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Fly Fishing the Arkansas River in Colorado

Arkansas River summary

Arkansas River is a fly fishing location in Colorado. This destination has an elevation of approximately 9600 feet. Please view the pinpointed location for Arkansas River on the Google Map to the right. If you'd like directions to this destination, please click here for directions (provided via Google Maps).

Arkansas River reports

Ron Van Valkenburg (peakprfmr) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: The tail waters of the Arkansas river have been fishing great with many 18 to 25 inch fish being caught (03/23/10)
Steve Zamora (Stevez) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: May is a grat time to fish the upper Arkansas River above Buena Vista. The Blue wing olive hatch is in full swing.
No less than 12 fish landed in an hour.
Great fun and another hatch not to be missed. In the past wee, I've traveled throughout the mountain region of Colorado on a business/fishing trip and the best drainage I saw was the Arkansas
for this time of year. (Water clarity and fishability) (05/02/09)
Steve Zamora (Stevez) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: The May Caddis hatch has begun and it is incredible. Caddis, like a blinding snow storm, on your clothes, in your clothes, in your ears, on your sun glesses, on your rod and fish rising like crazy. If you can get there, get there! Big fun awaits. (05/02/09)
Jayson Cote' (jtcote) reported - 3 - Fair fly fishing: browns are lurking the banks as the bows begin to spawn, although the activity is slow, water is cold and you have to place the nymph on their nose. BWO's coming off with some cloud cover but rarely. Plenty of stone flies in the river, fish the bottom consistently. (04/03/09)
Zeke Hersh (briver) reported - 1 - Excellent fly fishing: The Arkansas is fishing great as fall arrives in the high country. Hopper Dropper rigs rule this fishery and our guides continue to hook nice Browns in the Kobe and Granite areas. Caddis, Hoppers, and BWOs are prevalent daily with the hatches dependent on weather conditions. Just like the Colorado, the crappy days on the Ark in the fall can be the best. With 90% of the population being Brown trout, the Ark promises to fish well into the Fall prespawn season. For more info or to book your trip on the Arkansas River give Blue River Anglers a call toll free at (888) 453-9171. (10/28/08)
Zeke Hersh (briver) reported - 2 - Good fly fishing: The Arkansas is dropping and clearing! The hatches are happening! We are seeing Caddis, BWOs and others starting to emerge! Water temps are finally offering more consistent hatches and feeding activity. Great dry fly fishing has been reported as of 7-1 around the Buena Vista area as of . The Ark still has the ability to 'blow out' at any time, so call us at the shop for an up to the minute report before you go. For more info or to book your trip on the Arkansas River give Blue River Anglers a call toll free at (888) 453-9171. (07/01/08)
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Arkansas River businesses

Shop Guide Service Lodge School (Classes) Travel Rods Manufacturer
Guide Service Flyfisher Guide Service
700 East 24th Avenue, Suite 4
Denver, Colorado
Guide Service Fly Currents, Inc.
1725 west stuart street
fort collins, Colorado
Other Breckenridge Outfitters
100 N. Main St. #206
Breckenridge, Colorado
Trout's Fly Fishing
1303 E. 6th Avenue
Denver, Colorado
Other ArkAnglers
7500 W. Highway 50
Salida, Colorado
Almont Anglers
10209 HWY 135
Almont, Colorado
Royal Gorge Anglers
1210 Royal Gorge Blvd.
Canon City, Colorado
Blue River Anglers
281 Main St.
Frisco, Colorado
Trout's Fly Fishing / Flyfisher Guide Service
700 East 24th Avenue, Suite 4
Denver, Colorado
General Fishing Tackle
3201 N El Paso St
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Other Get Your Fly Right
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Other Anglers Addiction
Pueblo, Colorado
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Arkansas River questions and answers

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3 questions
Andy Idema (aidema)
My brother and I want to fish the Arkansas. He'll be in Taos and I'll be in Erie (near Boulder). What is a good stretch of the river to fish if we want to meet halfway? What is your favorite section of this river? Where are the largest trout?   |  Reply
Blake Knisely (TroutBum)
My buddy and I skipped out on work to hit the Arkansas on Monday, Feb 19 2007. The weather was beautiful for the most part...party cloudy and a high of about 50 degrees. We got there around 9:30am and fished for quite a while on one stretch where we both had some luck...caught all nice browns between 10-20 inches. We then moved on to another spot and fished the remainder of the day there and WOW was it ever a good way to finish up the day!! For me, The Arkansas is known for being mostly a brown trout fishery...I've fished it many times before and don't think I've ever caught a Rainbow...however, we hit it big with some fatty bows between 2-5pm. We caught many, many rainbows and only one brown in this spot...the bows were all anywhere from 2-5+ lbs. BIG, nice, healthy, fat bows...it was great! I had the most success with a big, ugly ruberlegged stonefly nymph in order to get the rig down. I then trailed it with two midges. The hot midge patterns were: Black Biot Midge #22, Black Beauty Midge #22, Disco Midge #22, Zebra Midge #22, Black/Blue Ice #22, also got a few with a flashback pheasant tail #20 and just simple little black bead head midges.The key is getting your rig down to the bottom where the fish are holding. If you can find the right depth and get a good presentation/dead drift through their holding/feeding channels, you should be able to pick up a few fish...and they sure were eager to hit the stonefly nymph when they did!! All in all, it was the best day I've had on the Arkansas since last year's caddis hatch! Hope this was or will be helpful to you all. Let me know if you've got any questions/comments. Also, I'll be posting photos of the hoggers shortly...one of them is already posted. Good Luck and Tight Lines! (6)   |  Reply
Andy Idema (aidema)
The Arkansas River is a magnificent river that starts near the town of Leadville and flows south until Salida, then turns east to the Kansas State line. Additional water enters from Turquoise Lake, Twin Lakes and Clear Creek Reservoir. These releases from the still water fisheries provide a clear, cold controlled water supply for the Arkansas River. The Arkansas River is the longest river in Colorado and is a pocket water paradise jammed with nice brown trout that eagerly rise to dry flies. Nymph fishing and streamer tactics are also deadly on this stream. Arkansas hatches include Baetis, caddis, midges, pmds and golden stoneflies. The Mothers Days Caddis hatch is the premier hatch on the river drawing fisherman alike from all over the country. Highway 285 parallels the river to Salida and Highway 50 follows the river to Pueblo. There is several access points are along the river but the most popular stretch is between Canon City and Buena Vista. The regulations are flies and lures only, 2 fish 16 inches or longer.Current Conditions Flow: 397 WellsvilleClarity: ExcellentWater Temperature: Low 50s to mid 50sMajor Food Organisms: Midges, Baetis, caddis, and Red QuillsHatches: Midges, Baetis, caddis, and Red Quills14 Day Forecast: Flows couldnt be better. Look for great fishing for weeks to come.Tips and Other Information: Fishing on the Arkansas is nothing short of excellent right now. Anglers can expect hatches of midges, Baetis, red quills, and caddis. Effective patterns include #16 Rubber Legged Stimulators, #20 Hi-Vis Baetis, #20-22 Blue Quills, and #20 Sparkle Duns. Dry/Dropper rigs are also picking up a few fish along the entire drainage. Effective droppers are #18 Tungsten Flashback Pheasant Tails, #16-18 Copper Johns, and #18 Mighty Mite Baetis. Streamers have been effective too. Try a black or olive Cone Head Woolly Bugger fished tight to the bank. If that fails, try an #8 Olive Slump Buster. Fall colors are adding to the experience and a few fish are already showing some indication (bright colors) that spawning time is near.Effective Patterns: #14-18 Limeade, #18-20 Sparkle Duns, #20 Hi-Vis Baetis, #20 Blue Quill, #18 Mercury Pheasant Tail, #18 Tungsten Flashback Pheasant Tails, #16-18 Copper Johns, #16 Bead Head Breadcrust, #18 Bead Head Prince, #18 Bead Head Buckskin, and #18 Mighty Mite Baetis.   |  Reply

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