HomeFishing ReportGuide TripsLodging & Guide ProfilesOur Shop



Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 4/10/19

Caddis are right around the corner - so is runoff - get it in now!

Stop on by our Carbondale headquarters and let us get you dialed-in or visit our new location on the Crystal River in Redstone.




for periodic updates (every 4-8 weeks) on important river events and hatches, special sales at the shop and our online store. Simply type "Subscribe" in your e-mail, and we will gladly take any other questions, comments, or requests from you. 


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! 

MIDDLE 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


FRYING PAN 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!

ONE 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

BAR 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 river.
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.