow will match the outflow. When nymphing, focus
on small (#18-24) and dark baetis patterns with midge or baetis emergers as droppers on the upper river with PMDs playing
ball along the lower river. It can often be best to get your flies near the bottom but not on the
bottom on this river. Midday hatches are increasing as the fish get used to their low flows with patient dry fly junkies
finding plenty of risers to cast to. Just be sure to be fishing light fluorocarbon tippets (we like Trouthunter
6.5x or 7x ) with downstream drifts to picky rising fish. Evenings are yielding decent rusty spinner falls on the lower
half of river. Want to throw something bigger? The streamer fishing is still pretty solid, particularly in the shade.
Small, heavy and natural imitations are best. Poke your head in the shop and we'll dial you in on the best flavors. Crowds
are increasing with heavy traffic on weekends. The middle and lower river have been seeing much, much less fishing pressure.
Drakes are being seen mostly in the middle and lower river, with a few hatching up near Old Faithful.
ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Crowds are becoming increasingly heavier with the
least amount of pressure taking place mid-week as well as in the evenings after 5pm. Look for the BWO hatches to remain
steady and for caddis and PMDs to increase in numbers as we roll thru July. Come August, PMDs will be the predominte insect
hatch, along with green drakes. By the end of July, we'll start to see green drakes hatching along the lower sections of river,
just as the BWOs begin to fade for a brief month or so.
FLY PATTERNS: MIDGES---DRIES-Hatching Midge, Hi-Vis Griffiths Gnat, CFS Adult Midge EMERGERS-CDC
RS2s, RS2s, Tidbit, Medallion Midge, Biot Midge Pupa NYMPHS-Disco Midge, Glass Bead Midge, Black Beauty,
Mercury Blood Midge, TMidge, Zebras BWOs---DRIES-Roy's Special Emerger, CDC Indicator Para BWO, No Hackle
BWO EMERGERS-Rocky Mtn Emerger BWO, RS2s, Biot Emergers NYMPHS-Black PTs, BTS Baetis PMDs---DRIES-AKs
Melon Quill, AKs Para Quill, Hackle Dun PMD, PMD Cripple, CDC Rusty Spinner EMERGERS-Improved Barr Emerger,
Halfback PMD, Mayhem PMD NYMPHS-Juju PMD, Epoxy WC PMD, CDC Red Wired PMD GREEN DRAKES---NYMPHS-20
Inchers, Poxyback Drakes, AnatoMay Drake, MYSIS-Solitude Mysis, BTS Mysis ATTRACTORS-Rainbow
Warrior, Red Copper John
COLORADO RIVER FROM GLENWOOD SPRINGS
TO RIFLE (Flows Updated 7/27/17)-- 7.5 out of 10 rating: 3,790 cfs at
Glenwood Springs with plenty of clarity (3-4ft+). Runoff has subsided and the river is nice and green and fishing well. The
drake hatch has pushed above Glenwood onto the Roaring Fork, with the most common bugs now being PMDs, caddis and a mix of
stoneflies including yellow sally's. Rubberleg stones, princes, PTs, red CJs, Chubby's and the like are all fishing
well. Most fish are still holding near the banks in any soft water. Keeping your flies in-the-zone and in-the-drink
are key - get as long of a drift as possible. Dry fly anglers are picking up fish midday on Chubby's and other attractors
with good numbers of caddis in the evenings. Selective feeders in the slicks are eating ants, beetles and rusty spinners.
Streamer junkies are doing best using black colorations. Some good streamers to try would include Gongas, Dungeons,
and Double Bunnies.
MONTH FISHING FORECAST: The Mighty Colorado will continue to fish well throughout the month of July. Like
the Roaring Fork, big flies are commonplace for the next week or two. As flows continue to decrease, the size of our flies
too generally decreases in size. Another thought to keep in mind - fish are hugging the banks now BUT will disperse
as flows continue to drop.
BAR ZX RANCH (AKA
LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir. (6 out of 10 rating): This unique high altitude property
has an abundance of fish lurking in it's many lakes and ponds that weigh 15 to 20 pounds, as well as thousands of above-average
sized trout. Bar ZX is in an absolutely beautiful setting at the base of the Ragged Mountains near Paonia Reservoir,
and we are the closest fly shop to it at about one hour away. Bar ZX offers a quality experience to experienced
anglers as well as novices eager to learn the sport in a controlled private setting, and we highly recommend every fly fisherman
passing through our area to fish it at least once. This is not shooting-fish-in-a-barrel fishing. These fish are
large and educated. About every specie of trout known to man seemingly exists here; rainbows, browns, cutts, brookies,
tigers and more. Currently the fishing has been best suspending nymph rigs midday with good streamer fishing in the
mornings and evenings. Rod fees are $125 per person and a guide is required. Call us to make a reservation - 970.963.5741
CRYSTAL RIVER (Flows
Updated 7/27/17): 6 out of 10 rating: 351 cfs
just above Carbondale with good/green clarity and a large volume of water. The water is still high, but more than fishable.
Caddis and PMDs are hatching well with decent numbers of rising fish. If you'd like to avoid the crowds, the Crystal is a
great escape. This is "real" fishing, where the fish aren't huge, often not too selective, and there's not a hundred
fish in every pool - you earn every fish here, and every fish should be celebrated. If in the Redstone area, we invite you
to check out our new store! We are located just over the bridge into town on your left (across from the Redstone Inn).
Call us at 970-963-7359 for up to minute river info. Stop by and check us out! There's some awfully good fishing
going on at Beaver and Lizard Lakes if you're in the Crystal River Valley- let us get you dialed-in!
It is important to cover water on the Crystal. The fish tend to be some of the most opportunistic in our valley,
so if you are fishing a great looking hole and not catching fish (especially if that hole is at a very obvious pullout along
the road), you should move on. It is usually not necessary to work fish over with multiple patterns from your fly box
like it can be on the Frying Pan. Fishermen who cover water and hit the pockets, riffles, and runs above and below
the most obvious and popular holes along the road will usually be rewarded with many more fish the the casual or lazy fisherman
who doesn't move much--just as on any river.
CRYSTAL RIVER PRESERVE AT THE REDSTONE INN: Updated 7/27/17:
6 out of 10 rating. This is a fabulous private property on the Crystal River with a lot
of river frontage --almost one mile--and a lot of fish. This stretch of river is easy to access and easy to fish and
has been fishing very well lately with some large fish being caught. This property is home to a few very large
fish in the 24-26 inch class, that will take you for a wild ride if you're skillful enough to hook into them.
Our guides and clients have had many memorable days here and the Redstone Inn is a great place to round out your day of fishing
with the perfect lunch. There is a stocked pond on the property that is a great warmup or great place to hone in your
casting skills too. Half and full days are available here, and it is possible to fish this property and the Darien Conservancy
property in the same day. PRICING (per person): Half day $45/Full day $85
CRYSTAL RIVER CONSERVANCY: Updated 7/27/17: 7
out of 10 rating. The Darien Property a few miles below Marble is beatiful and wild, and well worth the
45 minute drive from our shop. This stretch of river is about 1 mile long and is truly
wild--featuring a lot of pocket water and wild rainbows, browns, with a few cutthroat and whitefish.
Fishing at the base of Chair Mountain is fabulous, and this unique property is a must for the fisherman
who enjoys serenity and wild fish. Too many private properties in Colorado have a "canned" feel
to them with stocked fish--this is the furthest thing from that. There are no pellet-fed stockers
here. An eighteen inch fish is a large fish up in this neck of the woods (there are a few in the 18
inch class lurking around, but they are rare at this elevation)--most of these fish are 12 to 14 inches,
and this is more of a high-altitude type of fishery than the usual haunts in our valley. We recommend 3 and 4 weight
rods, and in the summer you usually don't have to use a nymph rig--occasionally you may want to hang a
beadhead dropper off a dry fly in the deeper holes. The rod fee is modest--the most affordable we
know of in Colorado--and use is limited to 4 rods per day. You can call or stop by the shop to reserve a date with or
without a guide. We highly recommend this wild property on one of the last truly wild freestone
rivers in Colorado. PRICING (per person): Half day $40/Full day $50
Neutral colored clothing, quiet wading,
and stealthy presentations will help you catch fish wherever you are on the Crystal.