Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 5/1/19
Caddis are here - so is runoff - get ready for spring conditions!
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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 5/1/19): LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale
to Glenwood Springs): 1 out of 10 rating: 2,310 cfs in Glenwood Springs with
rapidly increasing water flows due to periods of warmth and a big snowpack. 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 caddis and BWOs
finally hatch in good numbers making the fishing quite good when the water is clear enough to fish (a foot of more of viz).
Stonefly nymphs are active and being seen with good regularity. The dog-days of winter are behind us! Generally speaking,
fly pattern is less important than water-type being fished at this time of year. Worms, eggs, stoneflies, caddis and drake
nymphs are all great patterns to fish. 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.
MIDDLE RIVER: (Carbondale
to Basalt) 3 out of 10 rating: 837 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 serious
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. Fish the soft and slow water - where you find one fish there's probably more. Short and
heavy rigs on big tippets are sufficient. 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 as conditions dictate.
Give us a call for daily water conditions and clarity reports - 970.963.5741
UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen) 6 out of 10 rating: 276
cfs below Maroon Creek with good clarity and the ideal place on the river to avoid runoff. Like other stretches
of river on the Fork, the weather will dictate the fishing. Fish the deep pools, seams and pockets. Where you find one fish,
there's probably another. 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. The rainbows are still spawning up here and redds are prevelent in many areas - please don't
fish to actively spawning fish.
ONE MONTH FISHING
FORECAST: The best fishing will certainly take place along the upper river this entire month. Runoff is here
to stay (with very short periods of clarity) and won't be going away anytime soon. Look for conditions to change in late June.
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
RIVER-- (Flows Updated 5/1/19): 7 out of 10: 142 cfs with
goodclarity and increasing water flows due to runoff from Rocky Fork Creek. 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. 80%
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/bwo 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 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 BWO hatch to intensifly each and every week.
The midge hatch has been fairly solid daily. Often the hatch starts and finishes with midges and BWO punctuated inbetween.
Flows should remain fairly stable while Ruedi Reservoir fills. As other fisheries falter with runoff the Frying Pan stays
fishable the vast majority of the time!
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 5/1/19)-- 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 high-water, runoff nymph stuff is
working including worms, stoneflies, attractors and various caddis and high-water flies. Keep moving around until you find
1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST:
Give us a call for daily river reports and water conditions - 970.963.5741 Probably won't be fishable
until late June.
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 5/1/19): 0 out of 10 rating 932 cfs in Carbondale 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 5/1/19: 5
out of 10 rating. Wildly variable with runoff right now - day to day water clarity. 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 5/1/19: 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.