Few rivers offer the variety that you can find in the Roaring Fork. Whether you are stalking brookies at 10,000 feet, or floating down the big, meandering stretch between Carbondale and Glenwood, there is something for every angler on this magnificent body of water.
Browns and rainbows are the most common trout you’ll encounter, though brookies are common up high. You are also likely to hook a mountain whitefish if you spend any time nymphing; these guys put up an incredible fight and are a lot of fun to catch.
The upper part of the river runs from its headwaters at 12,000 feet to the town of Aspen, and offers excellent brookie fishing, along with a slow-water, spring-creek-like stretch just upriver of town. Between Aspen and Basalt, the Fork offers unparalleled wade fishing, as most of it is classified as Wild Trout Waters, meaning it is not stocked, and catch and release is the name of the game.
The lower stretch is the famed Gold Medal water that anglers from all over come to ply their skill on, hoping to land that massive brown or rainbow. It’s best experienced on a drift boat and there are several local companies that offer guided float trips. You can always wade it as well, and it offers excellent fishing year round.
Despite the fact the river runs through much private land, there are still a number of good public access points. Check in with local shops to get the most up-to-date info.