On the Fly: Where should I go fishing today in the Roaring Fork Valley? | AspenTimes.com
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On the Fly: Where should I go fishing today in the Roaring Fork Valley?

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Local legend Tim Heng and his grandson Cooper gleefully show off a rainbow trout they landed.
Courtesy of Taylor Creek Fly Shops

Of the 70 miles of Roaring Fork we luckily enjoy, the upper river really shines this time of year. While many anglers flock to the Fryingpan, Crystal and lower Roaring Fork rivers to hunt their quarry, the Aspen area (the upper Roaring Fork) offers equally good fishing opportunities. The green drakes have come and gone up there, but prolific hatches of caddis, golden stoneflies, pale morning duns, craneflies and yellow sallies persist and will continue to do so.

Caddis hatches always seem to be strong with bright sun, while cloudy days are typically best for pale morning dun mayflies.  These size-16 mayflies are typically yellow in color as adult winged insects. Generally speaking, we fish the caddis and golden stones in the fast water and the smaller pale morning duns in the “softer” sections. 

If you’re not seeing much in the way of rising fish, a tandem nymph setup fished in the deeper pools and seams is highly effective. If you simply want to go out and pull on a bunch of fish, this is the technique most guides use day in and day out. 



The key to fishing this way is to put on enough weight above your flies to drive them to the bottom. Adding on a strike indicator about 4 to 6 feet above your flies will aid in detecting strikes and will keep your flies in that all-important strike zone. Cat poops, 20-inchers, perdigons and copper johns are catching more than their fair share of fish.

Lower Woody Creek, Jaffe Park, the airport, Aspen Animal Shelter and Stein Park are all within a short drive from Aspen and offer good access to the Upper Roaring Fork River.




The coveted evening “lightning rounds” are offering superb dry-fly fishing also. During the last hour of light, trout will often rise with reckless abandon to a variety of PMD spinners and caddis imitations. 

This low-light period yields the easiest fishing of the entire day, so be sure that you take some time to refuel your soul with cold running water, serenity, wildlife and (hopefully) willing trout. 

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 TaylorCreek.com.

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