Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 6/14/18
Still plenty of fishing options through runoff including the Frying Pan, upper Crystal and the middle/upper
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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ROARING FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 6/14/18): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs): 8.5
out of 10 rating: 1,540 cfs in Glenwood Springs with good clarity and decreasing
water flows. Go time!!! Green drakes, caddis, PMDs and yellow sally's are all hatching in good numbers. Flows are low for
the time of year and fishing conditions are truly exceptional right now...take advantage before the river possibly gets too
low and warm to fish later this summer. The best fishing during the summer most often takes place early and late in the day.
That said, the midday fishing is still solid but simply not as good as those coveted early morning and late evening hours.
Overcast days (rare) have produced some insanely good midday fishing as of late also. It's fishing; conditions can change.
Be flexible and enjoy your time on the water; the fish are the bonus! Streamer fishing has been good early and late in the
day with the best dry fly fishing taking place in the evenings. Skate, skitter, bump and move your caddis dries for the best
success, while dead-drifting those green drakes. Nymphing has consisted of small-medium sized generic attractor patterns like
Princes, PTs, CJs and the like. Stonefly and drake nymphs like 20 Inchers and Rubberlegs are good fast-water attractors. Yellow
sally's are starting to come on strong. DRAKES ARE BEING SEEN FROM CARBONDALE-GLENWOOD.
MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale) 7.5 out of 10 rating: 786
cfs at Emma (Basalt) with green water clarity and decreasing flows. Same conditions and techniques as the lower
river less the green drake hatches. Though not fishing quite as well as the lower, the middle river is still fishing well
with much less in the way in fishing pressure (thank you Frying Pan and green drakes on the lower Fork). Due to the smaller
size of the river in this stretch, dry/dropper rigs fish better here than on the lower river. Small chubbies with a brace
of small beadheads trailing behind will catch plenty of fish.
UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 7 out of 10 rating: 400
cfs below Maroon Creek with perfect clarity. Now that the river is dropping in volume (quickly), the fishing has
dramatically picked-up. Fish are spread throughout the river now; deep pits, seams and pools as well as in the abundant pocket-water.
Look for similar conditions/techniques as the middle river to take place. Covering water is key up here to stay onto the fish
throughout the course of the day. Due to the smaller river size up here, fishing lighter tippets and smaller flies is
more commonplace. Stealthy approaches and casts pay off in spades. A mixed bag of caddis, PMDs, stoneflies and BWOs are being
seen. Fly selection is often dictated on water type being fished (big bugs in fast water, small bugs in soft water). Pressure
is fairly high within the first mile of Jaffe and Stein Parks but scarce between. Hint - Do a little hiking to gain solitude.
ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Fish the river now!
Everything's early this summer (runoff, green drakes etc.). As the river continues to drop in volume, look for the water temps
to rise. The lower river is fishing about as good as it gets. In another month, that won't be the case. Come August, the best
fishing on the Roaring Fork will take place below the confluence of the Frying Pan up to Aspen and Independence Pass. Enjoy
our good fishing while we have it right now. Later this summer we'll branch out and fish the high-elevation waters to give
our lower valley fish a well needed reprieve.
HOT FLY PATTERNS: STONEFLIES--- NYMPHS---Pat's
Rubberlegs, 20 Inchers, Soft Shell Golden, GREEN DRAKES---NYMPHS---20 Inchers, Crown Jewel GD, DRIES---Perrins
GD Comparadun, Hen Wing GD, Royal Wulffs, H&L Variants, Dry Ice Drake, Tiltwing GD, Cripple GD ATTRACTORS---Prince,
Rainbow Warrior, Worms PMDs---DRIES-CDC Comparaduns, PMD Cripples, Melon Quills EMERGERS-Halfback
PMD, Swissy's, Barr Emerger PMD, NYMPHS-Panty Droppers, Poxybacks, Mayhems, Mac Grubers, 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 EMERGERS-Soft Hackles, Partridge Caddis, Halo Caddis, ZWings DRIES-Foam Elk Hairs,
Unsinkable Caddis, Stimis, Ginger Variant STREAMERS--- Skully Bugger, Mini Sex Dungeon, Sculpzilla, Beldar Bugger, Baby Gonga, Cofey Minnows
RIVER-- (Flows Updated 6/14/18): 6 out of 10: 112 cfs
today with perfect clarity. Fishing well throughout the river now including the middle and lower river! Midges are the name
of the game during late mornings with BWOs dominating by midday. Light tippets of 6x and 7x are needed for the small flies
being fished. Midge larva patterns in red, gray and black are best during the morning hours prior to hatches. Baetis nymphs
like PTs, BTS Baetis, Panty Droppers and the like are equally good. Midday count on various emerger patterns like RS2s, Barr
Emergers and the like fishing well behind a midge or BWO dry. A few PMDs have started to hatch along the bottom half of the
river now. In addition, light hatches of stoneflies are still being seen on the lower river. Fishing is not bad right now
- the low ranking is due to other area waters simply fishing that much better.
ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: The days are getting longer and longer and the fishing
is getting better and better. Weekend crowds are borderline unbeareable, with weekday crowds slightly less so. Flows are expected
to stay around this level most of the summer providing good dry fly fishing and easy wading. By the end of the month, PMDs
will dominate hatches with sprinklings of green drakes on the middle and lower river. By August, green drakes will be abundant
throughout. Want to avoid the crowds on the Pan? Easy! Fish early, fish late and get away from the dam.
HOT FLY PATTERNS: 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, 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, PMDS---DRIES- Melon
Quill, Sparkleduns, TiltWings, CutWing Dun, Catch PMD, Yarn Rusty Spinner EMERGERS-Barr Emerger, Halfback,
Olive Soft Hackle, NYMPHS-Panty Droppers, CJ's Red, PTs, Poxybacks MYSIS-Solitude Mysis,
BTS Mysis, BC Mysis CADDIS---DRIES-Neversink Caddis, X-Caddis, Foam Stimis, EMERGERS-Soft
Hackle Peacock, Partridge & Orange, Partridge & Green, NYMPHS-Electric Caddis, Breadcrust, Halo Emerger, ATTRACTORS-Egg
COLORADO RIVER FROM GLENWOOD SPRINGS
TO RIFLE (Flows Updated 6/14/18)-- 8 out of 10 rating: 3,500 cfs at Glenwood
Springs with good/green water clarity. It's on and fishing well! A few green drakes are still fluttering around Glenwood,
but most have moved up the Roaring Fork. Good hatches of PMDs and yellow sally's have been common. Streamer junkies will want
to focus on the morning hours. Dryfly-or-die types should focus on the shallow braids/riffles midday and under the shade.
Evenings have yielded a superb "Power-Hour" with fish looking up gorging on caddis and the occassional PMD. Nymphing
has been solid now with small caddis and sally nymphs, as well as Rubberleg Stones and smallish sized attractors like princes
MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Fish it now! Due to the low water/runoff this year, water temps will steadily
be increasing. In another 4-6 weeks, we very well might be limited to fishing the cool periods of the day only. Enough of
the doom and gloom though - fishing is ON right now. Get out there and enjoy it!
BAR ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir. (7 out of
10 rating): If you've never had shots at BIG trout (or if you simply love BIG trout), this very well might be
your best opportunity. 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 6/14/18): 6 out of 10 rating: above Redstone, 5 out of 10 below Redstone
459 cfs just above Carbondale with amazingly good clarity. Like other valley rivers
in higher elevations, hatches are consisting of caddis and PMDs for the most part with drakes right around the corner... Good/decent
numbers of rising fish can be found daily again. Keep your rigs light, the flies fairly small, and cover water with the utmost
of stealth. This is perfect water for dry fly and dry/dropper fishing techniques. Make a cast or two in each likely pocket
and move on to the next. Don't be stagnant - cover water! These are much spookier fish than those you'd find on the Fork and
Pan. 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
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.
RIVER PRESERVE AT THE REDSTONE INN: Updated 6/14/18: 7 out of 10 rating. Really kickin' into high gear! 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
RIVER CONSERVANCY: Updated 6/14/18: 5 out of 10 rating.
The river is quickly becoming more and more fishable - literally daily! This section of river near Marble
really starts to pick up this month. As other lower elevation waters suffer the effects of runoff, the upper Crystal typically
stays in beautiful shape. 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--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
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/ 3/4 Day $60/ Full day $80
Neutral colored clothing, quiet wading,
and stealthy presentations will help you catch fish wherever you are on the Crystal.