Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 8/2/18
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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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 8/2/18): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs): 7.5
out of 10 rating: 494 cfs in Glenwood Springs with good clarity and decreasing
water flows. 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. Yellow sally's, PMDs, caddis and large golden stones are all hatching
in good numbers. Flows are low for the time of year and fishing conditions are truly exceptional right now in the morning
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 in the
day with the best dry fly fishing taking place midday in the riffles. Skate, skitter, bump and move your caddis dries for
the best success, while dead-drifting the mayflies and stoneflies. 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. As the river continues to drop in volume, our flies will also decrease
in size. Little baetis nymphs and emergers are key for pressured fish.
MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale) 8 out of 10 rating: 345
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 lower the water temps, 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-medium sized chubbies with a brace of small beadheads trailing behind will catch plenty of fish. Good evening
hatches of caddis are being seen most every night. Yellow sally and PMD nymphs are great midday flies. Floating this section
via raft is not as productive this summer due to the low water (meaning you're often floating right over the top of the fish).
Due to the 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 though!
UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 8 out of 10 rating: N/A
cfs below Maroon Creek (28 cfs in town of Aspen) 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 (hatches). As the river continues to drop in volume,
look for the water temps to rise. If the monsoons kick in and stay around, the water temps will certainly drop and the fishing
will pick up even more so. The lower river is fishing about as good as it gets in the way of dry fly fishing this summer.
Don't overlook the faster sections of river (riffles, pocket water, runs) using hoppers, stones and chubbies. Come September,
the hopper and streamer fishing will pick up more so.
HOT FLY PATTERNS: STONEFLIES--- NYMPHS---Pat's
Rubberlegs, 20 Inchers, Soft Shell Golden, DRIES- Chubbies, Foamulators, Clodhoppers, 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 8/2/18): 8.5 out of 10: 199 cfs
today with perfect clarity. No worries with high water temps here - the Frying Pan is a tailwater where the flows are consistantly
cool and manageable. The fishing has substantially picked-up now that green drakes and 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, with varying densities
of drakes. Light tippets of 6x and 7x are needed for the low and clear water being fished. Downstream drifts aid in hooking
"picky" fish on the dry - allowing you present the FLY to the fish first instead of your line. 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: Weekend crowds are borderline unbeareable, with weekday crowds slightly less so. But hey, when you're
on a world famous trout stream at the absolute peak time of year, what do you expect? If it wasn't busy, then something's
wrong. Flows are expected to stay around this level most of the summer providing good dry fly fishing and easy wading. The
infamous Frying Pan serratella should hopefully start hatching in the next 2-3 weeks. No one knows this hatch
as well as our very own, Kirk Webb, who's researched, studied and fished this hatch with entomologists, scientists and other
serratella junkies over the course of many years. His articles on the subject speak for themselves.
HOT FLY PATTERNS: GREEN DRAKES---DRIES-GD Comparadun, Paradrake, Hairwing Drake, Henwing
Drake EMERGERS-Soft Hackle GD, Stalcups GD NYMPHS-Crown Jewel, 20 Incher, AnatoDrake 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) 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 8/2/18)-- 7.5 out of 10 rating but widely variable: 2,030 cfs at
Glenwood Springs with decent greenish water clarity. 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. Lately though, temps have
subsided to the low-mid 60s due to reservoir releases and summer monsoons. This is why the fishing "rating" is widely
variable. Cooler temps equate to good fishing and vice-versa. If planning an outing to the Big River, go in the early morning
hours when water temps are the most favorable. TAKE THE TIME TO FULLY REVIVE YOUR CATCH! Assuming temps are cool - Good Chub/Rub
and Hopper/Dropper fishing with equally good streamer fishing. Nymphs are consisting of Prince, PTs, red CJs, sunken spinners,
and small #18-20 baetis.
MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Give us a call for up-to-date conditions on water temps and clarity - 970.963.5741
BAR ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia
Reservoir. (0 out of 10 rating): CLOSED till water temps decrease (September). 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 8/2/18): 7.5 out of 10 rating: above Redstone/Marble, 1 out of 10 below Avalanche Creek
65 cfs in Redstone (7!!!cfs in Carbondale) with amazingly good clarity (Crystal-clear)and
ideal conditions. The Crystal is rockin' right now and fishing very well along the upper river! (lower river should be avoided
with a flow of 7!cfs) 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 upper river near Marble. Good numbers of rising fish are being
found daily. 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.
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 8/2/18: 7.5 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. This property is currently closing at 2PM due to high water temps in the afternoon, so full days
must start early. PRICING (per person): Half day $45/Full day $85 plus guide fee.
CRYSTAL RIVER CONSERVANCY: Updated 8/2/18: 8.5
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 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.