Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 6/27/18
Best fishing will be on the upper elevation rivers, streams, creeks and lakes this summer. Lower elevation
rivers (Roaring Fork below Carbondale and the Colorado River) are best early in the mornings and should be avoided after 2pm
due to increasingly high water temps. Get out there now - fishing has been solid!
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ROARING FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 6/27/18): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs): 7.5
out of 10 rating: 926 cfs in Glenwood Springs with good clarity and decreasing
water flows. Go time!!! As mentioned above, water temps have started to hit the upper 60's, thusly the best fishing has been
in the morning hours. After 2pm, fishing should be avoided to not stress the fish any further. Carry a stream thermometer
with you this summer - when temps reach over 68'f fishing should be avoided. 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 ASPEN-GLENWOOD.
MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale) 8
out of 10 rating: 548 cfs at Emma (Basalt) with green water clarity and
decreasing flows. Same conditions and techniques as the lower river (but with the cooler water of the Frying Pan aiding to
cool water the temps down making the afternoons more viable here than the lower river). 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. Good evening hatches of green drakes and caddis are being seen most every night.
Yellow sally and PMD nymphs are great midday flies. Due to water temp concerns on the lower Roaring Fork, expect more traffic
in this stretch of river than usual. Fishing has still been pretty rippin' out there!
UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 8.5 out of
10 rating: N/A 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. 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 drakes 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. Due to water temp
concerns on the lower Roaring Fork this summer, expect some the best fishing to take place up on the upper river this year
where water temps are cool and more favorable.
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 July, 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.
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 6/27/18): 7.5 out of 10: 110 cfs
today with perfect clarity. No worries with high water temps here - the Frying Pan is a tailwater where flows are consistantly
cool and manageable. The fishing has substantially picked-up now that the PMDs are hatching daily! Midges and small baetis
nymphs/emergers are best in the morning hours. By midday look for PMDs to dominate the menu. Light tippets of 6x and 7x are
needed for the small flies and low and clear water being fished. Plenty of rising fish to cast to during the afternoons with
PMDs and BWOs both in decent/good numbers. Downstream drifts aid in hooking "picky" fish on the dry - allowing you
present the FLY to the fish first instead of your line. Green drakes will start to come on in the coming week or two along
the lower and middle river. By the end of July, drakes should be all the way up near the dam. As per the ususal on the Pan,
summer crowds are heavy, especially on weekends. Rusty spinner falls during the evenings and early morning hours have been
solid and sometimes substantial.
ONE MONTH FISHING
FORECAST: The days are 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 patterns (small)
COLORADO RIVER FROM GLENWOOD SPRINGS
TO RIFLE (Flows Updated 6/27/18)-- 7.5 out of 10 rating: 2,390 cfs at Glenwood
Springs with good/green water clarity. It's on and fishing well (for now)! As mentioned above, water temps have been
increasing rapidly. Carry a stream thermometer with you this summer - when water temps reach 68'f your fishing should cease.
We've already been getting readings of 66-68'f the past few days. If planning an outing to the Big River, go in the early
morning hours when water temps are more favorable. TAKE THE TIME TO FULLY REVIVE YOUR CATCH! 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 and CJs.
1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Fish it now! Due to the low water/runoff this
year, water temps will steadily be increasing. Enough of the doom and gloom though - fishing is ON for right now. Get out
there and enjoy it!
BAR ZX RANCH (AKA
LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir. (5 out of 10 rating): Water temps are rapidly increasing - we suggest
fishing elsewhere this summer. 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 6/27/18): 8.5 out of 10 rating: above Redstone, 7 out of 10 below Redstone
174 cfs just above Carbondale (237 cfs in Redstone) with amazingly good clarity and
ideal conditions. The Crystal is rockin' right now and fishing very well! Like other valley rivers in higher elevations, hatches
are consisting of caddis and PMDs for the most part with sporadic green drake hatches being seen on the lower river.
Good numbers of rising fish can be found daily again. Remember - it is far more important to fish the right water type than
having the "right" fly. 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 - perhaps some of the best in the entire valley! 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. Water temps are not an issue on the lower Crystal River yet - go out there and
enjoy it. The higher elevation water above Redstone and Marble are nice and cool and is the perfect place to beat the heat
(and crowds) this summer! 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 6/27/18: 8.5 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
CRYSTAL RIVER CONSERVANCY: Updated 6/27/18: 7.5
out of 10 rating. It's on! The fishing has taken off much earlier than ususal this summer! This
section of river near Marble has really started to pick up. As other lower elevation waters suffer the effects of high water
temps and poor fishing, the upper Crystal stays in absolutely 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.