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Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 7/27/17

Runoff 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!

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ROARING 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.

UPPER 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. 
HOT 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.


FRYING PAN 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.

HOT 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.

1 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 ratingThis 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.