Roaring Fork River

What to expect

The Roaring Fork River, on Colorado’s western slope, is a renowned fly fishing destination that captivates anglers with its natural beauty and abundant trout population. Flowing through the picturesque Roaring Fork Valley, this river offers a diverse range of fishing opportunities.

This river is divided into three sections: the Upper Roaring Fork, the Middle Roaring Fork, and the Lower Roaring Fork. Each section offers its own unique fishing conditions and opportunities. The Upper Roaring Fork, above Aspen, is characterized by fast-flowing water and rocky sections, providing challenging fishing for those seeking adventure. The Middle Roaring Fork, between Basalt and Carbondale, offers a mix of riffles, runs, and deep pools, providing a diverse range of fishing opportunities. The Lower Roaring Fork, below Carbondale, is known for its slower-paced water, making it ideal for float fishing and targeting larger trout.

The fishing season on the Roaring Fork River typically runs from late spring to fall, with the prime time being summer. During this period, anglers can witness impressive hatches and enjoy productive fishing days, including the famed Green Drake hatch. It’s worth noting that runoff from snowmelt can affect the water clarity and fishing conditions, so it’s essential to check local conditions and plan accordingly.

Who to use

Hookers Fly Shop ( is a family owned and run business located in downtown Glenwood Springs and is who we’d suggest using if fishing in the area.


Where to eat/drink

  • For breakfast on the way to the river, stop at Sweet Coloradough for a breakfast bagel and a donut. There will likely be a wait, but it’s well worth it. Don’t be surprised if the owner pushes a tequila shot on you, regardless of the time of day (seriously, not kidding).

  • For dinner, we recommend checking out the Riviera Supper Club, also located in downtown Glenwood Springs.

  • For a night cap, treat yourself to a Coors Banquet at Doc Holliday’s Saloon in downtown Glenwood Springs, which is a local favorite and allegedly the preferred watering hole of the famous gunslinger,  Doc Holliday.

How to get there

The Roaring Fork Valley takes some time to get to. From Denver, travel time is approximately 2.5 hours, assuming good traffic and no backups. Unfortunately, I-70 and the Glenwood Canyon have been known to get backed up with traffic, so plan accordingly, especially if traveling on a weekend. The drive is incredible though, and you’ll be treated with scenery of huge rock canyons and red clay formations. If coming from Grand Junction to the west, it’s a shorter and much easier drive of about 1.5 hours.

Where to stay

Where to stay depends on your preference and budget. For the most budget friendly stay, we recommend staying in Glenwood Springs, specifically at the Hotel Denver located right in the heart of Downtown. The Hotel Denver is beautiful 100-year old refurbished hotel with tons of history from industrialists of the early 20th century. Rooms are older, but it’s a comfortable stay and the location can’t be beat. The beauty of staying in Glenwood is you can park your car and walk everywhere.

If you are interested in a more upscale hospitality experience, Aspen is an hour drive up river, where accommodations are more elevated, but so is the price tag.

Ease of Access

South Platte River – Deckers


Clear Creek


Blue River


Cache La Poudre River