Roaring Fork River Report 5-2-23

Posted on 02 May 2023

May 2, 2023



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

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 10 (this will be the best section of the Fork for the brief time being conditions-wise)


THE LOWDOWN:  Don't write off the upper reaches of the Roaring Fork in spring, but choose your battles. 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 worms and stones as the river rises. Stealth is no longer paramount as the clarity becomes poor. 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, BWOs 20-22, Caddis (sporadic) 16-20

DRIES:  Pearl and Elk Caddis 16-18, Missing Link Caddis 16-18, HOH CDC Thorax BWO 20-22, TC Sparkledun BWO 20-22, 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: Cat Poop Stone 4-8, San Juan Worm 12, Copper John 16-18, 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: 1050 CFS in Basalt

WATER CONDITIONS: Clarity is poor, river has doubled in volume this week

OVERALL RATING:  3 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, Caddis (sporadic), Blue Winged Olives, Sculpins

THE LOWDOWN: Pre-runoff conditions are here. We're seeing Caddis and 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, Caddis 12-18 (sporadic), 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: 2870 in Glenwood Springs (river tripled in volume this week)

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

OVERALL RATING: 2 out of 10

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Caddis, Midges, Sculpins

THE LOW DOWN: Change is here, we are seeing the Fork climb in volume as we finally warm up around here. 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 decent caddis hatch some days, though.

For now, its just cranelfy, stonefly and San Juan Worm nymphs with a few caddis, May brings 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 12-18

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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