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Arkansas River Sponsored by
Date 16-Jun-18
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Arkansas River - Upper River: The upper Arkansas river is in excellent shape! Fishing along the edges has been extremely productive, and this is by far the easiest section of the Arkansas to wade fish at current flows. Below the confluence with Lake Creek, the river picks up 382 cfs from the reservoir outflow (clear water!) which helps to stabilize clarity through Granite. From now on, focus with stonefly and caddis patterns along the edges, where fish can find respite from the faster water. It won't be long until we see Drakes up at Hayden Meadows! Large attractor dry/dropper (Golden stoneflies, Yellow Sally stones, and caddis) set-ups, along with streamers should produce fish and make for a fun day.

Middle River: The middle basin is in excellent shape, as tributary flows drop and the release from Twin Lakes is cut back a bit. Conditions are very similar to what we find in early summer: fish holding in the slow, sheltered lies where they can ambush vulnerable food as it drifts by in the faster water. Much of this holding water is right up on the bank, or near it where both float fishermen and wade fishermen can easily reach it. Fish large attractors patterns along the banks wherever slower water can be found. With the growing presence of yellow sallies along the edges, sally dries or nymphs are an excellent option. We're seeing an increasing amount of surface interest, as more and more fish begin to eat chernobyl ants and stimulators. Dry/Dropper rigs with sallies or big attractor dries and caddis, sally, or attractor nymphs have been getting great reports. Streamers are also a good option as the brown trout fry emerge and are vulnerable as they acclimate to the changing river conditions. Advice to wade fishermen is to stay on the bank if possible, as the swift current can make for challenging wading.

Below Salida: The river is in excellent shape, and is really beginning to turn on. Summer hatches are beginning to show themselves, with a handful of golden stonefly sightings and lots of yellow sally activity below Salida (with reports all thed way up through Granite) the past week. Combining tributary flows receding and significant decreases in the release from Twin Lakes, flows are excellent and clarity is great on the river today. We've had consistently good reports the past couple of days from anglers fishing along the edges with attractor dry/droppers or shallow nymph rigs. Think summertime tactics, with fish taking up ambush lies near the banks waiting opportunistically for food to come their way. The pockets and edges along the shoreline provide a break from the current and holding water for the trout. Stonefly nymphs and caddis pupa fished under an attractor dry fly will move fish along the edges, and the presence of immature brown trout fry in the river make for excellent streamer fishing.

Reported by: Colorado D.O.W


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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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