Roaring Fork River Report 4-23-23

Posted on 23 April 2023

April 23, 2023



WATER CLARITY: Starting to see some pre-runoff conditions with the recent warm-up

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10 


THE LOWDOWN:  Don't write off the upper reaches of the Roaring Fork in spring, but choose your battles as well. Deeper, shadier sections are pretty tough to access, but others are packed down trail-wise and there is much less ice on the banks. The easiest access is in Jaffe Park, which offers multiple miles of public access.

The bug menu is super-simplified, all you need are some midges and baetis imitations to fool a few fish. Stealth is the name of the game, use small flies, light tippets, tiny weights and indicators to stay successful. There hasn't been a ton of surface activity, but if you see risers, tie on your favorite small and black midge emerger or adult.

HATCHES: Midges 18-24

DRIES:  Massacre Midge 22-24, Mole Midge 20-22, HOH Hanging 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: 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: Autumn Splendor 6, Carlton Banks sz 4, Cousin It Sculpin sz 6, Grease Monkey sz 4, Beldar Lemon Drop sz 8

HINTS: Fish the soft water where your flies have time to get down in front  of the fish.


FLOW: 388 CFS in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Clarity is becoming an issue with the warm up

OVERALL RATING:  6 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Blue Winged Olives, Sculpins

THE LOWDOWN: Cool weather is still hanging on, we've seen some pre-runoff conditions in the past few weeks but the river has dropped and cleaned up with the cool evenings. Excellent midge hatches are a daily occurrence now that we are warming up. We're seeing BWOs on the days the river remains clean, and less on the days it becomes off-color. Midges can range from a plump 16 down to as small as you care to tie on.

The middle Fork has a decent midge and BWO hatch mid-day, but most of the time we are nymphing and throwing small streamers. There's not a lot of public access mid-river, but local favorites are Catherine Store, behind Crown Mountain Park, and the section along Two Rivers Road here in Basalt.

HATCHES: Blue Winged Olives 18-22, Midges 18-24

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 6-10, Jigged Frenchie 16-18, Barr's Cranefly Nymph 10, Stott's Good Carl 20, Stott's BH Drama Rust 20, Jigged Tungsten Red Tie PT 18-20, Freestone Emerger 20, BH Polywing Emerger 18-20, Biot Baetis 18-20, Sparklewing RS2 20-22, Imposter 20-22, Lil Foamy 18-20, Neon Nightmare 20-22 

DRIES: Perfect Baetis 20-22, Befus' Para Emerger 18-22, Hackle Dun Baetis 20-22, Bill's Midge Emerger 20-22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, Hatching Midge 20-22, Morgan's Para Midge 20-22, Massacre Midge 22-24, Roy's Special Emerger 20-22

STREAMERS: Tungsten Double Mint sz 4-8, Hansen's Meal Ticket sz 4, Baby Gonga Black sz 8, Home Invader sz 2

HINTS: Find some deep water where you can and keep an eye out for risers too


FLOW: 775 CFS in Glenwood Springs (starting to yo-yo a bit with the warm-ups and cool-downs)

WATER CONDITIONS: Starting to see the river rise and become off-color.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 10


THE LOW DOWN: Change is here, we are seeing the Fork climb in volume one week and drop the next. The dry fly fishing is getting pretty awesome when conditions allow. We've seen a handful of spring blue winged olives starting to hatch, which will intensify in the coming weeks. We're seeing a couple of caddis, but they are still quite sporadic.

For now, its just midges and baetis nymphs with a few random caddis, April and May bring real change in the forms of renewed blue winged olive and caddis hatches, which are starting right now!

Streamers are usually effective on the lower Fork, we'd suggest smaller flies and natural colors for the most part. Keys tarpon eat size 8 flies, so don't feel like you have to throw a 3/0 double articulated fly to be "streamer fishing."

Keep in mind the annual spawning closures are in effect on 3 and 4 Mile Creeks from March 15th to May 31st. (See Below)

HATCHES: Blue Winged Olives 18-22, Midges 18-26, Caddis (sporadic)

NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 6-10, San Juan Worm 10, BH Prince Nymph 16-18, Guide's Choice Hares Ear 16-18, Double Down CDC PT 16-18, Copper John 14-16, BLMs 18-20, Freestone Emerger 22, RS2s 20-22, Polywing Emerger 18-20, Roy's Biot Baetis Emerger 18-20, Soft Hackle BWO 20-22, Imposters 20-22, TC Poxy Biot Baetis 22, Jerome Baetis 20-22, RIP Midge 22

DRIES: Missing Link Caddis 16-18, Pearl and Elk Caddis 16-18, Roy's Special Emerger 20, TC Sparkledun BWO 18-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Hatching Midge 20-22, HOH CDC Spent Midge 22-24, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24, Morgans Midge 18-20, Sprout Midge 18-20, Griffiths Gnat 20

STREAMERS: Beldar Lemon Drop sz 2, Grease Monkey sz 4, Slumpbuster 6-8, Devourer of Souls 6, Tim's Splendor 6-8

HINTS: Generally, cloudy days tend to produce the best hatches and action

Upper Roaring Fork,00060

Middle Roaring Fork:

Lower Roaring Fork:

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