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Colorado Fishing Report

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Arkansas River Sponsored by
Date 20-Mar-17
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Arkansas River - Headwaters Fishing has been increasingly productive as the river has warmed and the period of direct daily sunlight increases. Midge hatches have been consistent and we have daily morning drifts of free-living caddis larvae. Golden stonefly nymphs are also molting at this time of the year, making themselves more available to fish. The energy will shift significantly in the next two weeks as the spring BWO hatch gets underway. This hatch always seems to be “the switch” – the fundamental change in the economics of a trout’s life, making it worth the expenditure of calories to move out of the deep, slow winter water and into the pocket-water feeding lies for which the Arkansas River is known. With this dispersal of the fish, much more of the river corridor becomes productive fishing water, dispersing anglers as well. Recent stomach checks have shown large quantities of mature mayfly nymphs, indicating that the BWO hatch is imminent. Absent that surface activity, most anglers are still employing multi-nymph rigs combining stoneflies, caddis larvae, and midge larva/pupae. However, trailing a mayfly nymph, particularly in the afternoons, now seems to be a logical and effective add-on. Direct sunlight is as important as air temperature, so focus on those blue-sky days! Warm, sunny days will still find plenty of fish on the feed in pocket water with mid-speed current and good structure, but expect most fish to be congregated in the deeper, slower runs we term “winter water”. There they can be best tempted by striated midge patterns like black beauties and zebras, golden stonefly nymphs, and “meat & potatoes” nymphs like pheasant tails and hares ears. Try focusing fishing efforts on the period of peak sun coverage and warmth between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Reported by: Colorado D.O.W


Hatches: Patterns Lures & Spinners

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About: - Much of the Arkansas River is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Driving on Route 24 along the headwaters provides a spectacular view. The most heavily fished and popular section of the Arkansas is from Buena Vista to Canon City. This section is approximately 75 miles long, with beautiful pocket water, pools, riffles and runs holding an excellent population of browns and a good population of rainbows. Trout in the Arkansas average 13-15 inches although fish to 18 inches and better are not that uncommon.

Camping: Stretching for 148 miles along one of the West's premier recreation rivers. AHRA operates five campgrounds along the river with a total of 86 campsites available.

From Steamboat Springs go west two miles on U.S. 40 to County Road 129. Turn north and drive 26 miles.

  • Brown Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Brook Trout

Misc Info: -


Arkansas River Flows
Frying Pan River
River Flow Stages


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