Aspen Outfitting Company’s Upper Roaring Fork River Report 1/14/23

Cian McGillicuddyFly FishingLeave a Comment

Flows and Water Clarity

The Roaring Fork is running low and clear. Flows are 26 cfs below Maroon Creek and 239 cfs at Emma.

Overview

Winter is in full swing in the upper Roaring Fork valley and the fishing has been great! With cold temperatures and low flows in the Upper Fork, the fish are stacked up in slower, deeper water. Focus on deep holes and eddies near natural structure for the best results. During this time of the year, when you find one fish, you often find many — so make sure to cover water until you find success.

Common Hatches and Food Sources 

Midges, Baetis, and Eggs.

Midge Larvae and Baetis nymphs are the main sources of food present in the upper fork right now. But, we’re also seeing some slightly larger mayfly and stonefly nymphs lingering on rocks and twigs. During this time of the year, trout occasionally feed on eggs, but it can be hit or miss. On warmer days, we’re seeing some fish rise intermittently to eat hatching midges. 

Hot Flies

Nymphs 

“Frenchie” Tungsten jigs (yellow, brown, pink, size 14-18), Bead Head Rainbow Warrior (classic, purple, red, size 16-20), Eggs (chartreuse, peach, white).

Zebra Midge (black, gray, size 18-22), WD40 (black, gray, size 18-22), Top Secret Midge (gray, brown, size 18-22) RS2’s (cdc, crystal wing, black, gray, size 18-22), Juju Baetis (red, olive, black size 18-22).

Dries

Griffith’s gnat (classic or hi-vis, 18-22), Element Hi-Vis Midge (black, size 20) Parachute Adams (18-20), BWO Hackle Stacker (18-20)

Streamers 

Motor Oil (black, size 6), Slumpbuster (natural, size 8-12), Thin Mint (size 6-10).

Techniques

Nymphing is the most productive technique during this time of year by far. Finding deep holding water and using weight to get your flies down will be crucial to success. Longer leaders and heavy split shot will help you get your flies in front of more fish. Leading with larger jig style patterns to help get smaller flies down deeper has been a very productive technique. 

On warmer days, keep an eye out for pods of rising fish. Midges are the predominant hatch right now, so switching to small dry flies and fine tippet is your best chance at fooling fish. Small streamers are also an option this time of year, but be sure to focus your efforts on deep pools and structure. 

Information About The Roaring Fork

The Roaring Fork River is a freestone river that runs 70 miles from Independence Pass through Aspen, Basalt, and Carbondale until it reaches its confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs. The cold, clean waters of this famous river support an incredible array of aquatic life including brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout. The Roaring Fork is designated as a “Gold Medal” fishery, meaning it offers some of the best trout fishing in the nation to beginners and seasoned anglers alike.

Written by Josh Petersen, Photo by Anna Stonehouse

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