Roaring Fork River Report 2-15-19

Posted on 15 February 2019

February 15, 2019

FLOW: 135 cfs below Maroon Creek (Woody Creek Canyon) 

WATER CLARITY: Low and clear.  Significant ice build up in shady areas

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10 in fishable areas

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT:  Midges, BWO nymphs, sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: It's winter folks, and the snowfall has been downright awesome! This is shaping up to be a vastly improved fishing year for anglers heading into 2019.  Hopefully the snow machine keeps cranking away and we see a much better water year around here. Current snowpack is over 100%!

The upper Fork has some open spots that receive sunlight, but it can be challenging conditions-wise. Ice dams are a real danger around here, especially on the Fork, so exercise caution.  Fish with a friend through winter up here and constantly check on the water upstream of you.  When a bunch of ice starts to build up and break loose, it can roll downstream silently and sneak up on you.  Ice dams are a natural occurrence and they happen often, so please beware.

When fishing the upper Fork, especially at these low flows, sight fishing can be key. Also make sure to wear some studded boots or bring a walking staff, fishing from the middle of the river opens opportunities for multiple drifts and picking off every pocket a trout could hold. 

HATCHES: Midges 22-24


DRIES: Morgan's Para Midge 20-22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24, Sprout Midge 20-24, Skittering Z Lon Midge 20-22

NYMPHS: BLM 18-20, Tungsten Bead Baetis 20, BTS Baetis 20-22, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 20, Kingrey's Cap'n Hook 20-22, Bead Wing Midge 20-22, Rojo Midge 20-22

STREAMERS: Weir's Sculpin 6, Autumn Splendor 6, Zuddler 6, Slumpies 6-8 

HINTS: Skip the blah water and focus on the deeper open runs and pools.


FLOW: 248 cfs in Basalt 

WATER CONDITIONS: Clear flows with a bit of edge ice here and there

OVERALL RATING:  7 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, BWO nymphs, sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: After a few ice dams last week, the Fork in Basalt has turned on! You will need to choose your battles on the Fork around Basalt, as some areas have a bunch of ice and others are relatively wide open. As mentioned on the upper river, please exercise caution on the Fork through the winter and be aware of ice dams breaking loose on warm days.  Fish with a friend and keep a constant eye upstream.

The fishing is quite good in the right areas, find the deep stuff and fish smaller flies like you would on the Fryingpan.  Small princes and worms trailed with tiny and shiny BWO nymphs will keep you pretty busy out there.  On warmer and overcast days, keep your eyes peeled for a good midge hatch!

Less ice build up will be found downvalley towards Carbondale, so check out Catherine's and around the bridges in Carbondale for some good spots.

HATCHES: Midges 20-24


NYMPHS: BLMs 18-20, Prince Nymphs 18-20, Pheasant Tails 18-24, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Tailwater Assassin 20-22, Imposter 20-22, Lil Foamy 18-20, Neon Nightmare 20-22

DRIES: Bill's Midge Emerger 20-22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, Hatching Midge 20-22, Morgan's Para Midge 20-22

HINTS: 4x and 5x tippet is more productive right now, skip the large flies and focus on what food sources trout actually see in the winter months.


FLOW: approximately 455 cfs in Glenwood Springs


OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midge adults, BWO nymphs, sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: The same ice dam warnings apply on the lower river, exercise caution on the warm days, you might see plenty of ice and mud break loose with no notice. It's always warmer downvalley, so the lower river seems to be more reliable conditions-wise these days.  When winter conditions play in your favor, the lower Fork will blow your mind!

With colder mornings, no need to rush to the river early, 10 AM seems to be a good start time. BWO nymphs and midges seem to be what the fish are wanting most. Leading with a worm and trailing something tiny and shiny has been productive.  Don't overlook the streamer fishing on the overcast days, there's plenty of fish that would rather eat one big meal than eat midges all day.

HATCHES:  Midges 18-26


NYMPHS: Tung PT 18-20, BLMs 18-20, Freestone Emerger 20, RS2s 20-22, Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Thread Body Baetis 18-20, Soft Hackle BWO 20-22, Imposters 20-22

DRIES: Hatching Midge 20-22, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, Morgans Midge 18-20, Sprout Midge 18-20, Skittering Zelon Midge 20-22, Griffiths Gnat 20

HINTS: The float fishing has been excellent on warmer days.

Upper Roaring Fork:

Middle Roaring Fork:

Lower Roaring Fork:


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