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Arkansas River Sponsored by
Date 08-May-21
Water Condition
Water Temperature  


Conditions : Arkansas River - Leadville to Buena Vista As of 5/6/2021, Braden Baker with Ark Anglers writes, “The upper river is beginning to offer more early spring fishing opportunities as blue-winged olive hatches kick into gear in the upper basin. The outflow from Twin Lakes is now running at 20 CFS. Hayden Meadows is fishing well and with far less traffic than you'd see around Salida. Deeper, slow runs or pools that receive ample sunlight are going to offer your best chances at finding active fish, but with warmer temperatures, more fish are spreading out to intercept food in riffles and shallower runs. Your best window of opportunity will be between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Midges and blue-winged olive nymphs will be your most important forage to imitate, and pairing these with a large attractor nymph like a stonefly is a great way to cover your bases. Even on recent sunny days, we are seeing some great blue-winged olive hatches through the Numbers and Granite. There should be many more opportunities to catch a mayfly hatch up here in the coming weeks, especially if there's any cloud cover in the forecast.” Flows: 116 CFS at Hayden Meadows, 150 CFS at Granite (5/7/2021)

Buena Vista to Salida As of 4/20/2021, Braden Baker with Ark Anglers writes, “Caddis kicked off strong again with Wednesday’s warmth and we have good hatches in the afternoon from Howard through Salida. Expect the leading edge of caddis hatches to be around Big Bend this weekend, possibly even further upstream into Brown's Canyon. With warm weather in the forecast later in the next few days, the window of opportunity is very broad to catch caddis hatching or adult egg-laying activity on the warmer days ahead! We would normally expect a semi-predictable wave of hatches moving upstream day by day, but as delayed as the hatch has been in starting this year we are seeing pockets of intense hatches fire off outside of the typical pattern. Water near Salida that reaches 54 degrees has the potential to see caddis hatches underway over the coming week with the return of warm weather. We'll update this report daily as the hatch proceeds upstream. The blue-winged olive mayflies tend to be most active in the afternoons, with daily behavioral nymphal drifts occurring between noon and 3 p.m. most days. These mayflies typically wait for cloudy, often precipitous days to hatch in the afternoons, but you should be prepared regardless of the forecast. Sometimes all it takes is a single cloud to mute the sun for a hatch to occur. Recently, it seems that the clear, direct sunlight has fish content to feed just under the surface, intercepting nymphs and vulnerable emergers rather than committing to the dun on the water's surface. Next Tuesday's forecast of cooler temperatures and potential precipitation may make for more concentrated surface feeding. These mayflies are generally a #16-18 and offer some of the best "match-the-hatch" dry and dry-dropper fishing of the year. Stonefly and other large attractor nymphs will be great anchor flies while nymphing during non-hatch periods. For droppers, try midge larva and pupa, caddis larva, and blue-winged olive nymphs and emergers.” Flows: 275 CFS at Hecla Junction

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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