Correction: We had originally published that only the lower Roaring Fork, between Carbondale and Glenwood, is considered “Gold Medal Waters” restricted to catch and release. In fact, from the Fryingpan River to Colorado River is considered “Gold Medal Waters.” From McFarlane Creek, upstream of Aspen, to Upper Woody Creek Bridge is restricted to artificial flies and catch and release only. From Upper Woody Creek Bridge to the confluence with the Colorado River (excluding 50 yards upstream and downstream from the confluences with Fourmile Creek and Threemile Creek), up to two trout, a minimum of 16 inches long, may be taken from the river per angler. The Sopris Sun reminds everyone (including ourselves) to review the most recent fishing regulations before heading to the lake or river.
Need a peaceful Zen moment in the middle of winter? Why not go fly fishing on the Roaring Fork river?
Yes, that’s what you read. And legions of anglers will concur.
Experienced guides from Alpine Angling in Carbondale, Coleman Walker and C. P. Martinez lead the way down a winding, hilly and snow-covered route a half mile each way.
It’s a cold, windless, blue bird sky day. Don’t worry about the weather, the shop provides the gear, from full-length waders to boots, all waterproof and comfortable.
Yet, the payoffs are incredible — majestic views and the soon-to-be-memorable fishing adventure.
Alpine Angling and its sister shop, Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs, have been around for a while. Fishing enthusiasts from across the nation come to the Valley in search of the perfect location.
According to Wikipedia, “Fly fishing is an angling method that uses a light-weight lure — called an artificial fly — to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel and specialized weighted line. Casting is the act of throwing bait or a lure using a fishing line out over the water using a flexible fishing rod. The usual technique is for the angler to quickly flick the rod from behind toward the water.”
Fly tying is a whole other discipline requiring patience, skill and practice plus the right materials, consisting mostly of feathers and hairs and now also synthetic materials.
Back to the fishing expedition. The river is calm and running slowly, but the flow, albeit gentle, is still there. The first few steps into the chilly water can be a wake up call to stay balanced, as the slick river rocks are everywhere.
Especially as a newbie, patience and careful steps are vital. The guides make sure guests don’t fall. And it worked, no unexpected dip into the river. At least, not this time.
The stillness of the moment is broken only by the barely perceptible whoosh of the fly fishing line, and the chuckle of Walker as he hooks a beautiful rainbow trout on his first cast. The barbless hook avoids injuring the fish. Walker carefully scoops it up with a net, gently removes the hook and eases it back into the river.
Martinez explained to this beginning angler, “Just gently flick your wrist. Combine that with the up and over movement.” That requires concentration and knowledge. As in many sports, finesse is the key, not brute force.
Many people around here know, the Fryingpan River to Colorado River is considered “Gold Medal Waters.” From McFarlane Creek (upstream of Aspen) to the Upper Woody Creek bridge, only artificial flies are allowed and trout must be returned to the water immediately. From Upper Woody Creek bridge to the confluence with the Colorado River (excluding 50 yards upstream and downstream from the confluences with Fourmile Creek and Threemile Creek), only artificial flies and lures are allowed and up to two trout, a minimum of 15 inches long, may be taken.
For more information, call Alpine Angling at 970-963-9245 or Roaring Fork Anglers at 970-945-0180 or visit alpineangling.com.