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Run off is here and peak flows likely happened yesterday in the lower Roaring Fork at 7,800 CFS. During Runoff, river flows are high and fast, resulting in dirty water conditions. Most fish will be hiding near the banks and in any available softer water. We like to fish near banks and behind eddies, but caution is advised. Nymphing is suggested as the most effective fishing technique, with streamers also being viable in off-color water. Stonefly Patterns such as Pats Rubber Leg or 20 Incher are effective, followed by Hares Ear or Caddis Pupa. Additionally, switching to a Barr Emerger or Zebra Midge below a Stonefly can be beneficial. For streamers, try Sculpin patterns. Fish have to eat everyday and you can catch them, this time of year in the Roaring Fork. Please be careful and watch for floating debris and fast water. I typically only fish the bank during high flows and leave the waders at home.

Roaring Fork Flow Chart:

The Frying Pan is currently flowing at 540 CFS. Expect flows to stay elevated this week as the inflows on the upper Frying Pan are peaking. Midday Blue Winged Olive and midge hatches have significantly improved recently. It's important to pay attention to these hatches as they can vary in intensity and location. Adjusting your approach according to the changing hatches is key. With elevated water levels and slightly off color water this is your opportunity to throw bigger nymphs and heavier tippet on the Frying Pan! Some big fish always seem to appear out of the wood works at these flows. Fish oftentimes will gorge themselves on these bigger flows. Worms have been productive as well as stone flys and drake nymphs. Keep your drifts short to avoid spooking fish. Downstream dry fly presentations are recommended for effectiveness. Fishing on the Pan from 6 until dark can yield good results, especially with another midge hatch near dusk under the dam. We had a one gentleman catch 4 20+ inch rainbows on 3x and a pats rubber leg at these flows, not you typical Frying Pan rig.

Frying Pan Flow Chart:

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Fly fishing report for Roaring Fork River April 27th 2023

Upper Roaring Fork

Flow: 145CFS

Clarity: Gin clear most days, staying cold and pre run-off conditions. If warmer weather persists expect clarity to change quick

Fishing quality: 8/10

Summary: The upper Roaring Fork River is fishing great. Fish are becoming more active everyday and moving out of the deep holes. The pressure is always light throughout the winter so fish are eager to eat flys and cooperate. During springtime, don't disregard the upper parts of the Roaring Fork river, but be strategic in choosing which areas to fish. The deeper and shadier parts can be challenging to reach with abundant snowfalls this season, but other areas have established trails and less ice along the banks. Always try to fish the "sunny side" of the river. For the most convenient access, Jaffe Park provides several miles of public access.

To catch a few fish, the insect menu is uncomplicated, requiring only midges and baetis and egg imitations. The key to success is being stealthy, using small flies, light tippets, tiny weights, and indicators. Don't make a big splashes and try to move slow. Don't spend too much time in one spot if you aren't catching fish, not all pockets will hold fish right now. Although there hasn't been much surface activity, keep an eye out for risers and tie on your preferred small and black midge or baetis emerger or adult.

Middle Roaring Fork

Flow: 420cfs

Clarity: Slightly off color, but very fishable

Fishing quality: 7/10

Summary: The cool weather is persisting and we've experienced some pre-runoff conditions recently, but the river has since dropped and cleared up due to the chilly nights and sporadic snow storms. Midge hatches have been exceptional and occur daily as the weather warms up. BWOs have been present on days when the river remains clear, but less so on days when it becomes murky. Stone flys are a great option as well as worms with the rising water levels.

During mid-day, the middle Fork has a good midge and BWO hatch, but most of the time, we are nymphing and using small streamers. Catherine store and Two Rivers road have been great for quick afternoon missions on the nicer days this spring. Focus on the deeper holes. The middle fork is floatable right now, but can be frustrating with most of the fish being the deeper water right underneath your boat.

Lower Roaring Fork

Flow: 1,000 CFS

Clarity: Pretty muddy most days

Fishing quality: 4/10

Summary: The lower fork is basically in runoff mode. The clarity can be decent after cold spells, but for the most part stays pretty murky below the Crystal River. If you do venture down here focus on trashy flys: worms, stoneflys and eggs. Dark streamers are probably the most fun way to fish right now. We're only going to see clarity worsen in the coming weeks so if your eager to float go now or plan on waiting another month or two.

We are currently in Rainbow Trout spawning season so look for the signs by 3 Mile creek and 4 Mile creek and respect the closures. hang the rods up and enjoy the views, the closures are only about 100 yards long.

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