Originally named the Thunder River by the Ute Indians, the Roaring Fork River is one of the prime jewels of the West especially when it comes to Colorado River fly fishing. True to its namesake, the Roaring Fork drops more in elevation during its 70-mile descent than the Mississippi River does over its entire length, creating quite a commotion during high flows and making for some challenging Colorado river fly fishing.
A True Freestone Stream
The Roaring Fork is a true freestone stream from its headwaters below Independence Pass to its confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs at Two Rivers Park. Anglers will find easy access to the river from Highway 82, which parallels the entire river; however, much of the river is private, so anglers need to be aware of their location and avoid trespassing at all costs. The stretch near the Aspen airport and the Sunset Bridge in Glenwood Springs are two popular wade access points. To find out more specific info about the Roaring fork check out our fly fishing reports or drop into our tackle shop for some personal advice from our guides.
Floating the Roaring Fork
The river conditions are very dependent on flows. During the right flow, many of our guides swear floating the Roaring Fork will rival any fishery in the country. A few of our guides even purchased rafts exclusively to float the upper stretches of the Roaring Fork due to the unique Colorado River fly fishing conditions. The rafts open access to water rarely fished, which equates to big fish and minimum crowds. The lower stretches of the Roaring Fork, below Basalt, can be fished from a drift boat or raft. Floating the Roaring Fork allows anglers access to many of the most exclusive stretches of river available. The Roaring Fork Valley and Aspen area saw an explosion in property prices over the last few decades and many of the country’s social elite vacation in this mountain paradise. These ultra private ranches are only accessible to the public via float trips for Colorado River fly fishing.
The swift flows of the Fork weed out the weaker species, so the local trout are usually extremely healthy. Due to the strong currents, the trout are physical specimens. At times, it can seem as if the trout were recent clients of BALCO because even the small fry pull hard enough that you’ll swear they are secretively doing cycles of illegal trout-growth hormones. In our fly fishing reports we try to narrow down the locations we believe you will have most success so be sure to check them out and call into the tackle shop to get the right flies for the job.
The Green Drake Hatch
The Roaring Fork is famous for her Green Drake hatch. When the Drakes start to pop its time to drop everything and do whatever it takes to be in the bow of a drift boat casting double dries. Our tackle shop is slammed with anglers looking for the best flies and most up to date fly fishing reports each year. Many die-hard anglers plan their entire year’s schedule around the hatch, which starts sometime around the first of July. But, don’t tell everyone about the unbelievable fishing on the Fork…we wouldn’t want all the Montana boys to be jealous!