The Roaring Fork Valley offers some of the finest fly fishing just perfect for anglers wanting to explore four remarkable fisheries. This valley holds four great Colorado fly-fishing rivers and hundreds of miles of trout water; 42 miles are classified as “Gold Medal Water” by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department.
Fishing Reports and Maps
The Roaring Fork River
The Roaring Fork is one of Colorado’s finest rivers for trout fishing. Winding down from the 12,095-foot Independence Pass to where it joins the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, this 70-mile river offers great diversity of habitats and water types.
The water from Carbondale to Basalt is known as the middle Roaring Fork; it offers larger runs and pools. Brown Trout and Mountain Whitefish are the predominant species. The Colorado Wildlife department rates the 13 miles of the Roaring Fork River between Basalt and Carbondale as “Gold Medal Water”; this 42-mile stretch is the longest continuous section of “Gold Medal Water” in Colorado.
Between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs lies the lower Roaring Fork. This stretch of Gold Medal water is a classic meandering Western river. The largest fish live here and many anglers land several fish in the 5-pound to 8-pound range each year.
The Crystal River
The lesser-known Crystal River, which joins the Roaring Fork just below the town of Carbondale, flows for over 30 miles beginning above the small town of Marble. Besides the abundance of Mountain Whitefish, Rainbows and Browns in the 14-inch to 18-inch range move up from the Roaring Fork. Each year, the river is also heavily stocked with catchable Rainbow Trout. Most of the Crystal River through the town of Carbondale is open to the public for fishing.
The Frying Pan River
Renowned for some of the most prolific insect hatches of any western water, the Frying Pan is a year-round fishery. Fishermen will find size 12 Green Drake through the summer and Blue Winged Olives in the spring and fall. They enjoy exciting Midge fishing through the winter months. The Frying Pan is famed for large trout, as long as 28 inches.