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Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 9/10/19

Late summer/early fall conditions abounding - hoppers, caddis, BWOs, PMDs

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ROARING FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 9/10/19):  LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs):  7 out of 10 rating: 915 cfs in Glenwood Springs with dropping and clearing water now being abundant. The large flies of early summer are being replaced by the smaller flies of early fall. Caddis, PMDs, Sallies and BWOs are all prevelent. The streamer bite has been getting better and better with the cooler evenings and mornings. Darker colors are seemingly fishing best with yellow and white as good alternates. Look for the best dry fly fishing to take place early and late in the day also - though the midday hopper bite at times has been productive. During the heat of the day expect the majority of fish to be keyed into small BWOs nymphs/emergers in the deeper pools and seams. 


MIDDLE RIVER: (Carbondale to Basalt) 7 out of 10 rating: 646 cfs in Emma with great water clarity.  Similar conditions to the lower river - downsize those flies and tippet with the lower water. Great flows for wading again with increasingly more challenging float fishing conditions (the fish are under the boat!). Covering water is key right now to stay onto the fish. In general focus on nymphing the deeper pools and seams. The better dry fly fishing is often in the riffles and pocket water - good dry/dropper combos include Foamulator/Tung Micro Mayfly and Mini Chubby/Jiggy Prince. Access is easy here too as the road and highway parallel 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. 

UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen)  7 out of 10 rating:  232 cfs below Maroon Creek with superb water clarity and receeding water levels. After a long summer of big water, the flows have finally come down enough to warrant much easier wading. The drakes are now long gone being replaced with caddis, PMDs and BWOs. Smaller golden stoneflies continue to be productive in the riffles and pockets. Fish are often near the banks during early mornings and evening hours making for ideal streamer fishing if you're willing to cover water. In general, fish the bigger flies in faster water and the smaller flies in the softer water. Midday hours are generally conisisting of nymphing smaller PMD and BWO nymphs/emergers in the deeper pools and seams. 

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: As the clear water continues to drop in volume, the fish are becoming easier to target but more difficult to hook. Downsize those leaders, tippet and flies. September is one of the best times of year here for both the fishing and amazing change of fall foliage. Seemingly all techniques can produce at this special time of year - dry fly, wet fly, nymphs and streamers are all effective at times. 
HOT FLY PATTERNS: STONEFLIES--- NYMPHS---Pat's Rubberlegs, BH Yellow Sally, Translucent Sally---DRIES---Chubbys, Fat Alberts, Stimis  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-Prince, 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, Double Bunnies


FRYING PAN RIVER-- (Flows Updated 9/10/19): 6 out of 10:  340 cfs with recently increased flows as of Sept.4th.. The dry fly fishing has fallen off a bit with the higher water but is still fairly decent. Hatches are midday with rusty spinner falls during the evening hours. Nymphing is best with small PMD and BWO patterns in sizes 16-22. Light fluorocarbon tippets of 6x are needed with the small flies and pressured fish. Crowds are heavy, even on weekdays, especially from 9am-5pm. If you want some solitude, fish the lower river or fish early and late in the day. 

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Expect a mix bag of hatches - flavs, BWOs, caddis, midges and PMDs. Sure, the dry fly fishing would be better under lower water but it's still fairly solid. Crowds are still heavy but will lessen over the month.

HOT FLY PATTERNS: PMDs---DRIES-Melon Quills, Para Quill PMDs, Silhouette Dun, Pink Sparklduns EMERGERS-Barr Emerger PMD, Halfback PMD, Olive RS2 NYMPHS-PTs, Poxyback PMD, JujuPMD, Panty Dropper PMD BWOs---DRIES-Roy's Special Emerger, CDC Indicator Para BWO, No Hackle BWO EMERGERS-Rocky Mtn Emerger BWO, RS2s, Biot Emergers NYMPHS-PTs, BTS Baetis, Two Bits, Pandemics, MYSIS-Solitude Mysis, BTS Mysis, BC Mysis 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 9/10/19)-- 7.5 out of 10 rating: 2,910 cfs at Glenwood Springs. Look for the best fishing to be from Glenwood to Silt - below Silt the moss is getting pretty heavy making for difficult fishing. After a big runoff the fish are strong and feeding well. A varied mix of summer and fall insect hatches overlap at this time of year. Stoneflies, both large goldens and small yellow sallies are hatching, along with PMDs, caddis and some BWOs. Rusty spinners and hoppers also are providing some action. Anticipate on the best dry fly fishing to be with caddis and spinners early and late in the day with some hopper fishing midday. Nymphing has been best with a Pat's trailed by a small prince and/or PMD emerger. Many guides are now infactuated with fishing crayfish patterns down here now - but knowing where to fish them is key though! Streamer fishing is still picking up but overall is fairly steady any time the light is less intense. Darker colored streamers are dominating now but as we get closer to fall yellow, orange, rust and brown become effective.
1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST:  Give us a call for daily river reports and water conditions - 970.963.5741  -We're getting close!

BAR ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir.  (5 out of 10 rating): Hot summer conditions make for less than ideal fishing here right now BUT the coming fall weather will cool the ponds and make for some hot fishing!  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 9/10/19):  7.5 out of 10 rating above Redstone - 145 cfs in Redstone/110cfs in Carbondale with great water clarity. You'd be hard pressed to find better hopper/dry fly fishing anywhere in the valley! The Crystal has been fishing real well after a big runoff with hearty, opportunistic fish. Though the river isn't home to big fish in general, the solitude and willingness of these eager fish more than make up for that. Hatches are consisting of drakes (Marble), PMDs, caddis and hoppers (throughout). High floating, bouyant, low-maintenance dries are favored including: Foamulators, Mini Chubbys, Sandwhich Hoppers, Royal Wulff Cripples and Foam Flying Ants. The best dry fly fishing is certainly best the farther up the river you go. If you want/have to nymph small beadhead attractors like Tung Princes, CJs, Tung PTs and Micro Mayflies in sizes 16-18 are fishing. Midday on the lower river below Redstone and in Carbondale, dry/dropper rigs are best. 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 at the Redstone Mountain Mercantile!  
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 9/10/19: 9 out of 10 rating! Perhaps the best fishing on the entire river and easily the largest fish. The best fishing of the year is taking place here right now - join us now as reservations are very limited!  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.  There is still a lot of water out there but the soft water has been very well - perfect for a half or 3/4 day outing. 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.  Hatches are currently consisting of hoppers, ants, caddis and PMDs. 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 9/10/19:  8 out of 10 rating.  If you like pocket water and wild fish, this beautiful property is for you! 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.
*NEW 2019* UPPER CRYSTAL RIVER AT THE CRYSTAL MILL:  Updated 9/10/19:  8 out of 10 rating! Sick of combat fishing? Step back in history with us and fish the pristine headwaters of the Crystal River on 5 miles of private water at the Crystal Mill. Crystal Fly Shop has exclusive rights to guide on this private stetch of wild river that rivals any trout fishing you've experienced anywhere. Remote access is provided by us via Jeep or ATV on the rugged jeep road to the Mill. $125 rod fee per person plus guide fees---we provid the gear and lunch. Full Day or 3/4 day trips only. Experience the purity of what fly fishing was like on a wild river 100 years ago before Instagram, Facebook and Twitter ruined so many places. Wild cutthroats, brook trout, rainbows and cutbows in the 10 to 16 inch class and some of the best insect life and hatches in Colorado. The season is July 15 to October 15 and space is limited---ask us for more details and book today! PRICING - $125/person plus guide fees.
Neutral colored clothing, quiet wading, and stealthy presentations will help you catch fish wherever you are on the Crystal.