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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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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
 


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FRYING PAN 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


 

 

 

 


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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.


1 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

 

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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 river.
 
 
 
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.


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