Gunpowder Stream Report and Great Feathers Fly Shop Blog

Great Feathers is a Baltimore and Gunpowder River area brick and mortar fly shop staffed by fly fishermen and fly tiers with a passion for the sport. Our blog posts provide you with the latest stream reports on the Gunpowder and interesting posts on fly fishing anf fly tying information.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


New Fly Fishing Challenges at Roaring Fork River

Here’s another episode of a fly fishing trip in Colorado with my favorite fly fishing guide; David!

Minturn Anglers offers a variety of Vail fly fishing trips in the surrounding waters about the Vail Valley. It’s time for me to explore another of Colorado’s famed trout streams. This time I’m eyeing the Roaring Fork River. I am told that this is indeed a “roaring” river, as it descends from its headwaters at 12,000 feet just below Independence Pass to join up with the Colorado River some 790 miles away at Glenwood Springs. In fact, the original Ute name for this mountain flow is Thunder River.

The river passes through canyons most of its route. Flows are swift, deep and powerful, and the water is clear. A mean annual flow of about 1,200 cubic feet per second creates for challenging river fly fishing. Swift flows means that resident trout are strong and healthy, and even the small fry provide a strong pull. Cutthroat, Brown, Rainbow and Brook trout are on the menu. These fish have a reputation! The stretch from Aspen to Basalt is designated as Wild Trout Water, and the 28 mile stretch from Basalt is designated Gold Medal Trout Water. I can’t wait to try my hand.

A few minutes on the computer shows that Highway 82 parallels the entire river and offers easy access in many places. However, much of river frontage property is privately owned, and anglers are cautioned to avoid trespassing. Apparently popular wade access points are located on the stretch near the Aspen airport, and in Glenwood Springs at the Sunset Bridge.

The beginning of July is always a popular time on the Roaring Fork, as this is the beginning of the famous Green Drake hatch. Caddis and streamers are almost always present, and I’m planning on being prepared for Blue Winged Olives, Red Quills and Golden Stoneflies.

Because the Roaring Fork River is so long, it presents many different water types. You can choose to work pocket waters in canyon portions of the river, or try float fishing in parts of the lower river. However, finding a productive location can be a challenge, especially when private property is involved. I intend to drop into my favorite fly fishing shop, Minturn Anglers in Vail, and spend a few minutes talking to their friendly staff and any available fly fishing guides to get their advice. I will also follow their recommendations and pick up a few new flies to match current hatch conditions. 

Looking forward to new challenges and exciting experiences fly fishing the Roaring Fork River!   

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