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Roaring Fork River Fishing Information
Headwaters Section - near Aspen, CO
One of the most consistently productive waters in Colorado, the Roaring fork holds a large amount of brown, rainbow, cutthroat, brook trout and whitefish depending on where you fish. The lower sections contain mainly browns and rainbows while the upper reaches by Aspen and it’s tributaries hold cutties and brook. Whitefish are also plentiful in this river though are hit and miss. Usually when you find one you’ll find 100. You can float and wade a lot of this river and many public access points are made available to anglers. When the water is low you can wade most of the river. You can float the river through late spring into early fall before the flows make it difficult to get over the rocks.
For Colorado it’s a pretty large river and breaking it up into smaller sections as you fish it will help you find the trout. There are so many fish in this river and it’s a great place for beginners. Don’t worry when the water gets off color, the fish don’t seem to mind and can see right through the murky water for even the smallest flies. I catch a lot of fish up here in the spring and it’s a great place to spend a weekend. Glenwood springs, Carbondale and Aspen are all along the river and there are many shops, restaurants and more to keep you busy. If you prefer to get away into the wilderness some, try the service roads or up the frying pan road to get to some camping and out of the cities. Much of this river runs through towns and homes in the valley, though once you are on the water, all the civilization drops away as you chase the hard-fighting and often eager trout of the Roaring fork river.
The upper section holds smaller fish, but a lot of them. Many tributaries are up here around Aspen and the river is more braided creating a more small stream fishing environment. This is a fun place to explore and there is plenty of access. Lot of whitefish in this area too.
This is the most scenic part of the river and upstream and downstream of carbondale is the middle section. The frying pan and crystal river come into the roaring fork here making the river larger and more floatable. You can typically float from this section all the way to the Colorado river confluence and below.
The lower section has more private water, but you can float over it and as you get near Glenwood and the confluence there are a few parks that give public access and eager fish. Though this receives more pressure the fishing can still be good. This section gets hot in the late summer and care should be taken to revive fish well and play them quickly so you don’t kill them by exhausting them.
Fish: Many Medium-Sized Fish
Best Techniques: Dries & Nymphs
Best Seasons: Spring - Fall
River Type: Medium Freestone
Fish Types: Rainbow Trout, Cutbow Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Whitefish
Dog Friendly: Yes but Leashed
Located in the Colorado River Basin near Aspen, CO
Fishable Seasons & Current Weather
The best seasons to fish this river are Spring - Fall. See the current weather reports for the next 5-6 days listed below for the nearest city.
wind: 10mph SSE
H 62 • L 59
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
Knowing what flies to use is only have the battle. You have to know when the insects are active on the water and when it's likely the trout are feeding on them. Refer to our hatch charts below to understand when the insect categories and some of the possible hatches on the river.
Midges hatch year round, but their importance is from September through winter into April. During the warmer months, the trout often focus on larger insects as they are more active on the water like mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.
Aside from Blue wing olives, mayflies are active most commonly from May to August in Colorado. There are many different mayfly hatches found on most rivers and the most common are listed below.
Blue Wing Olive: September throut winter to April
Pale Morning Dun: June to Mid September
Colors: White, Yellow
Sizes: #14 - #20
Green Drakes: June to August
Sizes: #8 - #14
Caddis hatch starting early in May and continue to the end of October.
Colors: Olive, Green, Yellow, Tan, Orange, Brown and Black.
Sizes: #10 - #20
We have some great stonefly hatches in Colorado and while not all rivers carry all species of salmonflies, you can often fish stonefly adult patterns with confidence from May to September. Start off in bigger sizes and get smaller till September hits (size 8 - 16)
Golden Stone: June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #8 - #14
Yellow Sally Stonefly: Mid June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #12 - #18
Terrestrials don't hatch since they are out of the water, but they can have importance starting in Mid April and ending in September.
These are the the top flies we sell for this river. Use the hatch chart above to know what flies you will want to have in your fly box during your adventure on the river and then select the flies here 30 days before your trip to get them at a great price. All of our flies are hand tied to each order to ensure quality and to keep our prices low for you.
Click on a fly below to select a size and color for purchase.
If you need an easier solution than selecting each fly and size, try out our top fly assortments for this river that will put all the flies you need in a single order for this river. We've already selected the flies we use in our fly box for this river including the sizes and colors and put them in these assortments so you can fish with the confidence that you have the right flies in your box.
Click on any of the pictures to see what flies, colors and sizes we recommend in each assortment.
Use these epic resources to get ready for your adventure. Whether you're planning your trip, learning your insects, improving your fishing with expert tips or getting detailed resources from the USGS streamflows or DoW, we got you covered to help you find the river and find the success you want.