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Fishing: Colorado > Colorado Rivers & Streams > Roaring Fork River

Quick Facts

Roaring Fork River

Handicapped Accessible: 1 Mile (1.67 Kilometers) Parking area and paved trail.
Length: 23 Miles (38.33 Kilometers) Aspen to Basalt
Other Maps: Pitkin County Open Space & Trails Map $11 Available in Open Space office in Aspen
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall Iced over in the winter.

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

From the Upper Woody Creek bridge downstream to Basalt the river falls a little less than its upper sections, but still is mostly riffle water punctuated by the occasional pool and run. This water hosts a multitude of insects, with caddis and mayflies being the most numerous. When other parts of the Roaring Fork are too warm for great insect hatches, this area still maintains strong dry fly fishing. In a normal year, this water is not well known for its winter fishing, but when not iced over, can offer incredible fishing. This part of the river remains fishable throughout most of the year and, even during the spring runoff, can be clear enough to offer superb fishing.
The upper Roaring Fork River flows northwest from Independence Pass to the town of Aspen. The headwaters start well above 12,000 feet in many underground springs and snow fields, and although this section's upper parts offer very small water, there are still many fish to be caught. There are many wild little brook trout in this section. From McFarlane Creek downstream through the town of Aspen to the upper Woody Creek Bridge is one of the oldest "Wild Trout Waters" in the state. Rainbows, which are the predominate species of fish here, have not been stocked in over 15 years. These beautiful fish are heavily spotted, and although not extremely large, are very numerous. Most of this water is pocket water that requires careful wading and short controlled casts.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cold Water Fishing The Upper section of the Roaring Fork River is the narrowest and fastest section of the river with the most vertical drop. The fishing is characterized by mostly riffle water with the occasional pool and run. These fish while not the largest in the river can many times be the most aggressive.
ICON Rafting & Kayaking The Upper Section of the Roaring Fork river is the narrowest and fastest section of the river with the most vertical drop. This section is convenient and exciting for the whitewater enthusiast, and allows for either a full day trip or a 45 minute after work jaunt. There are plenty of obstacles to keep experts happy, and you can make your ride take as long as you please. This section should be left to the experienced whitewater enthusiast as the water is Class IV or V difficulty, depending on the water level.


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