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Report for the Roaring Fork Valley--Updated 10/23/18

Fall fishing is here! We're chasing rainbows during BWO hatches and chucking meat for big browns.

Stop on by our Carbondale 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 10/23/18):  LOWER RIVER: (Carbondale to Glenwood Springs):  8.5 out of 10 rating:  about 560 cfs in Glenwood Springs with good clarity, cool water and stable flows. With the recent abundance of monsoonal rains, the fishing has been super solid. Outside of streamers and eggs/worms, flies are generally now consisting of small baetis and psuedocleons. Downsize all those nymph rigs with smaller flies and lighter tippets. Decent numbers of risers are being seen during overcast days, typically during late afternoon. The streamer bite has been hit and miss lately. Some days have yielded an insane bite, while some days it's been decent at best. Like all fishing, when it's good - it's great, and when it's bad - it's still pretty good. Arm yourself with a sink-tip for the pools and when floating, while a standard floating line is best when probing the shallows (riffles). Hot flies have included Mini-Dungeons in cream and yellow, Baby Gongas in yellow and white, and Sparkle Minnows in gold and pearl. As always at this time of year, beware to not disturb actively spawning fish or their redds.

MIDDLE RIVER: (Basalt to Carbondale)  7 out of 10 rating:  260 cfs at Emma (Basalt) with green water clarity and stable flows. Same conditions and techniques as the lower river but not fishing quite as well with the lower water flows and having less of an influence from the Colorado River (due to spawning runs of browns).  Floating this section via raft is out of question for the season. Fishing is pretty rippin' out there for those ready to don their waders again! Wading anglers will still find that two or three fly nymph rigs are still the most productive in terms of numbers of fish. Besides the ususal worm and egg rig (boring!), fish are still feeding on actual flies including stoneflies, caddis, attractors (Prince, Red CJs), soft hackles and baetis patterns of all flavors. Like the lower river, the streamer fishing is generally solid (sometimes stellar) daily. 

UPPER RIVER: (Basalt to Aspen)  6 out of 10 rating:   N/A cfs (around 100cfs) below Maroon Creek with perfect clarity. The fishing is picking up after a hot summer but the fish are skittish with the low water and small flies hatching (baetis and midges). Fish are spread throughout the river now; deep pits, seams and pools are best midday, while fish are holding in the pockets and riffles early and late in the day. 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 (decreasing), baetis and midges (increasing) are being seen. Pressure is highest within the first mile of Jaffe and Stein Parks but scarce between. Hint - Do a little hiking to gain solitude. 

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Fishing is at its fall peak currently and will stay consistent through late November. Streamer junkies are out in full-force. Good numbers of larger fish are being seen. Expect mostly rainbows in the net lately, as the browns have been busy spawning. Once the spawn tapers off in the next month, look for the brown trout to be back on the feed more.
HOT FLY PATTERNS: STONEFLIES--- NYMPHS---Pat's Rubberlegs, 20 Inchers, Soft Shell Golden, BH Yellow Sally 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


FRYING PAN RIVER-- (Flows Updated 10/23/18): 7 out of 10:  43 cfs with perfect clarity. Expect good numbers of finicky risers - these fish have been pressured heavily over the summer and are known to even refuse naturals. Midges and small baetis nymphs/emergers are best in the morning hours. By midday, look for BWOs to dominate the hatch menu, with varying densities of drakes, PMDs and caddis (all waning). Light tippets of 6x and 7x are needed for the ultra low and ultra 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, fall crowds are still heavy, especially on nice weekends. Nymph rigs are generally consisting of smaller BWO and midge patterns. A short, light rig will generally get things done. The brown trout spawn on the Pan starts in November along the lower river and peaks near the dam during the winter due to the constant water temperature.

ONE MONTH FISHING FORECAST: Expect the BWO hatch during the late afternoon hours to offer-up the best fishing. No need to get out there at the crack of dawn with the cool temps now present. Midges still provide steady action near the dam, and in particular during the mornings and evenings. The mysis shrimp fishing has been slow with the low flows but are still viable in the Toilet Bowl, if that's your thing. The egg bite will only pick up in the coming month too. Small, natural colored streamers can be deadly up and down the entire river for those willing to get their hands cold. 

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 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 10/23/18)--  8 out of 10 rating: 1,380 cfs at Glenwood Springs with good green water clarity.  Water temps have cooled off which have the fish feeding pretty hard after a hot summer. Worms, eggs, rubberlegs, princes, PTs and variations are always fairly reliable flies when nymphing the river this time of year. More exact dropper patterns are consisting of baetis nymphs and emergers, midges, and small caddis. Look for the best fishing to take place midday and into the evenings. Most anglers are out there swinging for the fences chucking huge streamers in hopes of finding an 'insta-famous-book' photo. Don't be surprised to find slower streamer fishing than normal due to increased streamer fishing pressure - but smaller less flamboyant streamers can often still be effective. Some quality fish have been put into nets lately including those taken on dry flies. Several stretches of water are seeing very good numbers of risers during mid to late afternoons if the wind stays relitively low once the baetis come off. Like all valley rivers right now, don't harass actively spawning fish and be aware to steer clear of their redds, especially when wading.

1 MONTH FISHING FORECAST:  Fishing will most definitely stay solid for the next few weeks. Lately there's been more fishing pressure -boats especially- on the Colorado than on the Roaring Fork. As long as the weather stays decent the fishing will hang right in there. Look for the egg and streamer bite to taper off in another month as the fish wrap-up their spawn and winter approaches.Wading anglers are doing best around Glenwood Canyon and New Castle, while floaters seem to be doing well throughout with most floating NC-Silt.

BAR ZX RANCH (AKA LAMPTON LAKES) near Paonia Reservoir.  (7.5 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 10/23/18):  7.5 out of 10 rating  97 cfs in Carobondale/Redstone with good clarity (Crystal-clear)and ideal conditions. The Crystal is rockin' right now and fishing very well along the entire river! Fishing restrictions were lifted below Avalanche Creek on Oct.15th - and the fishing has been better than expected! Hatches are consisting of caddis and BWOs for the most part with sporadic midges also being seen. Remember - it is far more important to cover water 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/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. Insider reports of pretty good numbers of browns moving into the lower river in Carbondale. 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 10/23/18: 7 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. 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 10/23/18:  6 out of 10 rating.  This section of river near Marble has really started to pick up. 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.