Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 4/10/19
Caddis are right around the corner - so is runoff - get it in now!
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headquarters and let us get you dialed-in or visit our new location on the Crystal River in Redstone.
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ROARING FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 4/10/19): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale
to Glenwood Springs): 2 out of 10 rating: 940 cfs in Glenwood Springs with
rapidly increasing water flows due to periods of warmth and a big snowpack. The rating is widely variable due
to early pre-runoff and low lying snow melt. Cool days have subsided runoff with water visibility up to 2-4ft. Warm days are
rendering runoff conditions and muddy, unfishable water. The days are getting longer, and slowly warmer too. The fish begin
to take notice as midges and BWOs finally hatch in good numbers making the fishing quite good when the water is clear. Stonefly
nymphs are active and being seen with good regularity. The dog-days of winter are behind us! Generally speaking, the fish
are still in their winter holding areas (deep, slow pools and seams), especially early in the day. Once the warmth of afternoon
sun kicks in the midges will begin to hatch and the fish will follow them into riffles and later, the backeddies. Increasing
numbers of BWOs are being seen daily (even a very few early caddis or two!). Midges dominate early and late in the day while
the BWOs seem to be the preference during afternoons. The best fishing is most often from noon to 5pm right now. Stoneflies
of various flavors and sizes are fishing well including the rare (and large) Skwala. Favorites include 20 Inchers, Princes,
Rubberlegs and Zirdles in #10-18. Eggs are picking up fish here and there too but are not as reliant as they were back in
November and December. Basic midge patterns covering all stages of life in sizes #18-22 will play ball. We're fond of Zebra's
in black and red, RS-2's in black and gray, and dries like the Roy's Special Emerger, Hi-Vis Clusters, Stillborns and Trailing
Shuck Midge Emergers. Some surprising numbers of risers are being seen! Come find out why this is such a special time of year!
Tax time is generally the beginning of the caddis hatch - might be a bit later this year but still fairly close. Obviously
various flavors of caddis adults, emergers and nymphs in sizes 14-18 are ideal. Get ready for the end of Fifth-Season and
the beginning of Spring!
RIVER: (Carbondale to Basalt) 5 out of 10 rating: 466 cfs
in Emma with rapidly increasing flows and variable water clarity and fishing conditions. Expect the same fishing
conditions as the Lower River with the exception of it's reliability - which is BETTER due to being above the Crystal River
(the frequent cause of mud below Carbondale on the Roaring Fork). Access is probably easier here too as the road and highway
parallel s the river closely. Two Rivers Road, 7-11 Bridge, Hooks Bridge, Catherines Store and Gianetti access areas are all
great options to jump into the river and wet your line. As the days slowly continue to warm and lengthen, the fishing will
too continue to pick up. The nymph fishing has been solid on most any warm day. The dry fly fishing is still picking up and
is more consistent on the lower river. Give us a call for daily water conditions and clarity reports - 970.963.5741
UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 6.5 out
of 10 rating: N/A cfs (ice on guage) below Maroon Creek with perfect
clarity and the ideal place on the river to avoid runoff. If you're willing to trounce through the snow you'll have seemingly
an entire river to yourself. Yes, there's still lots of snow up here! Access is not easy due to the good snowpack but some
seriously good fishing can be had. Like other stretches of river on the Fork, the weather will dictate the fishing. Powder
days are a winter anglers holiday too! Fish the deep pools, seams and pockets. Where you find one fish, there's probably another.
Follow the sun to stay warm and fish with a fixed amount of line to prevent ice build-up in your guides. Though the fishing
isn't easy here, it will reward you with some of the prettiest and largest fish in the entire river system. Flies and tactics
are similar to the Middle and Lower river with the exception of better sight-fishing due to the low water levels.
ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Watch the weather
and plan accordingly! Caddis should show up in the coming week or two!
HOT FLY PATTERNS:
STONEFLIES--- NYMPHS---Pat's Rubberlegs, 20 Inchers, Soft Shell Golden, Prince,
Black CJs ATTRACTORS---Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Worms, Eggs MIDGES---DRIES-Cluster Midge, Trailing Shuck Midge Emerger, Bills Midge Adult, Griffiths, Stillborn
Foam Midge EMERGERS-RS2's, Biot Midge Emerger, Pulsating Emerger, Rojos, CDC Loopwing Black LARVA-Zebra
Midge, UFOs, Mercury Black Beauty, FlashBangs, T.Midge 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, Darth Baetis, PTs, Micro Mayfly Brown CADDIS---NYMPHS-Cold War Caddis, Little Caddis Pupa, Breadcrust, BH Electric Caddis, BH
Western Coachman, Electric Caddis, Prince EMERGERS - Partridge Caddis, Zaddis, Sparkle Pupa DRIES-
Foam Stimi's, Foamulators, EthaWing Caddis, Goddard, Elk Hairs STREAMERS--- Skully Bugger, Mini Sex Dungeon, Sculpzilla, Beldar Bugger, Baby Gonga, Cofey Minnows
RIVER-- (Flows Updated 4/10/19): 7 out of 10: 107 cfs with
perfect clarity and recently increased water flows. Longer days and more sunshine and warmth have awakened the fish and bugs!
Some seriously great numbers of rising fish are being seen nearly daily during the afternoons and early evenings. Where else
can you find rising fish, good hatches and great dry fly fishing - ah, the Frying Pan. 95% of the fishing pressure is taking
place in the top four miles below the dam BUT good fishing and hatches throughout are being seen on most days. Recent outings
have found that the exact fly pattern hasn't mattered nearly as much as it's size, color and MOVEMENT. Skating and skittering
midge dries is often just as effective as dead drifting them! Light tippets of 6x and 7x fluoro and small size #20-24 midges
in black and gray are best. Nymph fishing has been good using the usual mysis shrimp, various dark BWO nymphs and small midge
larva and emergers in black, red, white and gray. Spawners are all over the place in the Flats - please watch where
you're wading and don't fish to actively spawning fish. We see anglers (and guides!) DAILY disturbing actively spawning fish,
especially in the Flats. Seeing large rainbows (and some browns too) in skinny water is apparantly too much to resist for
those who know better than to harass these fish. Education is key!
MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Expect the midge hatch to intensifly each and every week. A small number of early BWOs
will most likely be seen near the dam in the next month or so. Flows should remain stable. Like elsewhere - pick the warmest
days for the best and most comfortable fishing.
HOT FLY PATTERNS:
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, Two Bits, Pandemics, MYSIS-Solitude
Mysis, BTS Mysis, BC Mysis ATTRACTORS-Egg patterns (small) MIDGES---DRIES-Hatching
Midge, Hi-Vis Griffiths Gnat, CFS Adult Midge, Trailing Shuck Midge, Stillborn Midge EMERGERS-CDC RS2s,
RS2s, Tidbit, Medallion Midge, Biot Midge Pupa, Pulsating Emerger NYMPHS-Disco Midge Red, Glass Bead
Midge, Black Beauty, Mercury Blood Midge, TMidge
COLORADO RIVER FROM GLENWOOD SPRINGS
TO RIFLE (Flows Updated 4/10/19)-- 2 out of 10 rating: 2,690 cfs at Glenwood
Springs with poor water clarity and rapidly increasing flows due to the weather. The low-lying snowpack is melting and multiple
tributaries are feeding mud into the river. Once the fish get a little used to the runoff and clarity is a foot or more (hinging
on the weather), the fishing will pick up a bit as the caddis hatch en masse. The usual nymph stuff is working including stoneflies,
small attractors and various caddis and high-water flies. Keep moving around until you find the fish. Often overlooked by
those fishing the Lower Colorado, these fish LOVE to suspend during hatches. Don't be afraid to run some shallow, mid-column
nymph/emerger rigs if you're struggling out there. Baetis have been seen in increasing numbers weekly.
1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Give us a call for daily
river reports and water conditions - 970.963.5741
ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir. (7 out of 10 rating): The perfect place
to avoid runoff! 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 4/10/19): 0 out of 10 rating 325 cfs in Carobondale
with poor water clarity. We're in runoff mode and it might be a while this year for the river to come back into consisant
shape. No one knows the Crystal River better than Crystal Fly Shops! Come on in either of our stores and let us dial
you in. 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!
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
CRYSTAL RIVER PRESERVE AT THE REDSTONE INN: Updated 4/10/19: 2 out of 10 rating. See you in
Summer - runoff conditions now. This is a fabulous private property on the Crystal River with
a lot of river frontage --almost one mile--and a lot of fish. It is also our backyard and adjacent to our satellite location
in Redstone. 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 plus guide fee.
CRYSTAL RIVER CONSERVANCY: Updated 4/10/19: 0 out
of 10 rating. See you in Summer - currently runoff conditions! The Darien Property a few miles below
Marble is beatiful and wild, and well worth the 45 minute drive from our Carbondale 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--one of 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 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/ 3/4 Day $60/
Full day $80 plus guide fee.
Neutral colored clothing, quiet wading, and stealthy presentations will help you catch
fish wherever you are on the Crystal.