On the Fly: Pick your poison

Matt Ippoliti
On the Fly
a Colorado River rainbow trout

How many places can boast having an incredible medium-sized tail water, a world class larger freestone, and big, brawling mix of both; all within 30 minutes of each other? The Roaring Fork Valley, which spans from Aspen downstream to Glenwood Springs, represents a trout fisherman’s paradise, float or wade. Small creeks, the massive Colorado River and technical Fryingpan River trout make for year-round fishing at its finest.

There is something here for any type of trout bum, no matter his or her preference. Dry fly purists are treated to the entire gamut of western hatches, without exception. Technical nymph fishers can fish light rigs to tough tail water trout on the Pan, hone their big water skills on the Fork or go industrial strength on the Colorado. Streamer junkies have two fantastic rivers to float and pound the banks on. For the small stream and high mountain lake trekker, there are thousands of acres of national forest lands to explore.

One of the byproducts of having all of these venues so close together is that fishing on any given day is bound to be good somewhere. Regardless of the time of year, weather, runoff, low flows or other tough conditions, there are few times when all of the rivers are affected simultaneously. The end product is a valley where fishing is as close to fail-safe as it is anywhere. In the same day, an angler may find difficult fishing on one river, drive a couple of miles to try another, and then finish up on a third.

To the destination fisherman, the Roaring Fork Valley is a no-brainer. So long as the decision of “where to fish” is left up to a capable local guide, or resourceful fly shop, the opportunity for productive fishing always exists. Any angler who has travelled to fish understands the risk of blowouts or unpredictable dam releases. Booking a trip here comes with its own form of travel insurance. Plan your trip as convenience and circumstance allow, and let the rivers provide the fishing.

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or