Crystal River Fishing Report

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Often overlooked by visitors to the area, the Crystal is an undiscovered gem worth finding. Starting at the confluence of its north and south forks, the river winds down from the alpine meadows of the Elk Mountains above Marble, Colorado and drains into the Valley of the Coal Miners. Because there are large shale deposits in its drainage basin, the “crystal” water can get muddy after a hard rain or during spring runoff, but if you catch it right it can deliver some great trout fishing.


Public access is quite good since most of the river flows through the White River National Forest and runs nearly parallel to highway #133. In the fall, brown trout come up from the Roaring Fork River to spawn, which can provide a great opportunity for anglers. The state stocks rainbow and cutthroat in the public sections between Marble and Redstone because hatches tend to be lower here than in other parts of the river. This is the only section that is stocked.

Higher concentrations of rainbow are found as you move toward the river’s confluence with the Roaring Fork. Because this is a swift moving river, the fish are known to hold out in current seams and banks where it’s possible for them to feed without exerting too much energy. Most consider late spring to early fall the best time to fish this wading river. 

Between Crystal City and Marble, the river works its way through the Crystal River Canyon, a narrow valley with a challenging landscape. Fishing is known to be good here but the terrain is rugged and access is difficult due to seasonal mudslides, snow slides and rockfalls. If this type of adventure appeals to you, be sure to only go in with an appropriate, 4 wheel vehicle.
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
250
-
$
500
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 3 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Destination:
Book a trip on one of Colorado's finest fly fishing rivers, located near Basalt Colorado. The Roaring Fork river is known for fiesty trout and lots of them. Schedule an experienced ... moreguide to show you the hot spots on the river and help you reel in a great catch!
$
400
-
$
475
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
4 hours - 1 day
Frying Pan River Float Trip in Colorado The Pan is OK at the moment with good water conditions. The fish are still laying low but there were reports of reasonable fishing closer to ... morethe Dam. Note that from the 3rd of June it is anticipated that the releases will be up with the endangered fish program. The Pan will run high for about a week. When the water comes up it won't be good fishing for a day or so, but when it settles down to a consistent flow it will be good fishing close to the dam where there will be floods of mysis shrimp coming through. The remainder of the river will be hard to negotiate for the few days when it runs at its highest level.

Recommended Flies:Use midges, bwos, nymphs and attractors. The fish are also taking small nymphs.

For mysis at the dam use Mike's Mysis. epoxy mysis, and BDV mysis.

The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try Wilson's Reverse Candy Cane #20, red and black chironocones #20, nick's larva in miracle pink, olive, and purple back, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22,copper johns #18 - #22, rainbow warriors, black polywings #18 - #22 and bling midges # 18 - #22.

As they come off try the gray loopwing emergers #20 - #22, the FPA special emergers, biot emergers both with and without the trailing shuck and gray RS2's#18 - #22, Johnny Flash in Olive, Grey, and Black, Olive and Red Jujubee, trailing shuck midge black and cream.

In addition try dry patterns such as the z-wing real midge, black cdc midge and any similar dry black and gray patterns in sizes from #20 through to #26.

The fish are taking generic nymphs such as pheasant tails and caddis larvapatterns. The BWO's are coming off as well. Try emerger patterns such as rs2'sand WD-50's.

For BWO naturals use standard BWO's, parachute BWO's, parachute Adams, andThorax patterns.
Additional Information
Tributaries:
Lost Trail Creek, Anthracite Creek, Avalanche Creek
Source:
Confluence of North Fork and South Fork Crystal River
Mouth:
Roaring Fork Creek
Length:
40 miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Hatches
SpringMidge, Stoneflies, BWO, Caddis, Eggs
SummerStoneflies, BWO, Green Drake, Red Quill, PMD, Caddis, Hoppers, Worms
FallBWO, Green Drake, Caddis, Hoppers, Eggs
WinterMidge, BWO, Caddis, Stoneflies
Current Forecast
Water Flow
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Top Fly Fishing Rivers in the US
The Crystal River is rated as one of the top trout fishing rivers inthe US by Bob Mallard, author of 25 Best Towns - Fly Fishing for Trout
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