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Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 5/13/17.

Spring conditions are here - caddis, stoneflies, BWOs, worms - runoff has begun with variable fishing conditions



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ROARING FORK RIVER (Flows Updated 5/13/17):  LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs):  2 out of 10 rating:   2,350 cfs in Glenwood Springs with decent but variable clarity ABOVE the Crystal River and poor visibility below. With the warmer weather of spring beginning to take hold, the fishing has tapered off with runoff conditions being present.  The name of the game right now is generally streamer or nymph fishing the banks and other soft pockets of water.  The streamer fishing has been fairly steady, with obviously overcast/gray days providing the best opportunities. Nymphing has been best using generic runoff attractors (stoneflies, worms, caddis larva, drake nymphs), as well as smaller dropper patterns like princes, CJs, and PTs.  At times, it can even be well worth ditching the nymph or streamer stick in lieu of some Dry Shake and a Stimi (stimulators cover both caddis and stonefly adults).  Crowds are thin. Take advantage of the runoff conditions...the results just might surprise.

MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale)  4 out of 10 rating:  972 cfs at Emma with moderate clarity (1-2ft). The streamer and nymph has been very consistent daily with sporadic numbers of risers during caddis and BWO hatches.  Stoneflies, worms and caddis larva patterns are all great lead/point/attractor flies, with small baetis and caddis emergers as dropper flies.  The streamer fishing has certainly picked up and if timed right, can be the fly of the day outproducing nymphs.  Animate your streamers using your rod tip, taking in the slack line after each pull of your fly.  Better colors have seemed to be black, white and yellow.  Midday hatches have generally been fairly light (excluding dank periods of overcast) but are consisting of predominately BWOs and caddis. This section finally has enough water to make it floatable (in a raft) again. 

UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen)  4 out of 10 rating:   395 CFS below Maroon Creek with decent-good clarity (2-3ft). Nymphing tiny and shiney flies below a larger attractor nymph is a pretty good rule of thumb up here right now.  Covering water is also an absolute necessity to stay on fish whether you're chucking big pieces of meat around or little nymphs.  Don't be too surprised to find more numbers of rising fish on this section of the Roaring Fork compared to others - the water is lower and clearer here, which helps keep the fish looking up for food during late afternoons and early evenings.  Expect mostly BWOs and caddis in the way of hatches with sporadic number of stoneflies. 

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Runoff is here. Keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly.  Ideally, the best fishing will take place during cold spells where the volume and clarity of the river improves.  WE LOVE RUNOFF FISHING! You heard me right - if you know how to conquer the high and muddy water, you'll find plenty of fish amongst zero crowds - this is the new and last secret fishing season in the Roaring Fork Valley. The beauty, tranquility, solitude and surprisingly GOOD fishing are why we live your vacation.  Join one of our experienced guides so we can show you the splendors and secrets of fishing during "mud-season".
HOT FLY PATTERNS: 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, Black PTs, Micro Mayfly Brown STONEFLIES---DRIES- Stimulator, PMX, Triple Decker NYMPHS---Pat's Rubberlegs, 20 Inchers, 20 Inch Bomb, Soft Shell Golden, Black PTs, BH Zug Bug CADDIS---DRIES---Elk Hair, Renegades, Neversink, EthaWings NYMPHS- Electric Caddis, Buckskin ATTRACTORS---Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Worms  STREAMERS--- Skully Bugger, Sex Dungeon, Sculpzilla, Poxyhead Sculpin, Beldar Bugger, Baby Gonga, Coffey's Sparkle Minnow.


FRYING PAN RIVER-- (Flows Updated 5/13/17): 6 out of 10:  253 cfs today with perfect clarity.  Look for predominately BWOs and midges with a random caddis eat or two in the way of hatches.  Flows have recently been increased to make room for Ruedi Reservoir to fill during spring runoff.  Fishing in the Flats below the dam should be avoided due to spawning fish (rainbows) and masses of beds. When nymphing, focus on small (#18-24) and dark baetis patterns with midge or baetis emergers as droppers.  It can often be best to get your flies near the bottom but not on the bottom on this river.  Midday hatches are increasing as the fish get used to their higher flows with patient dry fly junkies finding risers to cast to.  Just be sure to be fishing light fluorocarbon tippets (we like Trouthunter 6.5x or 7x ) with downstream drifts to picky rising fish.  Want to throw something bigger?  The streamer fishing is still pretty solid, particularly in the shade.  Small, heavy and natural imitations are best.  Poke your head in the shop and we'll dial you in on the best flavors.  Crowds are increasing as most other fisheries in the Rocky Mountain West are blown-out with runoff conditions.  The middle and lower river have been much less fishing pressure. 

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST:  Runoff fishing at its best! Crowds are still low early in the month on the Fryingpan despite its good year-round fishing and ideal water temperatures.  The Pan is truly one of the best tailwater trout fisheries around. Despite the 6 out of 10 ranking, a 6 on the Pan is like an 8 or 9 anywhere else in the country...we're just honest, that's all.  Look for the BWO hatches to remain steady and for caddis to increase in numbers as we roll into June.  PMDs will make an appearance by the end of the month along the lower river, giving us a glimpse of things to come.  Dress in layers, carry a rain jacket, and you'll be well prepared.

HOT FLY PATTERNS: MIDGES---DRIES-Hatching Midge, Hi-Vis Griffiths Gnat, CFS Adult Midge EMERGERS-CDC RS2s, Sparklewing RS2s, Tidbit, Medallion Midge, Biot Midge Pupa NYMPHS-Disco Midge, Glass Bead Midge, Black Beauty, Mercury Blood Midge, TMidge, Zebras 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 MYSIS-Solitude Mysis, BTS Mysis ATTRACTORS-Eggs, Rainbow Warrior, Red Copper John






COLORADO RIVER FROM GLENWOOD SPRINGS TO RIFLE (Flows Updated 5/13/17)-- 0 out of 10 rating:  7,490 cfs at Glenwood Springs with poor clarity.  See you after runoff!  Fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley has been best on the Frying Pan, Upper Roaring Fork, and at BarZX Ranch. Come fish the Colorado River with us again for green drakes at the end of June. Due to the lower elevation of this river, hatches begin on this river before all others in the area...it won't be long now!

1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Pleasure floatin' - not too much in the way of fishing to be had right now.
CARP REPORT: From the RFVs Carp-King himself, Kirk Webb - Just as runoff settles in and the trout fishing goes to crap, the carp fishing turns on.  We're still in prespawn for the most part but the fish are beginning to stage for the spawn in the coming weeks.  As the flows continue to increase, look for the carp to move into ANY soft back channels and ponds.  Nothing is too shallow - don't be afraid to fish in the newly flooded areas.  Perhaps the biggest key to being successful right now is to fish to cruisers (singles preferably) and NOT to spawners.  It won't be long before we have to start using the "dip-tech" technique of dipping (not casting) flies into exposed areas of heavy weed growth.  Hot fly patterns have included: Carp Dragonfly, Swimming Nymphs, Swimming Halfback, Carp Stew, BH Leeches, Red Squirrels and Fiddlers.  Want to learn how to carp fish?  Book a guided carp trip with Kirk.
BAR ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir.  (8.5 out of 10 rating):  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 5/11/17):  1 out of 10 rating below Redstone;  867 cfs just above Carbondale with poor clarity and a large volume of water. See you post-runoff in mid/late June!  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!  There's some awfully good fishing going on at Beaver and Lizard Lakes if you're in the Crystal River Valley- let us get you dialed-in!

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 5/11/17: 3 out of 10 ratingThis 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. 
CRYSTAL RIVER CONSERVANCY:  Updated 5/11/17:  3 out of 10 rating.  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--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. 

Neutral colored clothing, quiet wading, and stealthy presentations will help you catch fish wherever you are on the Crystal with late season flows getting low.