Colorado, with its high peaks and abundant snowfall, is responsible for much of the water in the West. The tributaries that feed into the mighty Colorado River, which flows all the way to Mexico, originate in the mountains around Basalt.
These tributaries, or headwaters, include the Roaring Fork, Fryingpan, and Crystal Rivers. As important as these rivers are for source water, they’re equally treasured for their scenic beauty and recreational value. They’re renowned for exceptional trout fishing and boast what are known as Gold Medal Waters.
The Fryingpan River is 42 miles long and flows from Ruedi Reservoir through our town. And the Roaring Fork River, 70 miles long, originates on Independence Pass above Aspen on the Continental Divide. Basalt is the confluence site of these two waterways.
The nearby Crystal River originates in the Elk Mountains and flows 40 miles to Carbondale, where it joins the Roaring Fork River. And then, the Roaring Fork River, with all her tributaries now united, continues downstream to meet the Colorado River at Glenwood Springs.
Consider this: Whether you fish, float, paddle, or enjoy our rivers in quiet contemplation, when you visit Basalt, you’re at the source–and in the flow.
The first, the Fryingpan River, boasts 14 miles of these extra-productive waters. The Gold Medal section can be found between its confluence with the Roaring Fork River and Ruedi Reservoir, with clear, luminous water, awe-inspiring alpine views, and lunker-sized trout. This section of the river offers catch-and-release brown trout and rainbow trout fishing. Check out the Fryingpan River Report for updated conditions.
Roaring Fork River
And the second, the Roaring Fork River, has 22 miles of Gold Medal fishing in its 60 miles of fishable waters.The headwaters start high above Aspen, and then flow through Basalt and on to the mighty Colorado River. The water remains a Gold Medal section from its confluence at the Fryingpan down to the Colorado River at Glenwood Springs. Mountain whitefish, brown trout and rainbow trout populate this stretch. Check out the Roaring Fork River Report for updates on conditions.
Just 20 minutes from Basalt, the Colorado can be accessed from the shore in waders or by float fishing in a drift boat. Rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout live in its depths.
The Crystal River is named for its clarity and beautiful color. Its headwaters start above the town of Marble, Colorado. Then it flows through Redstone and past Carbondale, where it joins the Roaring Fork River. Most of the Crystal River flows through White River National Forest land parallel to Hwy. 133, which gives great public fishing access to hook the brown and rainbow trout that populate its waters.