Report on the Upper Roaring Fork

Earlier this week I arrived in Basalt for four days of fishing.  I found the water levels on the upper Fork to be far less than half of of the norm (flows should be over 125 cfs in the early part of July).  The fishing was pretty good on drys -CDC Comparaduns, Baetis, Ants, Elk Hair Caddis, Red Quills and Royal Wulffs.  The key was spotting fish and getting a good drift.  If I got a refusal or if the fly was ignored I would change immediately to something different or smaller.

Nymphing the fast an deeper runs with heavily weighted Stoneflies flies like theCat Poop Stones and 20 Incher in larger sizes complemented with smaller nymphs like red Copper Johns and Prince Nymphs. were producing.

The fishing was fun but tough and I knocked off around noon due to the heat.  I ran into a lot of fishermen who were not having a solid day – two or three fish.

Here is part of an article that appeared in today’s Aspen Times…..

“The severe drought gripping most of Colorado continues to drop water levels in local rivers and raise water temperatures, potentially endangering the health of fish and returning the Roaring Fork to a trickle in Aspen, as happened in 2002.

  The river on Thursday was running through town at 23 cubic feet per second (cfs), below the state’s recommended instream flow of 32 cfs, and well off the 115 cfs average, according to a Roaring Fork Conservancy report.

  Besides the drought, the level is so low because holders of some rights are allowed to take water and drop the river below the recommended instream level, which was implemented in the 1970s by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

“The Roaring Fork near Aspen on Thursday hit 68 degrees, the state standard for a healthy ecosystem, O’Keefe said. Anything above that affects dissolved oxygen in the stream to the point that fish get stressed; insects are also affected. If the temperature rises to 72 degrees, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Division can shut down stretches of rivers to fishing.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy has been discussing the issue with the valley’s fly-fishing shops, O’Keefe said. Many of the businesses, aware of the temperatures, are limiting trips for guests to mornings and wrapping up the excursions by early afternoon.”

Read the entire article

If what I saw is indicative of things to come, August is going to be a back breaker!

Heavy rains in the Vail Valley have completely blown-out the Colorado River.