The Roaring Fork River is a steep but completely freestone mountain river with no dams which flows approximately 70 miles from Independence Pass to Glenwood Springs where it joins the mighty Colorado River. All the way from the headwaters high in the Rocky Mountains, you will find ample opportunities to catch phenomenal Cutthroat, Rainbow, Brown and Brook Trout. If you are upstream of Aspen you can enjoy some dry fly fishing and catch some wonderful wild trout.
Once downstream of Aspen all the way to Basalt, the river becomes larger and flows more swiftly and is the perfect wild trout water. There is no stocking of this area and it is Fly Fishing, Catch and Release only. The best way to get to the fish in this part of the river is by wading. At Basalt, the Roaring Fork meets the Frying Pan River and now you’re into a nearly thirty mile stretch of gold medal trout water which is the most exalted classification of Trout water anywhere in Colorado.
The summer months will find your fellow fishermen float fishing, although in other seasons it is preferable to wade fish in this area. By the time that the Roaring Fork arrives at Carbondale, it joins the clear waters of the pristine Crystal River, which also is home of some of the biggest mountain whitefish in the country.
This joining with the Crystal River turns the Roaring Fork into a typical large Western river, with a mix of deep pools, long runs and huge riffles where you will find some of the largest trout to be found anywhere in the state of Colorado. The best way to fish this phenomenal area of the river is by hiring a local guide to take you out to the special hot spots. This is also a great wade fishing area at all times of the year with the particular exception of the spring runoff time when the water flows too swiftly to safely wade into it.
Don’t forget to explore the tributary and feeder streams that flow into the Roaring Fork on its journey toward to Colorado River in Glenwood Springs. Check with local outfitters from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to find out the current hatch patterns and water conditions.