Copyright 2018 James Marsh
Fly Fishing On The Arkansas River In
The Arkansas River is the state of Colorado's longest
river. It flows over three-hundred miles from its
headwaters near Leadville to the Kansas state line. The
trout waters take up about one-hundred and twenty
miles of the stream, from its headwaters downstream to
Cannon City. Theres also about eight miles of tailwater
fishing below Pueblo Reservoir. Fly fishing the
Arkansas River provides as much fun and excitement as
any of the state's top trout streams.
The river begins from several small headwater streams
in the highest mountain range in Colorado, the Sawatch
Mountains. It also receives water from Turquoise Lake,
Twin Lakes Reservoir and Clear Lake Reservoirs. This
makes it sound like its a tailwater, but it is far more
freestone stream in character and most of its water
comes from freestone tributaries. The river is best
described as one-hundred twenty miles of pocket water.
The headwaters of the Arkansas River flow through
some of the state's most beautiful mountains. This area
can be fishing from State Route #24 that follows the
headwaters closely. The headwater stream is small,
average only ten to twenty feet in width in width. Runoff
on the Arkansas River usually occurs between the
middle of May to the first of July. The water can be dirty
and very high during runoff and almost impossible to fish.
Most of the fishing on the Arkansas River takes place
downstream below Buena Vista. It's still considered a
small stream but it grows the further downstream you
travel. The river consist mostly of fast, pocket water.
There's plenty of pools, riffles and runs throughout its
length. Most of the trout are brown trout. There's a few
rainbows. The browns probably average about 12
inches but much larger ones are present.
State Route 285 follows along the river south of Buena
Vista but route #291follows along the river downstream
to the city of Salida. East of Salida, the Arkansas is
followed by Route #50. There's road access from the
headwaters all the way to the Kansas State line. There's
only a few places the river departs from a nearby road.
Access points and pull offs along the roads are
There is a tailwater section on the Arkansas River
located at Pueblo Reservoir. It has a very good
population of both rainbows and brown trout. This
section can be fished during the cold months of the year.
April brings on the hatch that the Arkansas River is
noted for - the Mother's Day caddisfly. Anglers travel
from great distances to fish this prolific hatch. When the
hatch begins, it usually moves up river about eight miles
a day and provides about three weeks of great dry fly
There's over a hundred miles of fly fishing opportunities
on the Arkansas River in Colorado. Easy access and
plenty of trout, beautiful scenery are the river's main
features. Fly fishing the Arkansas River provides
anglers an opportunity to see much of the state as well
as catch plenty of trout.
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More Photos of the Arkansas
River: Click on Image for full size
Although trout can be caught year-round, fly
fishing the Arkansas River during wintertime
provides tough fishing conditions for most of
Fishing below Pueblo Reservoir can be very
The river blows out in May from the spring
runoff. April is the heaviest fished month of
Fly Fishing Guide to the Arkansas
Although rainbow and a few cutthroat trout
exist in the Arkansas River, most of the trout
are browns. As mentioned in the opening, the
main event of the year for the Arkansas River
is the huge Mother's Day caddisfly hatch.
That brings anglers in the month of April to
the river from all across the country to start
their fly fishing year off. The standard joke
about how to find where the hatch is
occurring is to drive up the highway that
borders the stream for miles and miles and
when you cannot see out your windshield,
you have found the hatch. The caddisflies
really do get that thick at times.
The water that comes from Clear Creek
Reservoir, Twin Lakes Reservoir and
Turquoise Lake each provides good fishing.
The upper river below Leadville produces
some nice trout.
In late May the river blows out from the spring
runoff from melting snow. It remains high and
pretty much unfishable until about mid July.
The river remain high and unwadable in
areas until August. The flows stay high a long
time but that doesn't mean you cannot catch
trout. One of the best hatches, the Golden
Stoneflies, starts in June during the runoff
and for the most part certainly hurts the
fishing; however, it is still possible to catch
trout in certain places along the banks of the
By the middle of August terrestrials
become important and continue to work
until the first of October. Just keep in mind
the flows stay relatively high, in the 500 to
750 cfm range until the middle of
September. The river is small enough that
you can fish from the banks just about
anywhere there is access. In some areas
it is possible to wade with these flows but
you should use a lot of caution.
There are several areas the river can be
floated and is a good way to fish certain
sections of the stream. One of these
areas is from Salida to Howard.
Don't forget the tailwater below Pueblo
Reservoir. The best time to fish there is
from about the first of November until the
middle of March. It provides excellent
fishing all winter long. There is a lot of
public access thought the eight or nine
miles of fishing area below the dam. It is
even possible to catch trout on the dry fly
there during one of its many Blue-winged
Arkansas River Hatches and Trout
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
Arkansas River and in all stages of life that
are applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call. We
not only will help you with selections, you will
learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92% of
the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else. 1-800-594-4726.
The Blue-winged Olives actually start
hatching in late March long before the April
Mother's Day caddisfly hatch. The hatch last
until about the middle of June. Some very
good dry fly action is possible, especially on
nice warm cloudy days. The action can be
good even when it is snowing lightly. There is
a second hatch that takes place from about
the middle of July through most of August.
The Mother's Day caddisfly hatch of the
Brachcentrus species is the big event of the
year. It normally starts about the middle of
April and can last up to a month long
depending on where you fish the river. The
hatch moves upstream about eight miles a
day when it starts. These caddisflies act a lot
like mayflies because they emerge on the
surface mid-stream and provide good dry fly
action during the hatch as well as during the
egg laying process which begins late in the
afternoons. You can catch trout almost all
day long during the hatch using pupa
imitations when it first begins, then changing
to dry fly imitations of the adults for the
remainder of the hatch and the egg laying
event that last until dark.
July and August brings hatches of Pale
Morning Duns in many areas of the river.
The water is still relatively high but you can
always find areas of the stream where you
can fish the hatch.
July through September is the best time
to fish imitations of terrestrial insects.
Ants, grass hoppers and beetles are the
main insects to imitate. Don't forget the
midges. They hatch year-round but
become especially important on cold days
when nothing else is hatching. You can
catch plenty of nice brown trout on the
tiny flies if you will give them an
opportunity to work for you.
One of the most popular types of flies on
the Arkansas River are streamers.
Imitations of sculpin, minnows, leeches
and baitfish work great at times,
especially when the water is high and
slightly off color. You can catch trout
during the mornings of the Mother's Day
hatch using streamers.
As always, we recommend our own
"Perfect Flies". We have simi-realistic
imitations of all stages of life of the
Brachcentrus caddisflies. They perform
very well during the big hatch. Our
Golden Stonefly imitations are the best
and most effective flies you can buy for
the hatch. You can obtain specific
imitations for everything the trout eat in
the Arkansas River. We hope you give
them a try.
The Golden Stoneflies hatch from about
the middle of May until the middle of July.
You may catch a good part of the hatch
before the stream blows out but much of it
is usually ruined from a fishing
standpoint. Even when the water is still
very high there are always some places
you can catch trout on imitations of the
stonefly from the banks of the stream.
Summertime fishing can be very good but
the stream flows remain fairly high and
wading can be tough.
Autumn returns some very good fishing
mostly because its spawning time for its
many brown trout.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
descriptions of the
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
flies, fly fishing gear
USGS stream data,
much, much more
Headlines: Stream levels are still
high and will likely be high for
several days. Runoff is underway
on the Arkansas. Keep checking
back with us. When it does clear
up, fishing will be very good again.
Keep up with the latest information
by clicking the above link to our
Arkansas River fishing report.
12/04/15 The water is in the high thirties in the middle and upper sections of the river at this
time. We recommend fishing the lower section of the freestone or the Pueblo tailwater. The
water will be a little warmer. The only aquatic insect you need to be imitating at this time is the
Midge. The Brown Sculpin streamer fly has been catching some of the larger brown trout.
12/11/15 The upper section of the river is just too cold to fish good. The Middle section is
marginal, but you can catch trout provided you fish the pockets and holes out of the current.
The lower section of the river is best. The tailwater at Pubelo is even better if the discharges
are low and currently, they are. Notice we added Winter stoneflies.
12/25/15 Merry Christmas. Get off the couch and fish. There is snow through tomorrow and
then some clear skies for a change. The tailwater provides the warmest water and the best fly
fishing opportunities. The middle and upper sections of the river are very cold, the water being
about 35 degrees and even lower. Midges and Winter stoneflies are the only insects you need
01/01/16 The middle and upper sections of the freestone part of the river has a lot of ice and
is too cold to fish. The very lowest section of it is an option but the water temperature is still
only about 36 degrees. We recommend fishing the tailwater because it is a lot warmer. The
discharges are fine now but you will have to keep a check on them. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are the flies you need.
01/08/16 There is going to be heavy snowfall continuing through today, but then clearing up
for the next week. It will just be clear and cold, or normal weather for the month of January.
Your best option right now is to fish the tailwater at Pebulo. The levels are fine and should
remain in good shape but make sure you check them before traveling very far to fish.
01/15/16 The weather has cleared up and is going to be nice for this coming week. The water
is still very cold in the freestone section. You would do much better fishing the tailwater at
Pueblo. The water will be much warmer. Midges and winter stonefly nymphs are the flies you
need to be using.
01/2216 The weather will be mostly clear for the next week but the water will still be very cold.
It isn't over 35 degrees anywhere other than the tailwater at Pueblo, and that is where we are
recommending. You should check the discharges but they should be low for the next week.
Midges and winter stonefly nymphs are the flies you need to be using.
01/29/16 This past week was a little warmer but melting snow kelp the water just as cold as it
was before. There is snow forecast every day for this coming week with temperatures rarely
over freezing. The tailwater section is still the only section worth fishing at this time. Make
certain the discharges are not high before traveling there to fish.
02/05/16 It is difficult to describe the weather on the Arkansas River because it ranges over
such drastic changes in elevation. This coming week is going to be a good one though. It will
feel like spring in the lower part of the river. You may have some opportunity in the lowest
section of the freestone park The stream levels are in good shape as well.
02/12/16The lowest part of the freestone section may warm up a little and be worth fishing this
coming week. It is going to be very warm for mid February. The tailwater will probably still be
the best choice. The discharges shouldn't increase. Melting snow in the freestone section will
probably stain the water.
02/19/16 Another week of warm weather is very welcome and helping the conditions but also
causing some problems as it normally does in the early spring. There is little rain forecast this
week and more warm weather. You may be able to fish the lower section of the freestone. The
tailwater discharges should be good for fly fishing.
02/26/16 The weather continues to be very nice for this time of the year, but the warmer air
keeps melting snow in the watershed and the levels are staying up and dingy. The water is
staying cold from the melting snow and ice. The tailwater in Pueblo is running high. Streamers
is about the only choice at this time. This trend is probably going to continue through this
03/04/16 The warmer weather has created as many or more problems as it has solved. The
freestone sections in the lower elevations is both cold and stained from melting snow and the
tailwater is flowing high. The tailwater would be the best location to fish provided the
discharges subside, otherwise, there isn't much opportunity at this time.
03/11/16 The river is in very good shape for this time of the year. Melting snow in the middle
and lower elevations is keeping the water a little stained and cold but it is gradually getting
better. The weather forecast is great with a week more of warm weather with almost no chance
of rain or snow. MIdges and Blue-winged olives are hatching good.
03/18/16 The stream levels are getting into good shape, especially in the lower sections of the
freestone river. The middle section isn't bad with water temps in the mid forties. The tailwater
is a little high now, but will probably drop soon. There is no rain or snow in the forecast for the
next week. Blue winged olives and midges are hatching good.
03/25/16 The stream levels are in good shape from the headwaters to the tailwater. The upper
and middle sections are still very cold. The lower section is in the high thirties to low forties
with some BWO hatches taking place as well as midges. The Little Black Caddis usually start
hatching from the first of April to the middle of April and is the first major hatch.
04/01/16 The river is in great shape for the first day of April. The stream levels are a little low
and stealth may be required but you can wade about anywhere. Blue-winged olives and
midges will still represent the most hatches but it won't be long before the little Black Caddis
and March Browns will start to hatch.
04/09/16 The stream is in good shape from the headwaters to the tailwater right now. There is
a lot of rain in the forecast and the levels are likely to be rising this week. Melting snow will also
contribute to that. The discharges at the tailwater are high now. Little Black caddis are starting
to hatch in the lower elevations. Midges and BWOs are hatching big time.
04/16/16 Just as the little Black Caddis hatch was getting started good in the lower and middle
elevations, here comes the usually April bit time snow fall. It seems to happen each year.
Things will get right back to normal within just a few days and the Arkansas will become the fly
fishing hot spot for the state of Colorado.
04/22/16 This is what the locals have been waiting on. The Little Black Caddis are starting to
hatch in the lower elevations of the Freestone section and it will move up the river fairly fast as
the water continues to warm this coming week. There is little chance of rain and we expect
great fly fishing opportunities. Fish the pupa during the hatch and adult during egg laying.
04/26/16 The past week didn't turn out to be as good as we expected but a good number of
trout were caught in the lower to middle section of the river for a couple of days. There is
rain/snow forecast everyday this coming week, so the situation is likely to change much. March
Browns and little BWOs are hatching good along with some little Black Caddis.
05/06/16 The Mother's day, Little Black Caddis hatch is underway and out customers catching
lots of trout. This is taking place in the lower freestone section to the middle section. It will
move upstream as the water warms. This is probably the best fly fishing opportunity in
Colorado right now.
05/13/16 The river is high and stained from runoff and likely to be in this condition for the next
few days. There is rain or snow forecast every day for the next week. There is little to no
opportunity for fishing unless you do it from the banks with streamers.
05/20/16 The Arkansas River is in the full official Spring runoff mode with high raging water. It
is something else to see but not something you would want cast a fly in. What you need to do,
is send us an email and let us help you plan that next fly fishing trip to the this beautiful part of
05/27/16The runoff is still in progress and will continue to be for a few more days. Please just
keep checking back with us for updates because when it does drop and clear, the fly fishing
opportunity will be very good. Right now, all you can do is wait and plan that next trip to the
06/03/16 The warmer weather has the runoff in the full stream ahead mode and the levels are
very high. The water if dirty to say the least. To make it simple, it isn't worth fishing anywhere.
It will be in this condition or worse for the coming week. All you can do is hope the runoff ends
as early as it started.
06/10/16 The Arkansas River begins at a very high elevation with a good snow pack this year.
The runoff is underway and it very strong. The river is a sight to see but not one to fish. The
runoff got a early start and hopefully, it will end early. There are usually a lot of trout caught as
soon as the water levels drop down and clears up.
06/17/16 The river is starting to fall back down but it isn't low enough for safe wading
anywhere yet. It can be fished from the bank with streamers. There are Salmonflies and some
Golden Stoneflies hatching. The tailwater discharges are also high but they could change. It
won't be long before the river is back in good shape.
07/01/16 The river has gotten into very good shape. The stream levels are still a little high in
some sections but fishable anywhere. There are sections you can safely wade. There are
numerous insects hatching, but a always, these vary from the headwaters to the tailwater part
of the stream. This week should be a good one for fly fishing the river.
07/08/16 The river is in good shape top to bottom, headwaters to tailwater. There are several
insects hatching but the drastic changes in elevation also change the hatches from one
section to the next. In some sections there are as many as eight or more insects hatching, or
multiple hatches. That can make it a little tough to match.
07/15/16 We received two good reports from customers fishing the Arkansas river this past
week. Both did very well in terms of numbers and sizes of trout. The Pale Morning Duns,
spotted Sedges and little Yellow stoneflies are hatching just about everywhere. The others we
list depend on the section of water you are fishing but all have a lot of hatches going on.
07/22/16 The river is in very good shape from its headwaters through the tailwater in Pueblo.
Our customers reported catching good numbers of trout in the Leadville area of the
headwaters this past week. There are a lot of insects still hatching but the hatches vary
depending on the section of the river, or more specifically the elevation.
07/29/15 The river is in good shape. The lower section of the freestone part gets a little too
warm in the summer, but the middle and upper sections stays in great shape all summer long
with few anglers taking advantage of it. There are still plenty of hatches and plenty of trout
being caught by the few anglers fishing it.
08/04/16 Stream levels are fine right now but they are on the rise. It is raining as I am writing
this and there are some flash flood warnings out. Be sure to check the levels before driving
very far to tish. There are still plenty of hatches taking place but they vary with the elevation
and different sections.
08/12/16 The Arkansas is in good shape from the small stream headwaters near Leadville to
the tailwater at Pueblo. Our customers are sending in good reports on a regular basis. The
hatches will vary considerably depending on the section of water being fished, or more
specifically the elevation. Spotted sedges are everywhere and Pale Morning duns most
08/19/16 Lots of smaller size trout are being caught up in the Leadville area. All sections of
the river are in good shape although currently just a little low. There is rain in the forecast so
this should be changing soon. We didn't get any reports from the tailwater but that is normal
during times of good levels in the middle river. Terrestrials are working great.
08/26/16 Good conditions continue to exist for all sections of the Arkansas River. Our
customers are reporting some very good fishing in the higher elevations up to the Leadville
area. There are still some Little Yellow stoneflies hatching in that section of the river. Most
hatches taking place are caddisflies. LIttle slster caddis are everywhere. Tricos are hatching in
the lower and middle elevations.
09/02/16 The river is in good shape with good stream levels in all sections. Anglers are
catching lots of trout in all sections. There are lots of caddisflies hatching. In the higher
elevations, there are still some PMDs, little Yellow stoneflies and other insects hatching. The
lower elevations have some huge Trico hatching taking place. Terrestrials like ants, beetles
and hoppers are also working.
09/09/16 The Arkansas provides as good of fishing as most any stream in the State at this
time of the year, yet few anglers take advantage of it. The river is currently in good shape from
Leadville to Pueblo. Our customers are constantly sending in good reports. There are good
wading levels and still plenty of hatching insects. Terrestrials are working as well.
09/16/16 The river is in good shape flowing just a little low in most sections. It makes it easy to
wade but also easy to spook the trout. All sections of the river are turning out some trout. The
cooler water has the trout more active and they are feeding on whatever is available.
Caddisflies are the most consistent hatches. There are some Blue-winged olives and some
Mahogany duns starting to hatch.
09/23/16 The river is in good shape. Lots of hatches are taking place. The cooler weather has
October caddis and Mahogany duns hatching good. There are good numbers of the large
baetis species of Blue-winged olives and still plenty of caddisflies. The stream levels are good
in all sections.
09/30/16 The river is in very good shape for this time of the year. Fishing opportunity exist in
all sections. The headwater are getting a little chilly in the mornings and the best option is
most likely the middle sections of the river. Brown trout are getting in pre-spawn stage. There
are several hatches taking place. It is as good as it gets at this time of the year.
10/07/16 The river is in good shape in all sections from the headwaters to the tailwater. Brown
trout are getting into the pre-spawn stage and are becoming very aggressive. They will take
the White Belly and Brown sculpin readily. Lot of insects are still hatching. Blue-winged olives
are in about all sections. We recommend the middle and lower sections but you can still fish
the uppermost if you desire.
10/14/16 The stream levels are low in all section. Wading is easy most anywhere but it is also
easy to spook the trout. There still lots of insects hatching including Mahogany duns, Blue-
winged olives and spotted sedges. Some October caddis are still hatching. Stay low as
possible and as hidden as possible and you can catch trout.
10/21/16 The river is in decent shape from top to bottom. There were some big brown trout
caught this past week in the tailwater section. Our customers are catching good numbers of
trout in the middle and lower sections of the river. Blue-winged Olive hatches are taking place.
Brown sculpin are working good to fool the pre-spawn browns.
11/04/16 The river is in good shape in most sections. The tailwater discharges and flows are
low and there are some big brown trout being caught there. The middle and lower sections of
the freestone is a little below normal levels but in good shape otherwise. There are some very
good Blue-winged olive hatches taking place and midges are starting to become important as
11/11/16 The river is in great shape for the middle of November. There are hatches of Blue-
winged olives and cream midges about everywhere. You can still catch trout on dry flies on the
surface in the middle and lower sections of the river. There is no rain or snow in the forecast
for the coming week, and it should be a good time to make that next trip. We had two good
reports of catches this past week.
11/18/16 The stream levels are just a little below normal in most sections. The water
temperature is dropping but still okay. The colder weather is going to reduce the number of
hatches but Blue-winged olives and Midges will continue to hatch good. You may want to avoid
fishing early mornings and give the water a little time to warm some. The taiilwater is always a
option at this time of the season.
11/25/16 The upper and middle elevations are getting pretty cold. The lower elevations and
the tailwater are the best options right now. Midges, creams and reds, or blood midges, are
hatching good. Blue-winged olives are also hatching good. The Brown and White Belly sculpin
continue to catch the larger trout.
12/02/16 The upper sections are too cold to fish but the middle and lower sections have been
turning out some trout for the few anglers fishing. The tailwater has also been good and some
larger brown trout have been caught there this past week. The Brown sculpin streamers has
worked good for that. Midges, little Blue-winged olives and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
12/09/16 The river is still in good shape from a stream level standpoint but the middle and
upper part of the freestone is cold, with water temperatures in the thirties. Brown sculpin have
been catching some larger post-brown trout. The tailwater at Pueblo is in good shape with low
discharges providing anglers a good wintertime opportunity.
12/16/16 The river has a huge elevation change from the lower section to it headwaters. As of
now, the middle and upper sections appear to be too cold to have any decent chance of
catching trout. The lowest end of the freestone section has a water temperature in the high
thirties to about 40. The tailwater section at Peublo is the best choice. Midges, Creams and
Light Greens, and Winer stoneflies are hatching.
12/23/16 The river is very cold in all but the lowest elevations in the freestone section. The
tailwater at Pueblo is in good shape discharge and stream level wise and much warmer. Fish
midges, Creams and Reds (blood midges) with the larva and pupa in tandem. Winter
stoneflies are hatching. Fish the nymph near the banks late in the day.
12/30/16 The Pueblo tailwater is the best location to fish right now. The discharges and
stream levels are fine and the water temperature about 39 degrees near the dam. The
freestone section is warm enough to fish in the very lowest section but not the middle or upper
sections. It has too much ice in the water. Midges, Creams and Reds, are hatching.
01/06/17 The lower end of the freestone section below the high bridge is warm enough to
catch trout using midges. The best option is still the tailwater at Pueblo. Fish the sculpin
streamers early and late in the day or when it is snowing. Fish Cream and Red midge larva
and pupa otherwise. This next week looks like there will be some warmer weather but it will
affect the trout very little.
01/13/17 The stream levels are still a little low and the water cold in the freestone section. The
lower freestone has water that averages about 35 to 36 degrees. That is plenty warm enough
to catch trout on Midges. At time, clusters of midges will gather in seams on the surface and
trout will feed on them. The tailwater is in good shape. Midges and Winter stoneflies will catch
trout there as well.
01/27/17 The water in the middle and upper sections of the river is too cold but the lower
section of the freestone and the tailwater at Pubelo are both warm enough to catch trout.
Stream levels are in good shape in both sections. Midges, Creams and Reds (blood) midges
are hatching. Winter stoneflies are hatching. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem under
an indicator for the best results.
02/03/17 The weather is going to be much warmer this coming week and hopefully, get rid of a
lot of ice in the freestone section. We think the fishing could be good in the lower river during
the next week. Blue-winged olives, Midges and Winter stoneflies should be hatching. Fish the
Red and Cream midges with the larva and pupa in tandem. Fish the winter stonefly nymphs
late in the day.
02/10/17 Streamers have worked very good for two customers this past week. The Black and
Olive Matuka sculpin streamers worked best. They caught some nice browns in the lower
freestone section. The tailwater at Peublo continues to produce some big trout. Midges and
little size 20 Blue-winged olives are hatching. The middle section of the river could begin to get
warm enough soon. The weather is going to be clear next week.
02/17/17 There should be a good week of fishing ahead on the river, especially in the lower
part of the freestone and the tailwater. Much of the ice and snow has melted in the lower river.
The middle and upper sections are still a little cold with lots of ice in the water. The river is
stained some where bank snow is melting. Fish Sculpin streamers when it is cloudy or where it
is stained, otherwise midges.
02/24/17 The warm weather pattern of last week has ended. It is back to the normal cold
winter weather. The lower freestone is completely free of ice but it will soon begin get some
banks or shelf ice. The stained water from the melting snow got two customers some nice
brown trout this past week. They used Sculpin streamers. The tailwater will be in good shape
this coming week. The lower freestone may be okay for those that fish Cream or Red midges,
with the larva and pupa imitations rigged in tandem.
03/03/17 The river is still in decent shape in the lower section of the freestone stream. The
tailwater still has good releases and water levels. Midges are still the most important insects to
imitate. Sculpin streamers like the Black or Olive Matuka sculpin are catching larger fish. Fish
them when it is cloudy or early and late. Midges, Creams and Reds, should be fished with the
larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
03/10/17 The weather is going to be much warmer than normal this coming week. We are
expecting the little Black Caddis hatch that made this river famous to begin early this year. For
now, Midges and little Blue-winged olives continue to be the main insects you need to be
imitating. Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem. Sculpin streamer are working good in low
light situations. The lower freestone section is in good shape.
03/17/17 The river is in good condition from a stream levels standpoint in both the freestone
section and the tailwater. Fish the lower end of the freestone section for the warmest water. It
is going to be very warm weather this coming week with no chance of rain. That is going to
melt a lot more snow and ice and may dingy the water in some areas. Little Brown stoneflies
have started hatching.
03/24/17 The river is highly stained to muddy and flowing high and fast. The weather is going
to continue to be warm this coming week and it is likely the runoff from melting snow and ice
will continue. It won't be long before little Black Caddis will be clouding the ski and trout
jumping out of the water to get them. The tailwater discharges are remaining fairly high as well.
03/31/17 The warm weather has melted a lot of snow and ice in the middle sections and lower
sections of the river, keeping the levels up high. When the stream has been low enough to
wade, the few anglers fishing have been doing well. Midges are still the most important insects
to imitate. Skwala stoneflies and little Brown stoneflies are hatching on the lower end of the
freestone. The tailwater is running too high to fish right now.
04/07/17 The river is still a little too high to safely wade in most places but it is dropping and
getting into very good shape. We got our first reports of the Little Black Grannom caddis which
are starting on the lower freestone section of the river. This hatch will move upstream as the
water warms. Little Blue-winged olives and midges are also hatching. The coming week is clear
of rain and snow. Conditions should be good.
04/14/17 The lower and lower, middle section of the river has the famous Little Black Caddis
hatch underway. This will continue to move upstream for the rest of the month as the water
warms. The river is still flowing a little high, too high to wade in most places. You can fish from
the banks in many areas. The weather should continue to warm up and the stream levels
continue to drop this coming week. There is no chance of rain.
04/21/17 The river is running high again, with stained water in most sections. The little Black
Caddis hatch is going good in the lower and middle sections. The levels are too high to wade
at this level but hopefully, will fall down soon. The river can be fished from the banks in some
places. There is no rain in the forecast until next Tuesday.
04/28/17 The weather has turned cold with snow for a couple of days. This will slow the
progress of the Little Black Caddisfly hatch. It is currently several miles downstream of Silada.
It will be back to normal in a couple or three days. The stream levels are down and wading is
possible most places. We have received several good reports this past week from customers.
05/05/17 The weather is difficult to describe because it varies from warm to almost cold in the
upper parts of the river. It will rain or lightly snow the next few days, but again, depending on
the elevation. The little Black Caddis hatch is up to and above Salida. March Browns are
hatching in the lower river. You can catch brown trout just about anywhere in the river,
including the tailwater at Pueblo.
05/12/17 The lower and middle sections of the river has lots of Blue-winged olives and March
Brown mayflies hatching. The upper river still has some Little Black Caddis but they are up as
high as Leadville. The entire river is in good shape with good stream levels. The tailwater
discharges are low and it too in good shape.
05/19/17 The river is high and dirty in all sections. The runoff is underway and although the
colder weather has slowed it down some, it is still to high to wade safely anywhere. All you can
do is to stay in touch. We will keep you informed as to the status of the runoff. You can send
us and email and let us help you plan that next fly fishing trip.
05/26/17 The stream levels in the freestone section and tailwater are in good shape right now.
You can wade much of the freestone section. We received a good report from the past week.
There are lots of Blue-winged olives and March Browns hatching. There is rain in the forecast
everyday for the next five days, so keep a close check on the levels. Right now, conditions are
06/02/17 The river is high throughout it length. Runoff is underway and likely to continue for
the next month. All you can do is stay in touch. We will keep you informed as to the status of
the runoff. You can send us and email and let us help you plan that next fly fishing trip.
06/09/17 The river is flowing very high and dingy to muddy in all sections of the freestone and
the tailwater is of course, high as well. We don't think the runoff has reached its peak yet but
hopefully, it will soon. All you can do is to stay in touch. We will keep you informed as to the
status of the runoff. You can send us and email and let us help you plan the next trip.
06/16/17 The stream levels are still high in all sections, too high to wade or fish in our opinion.
All you can do is to keep checking back with us. We will keep you informed. We do think it has
peaked and is on the way down, so hopefully, it will be in good shape soon. There is a lot of
insects hatching especially in the lower river.
06/23/17 The river is blown out in all sections. It isn't worth fishing anywhere right now. We
hope it is at its peak height from runoff. It normally end around the first of July but there is a
big snowpack this season. All you can do is stay in touch. We will keep you updated as to the
06/30/17 Some sections of the river are low enough to be waded today. It is falling fast and all
of it will be in good shape within the next few days, or before this next weekend. The water is
mostly clear now and there is no rain in the forecast for the coming week, so it will continue to
fall. There are lots of insects hatching and you should be able to catch plenty of trout.
07/07/17 The river is in good shape in all sections, with good stream levels and clear water.
The water is low enough for safe wading in most places. There are lots of insects hatching and
we have added terrestrials to the fly list. Now is a good time to fish the Arkansas.
07/14/17 Stream levels are back up again due to rain. There is more in the forecast everyday
for the coming week. Keep an eye on the levels before traveling far to fish. Some area can still
be waded safely and others are too high. There are still plenty of insects hatching. They vary
with the elevation.
07/21/17 The river is in good shape from the upper most section of headwaters to the tailwater
at Pueblo. It is raining now, and the river is on the way up. The rain is needed. It was getting a
little low in places. We recommend fishing the middle and upper sections, or the tailwater. The
lower river is getting a little warm.
07/28/17 The river is back up a little and running a little above normal levels. Most places can
be waded safely if caution is used but some can't. We recommend fishing the middle to the
upper river right now. The tailwater is running too high to fish at this time. You will have to
keep an eye on the levels. There are still plenty of hatches taking place and trout being
08/04/17 The river is flowing a little to high in most sections to wade. The lower section of the
freestone is getting a little too warm to fish. The middle and upper sections are fine. You might
be able to wade some of the upper river. There are some good hatches continuing and you
should be able to catch plenty of trout.
08/11/17 The river is down and in good shape, with wading safe and easy in most sections of
the freestone stream. The middle and upper sections are turning out good numbers of trout.
There are still plenty of hatches taking place and terrestrial imitations are also working good.
The tailwater section is flowing high from heavy discharges.
08/18/17 The river is in good shape in all sections in both the freestone and tailwater. We are
getting some good reports from customers. There are still some good hatches taking place
and Carpenter ants, Japanese beetles and hoppers are also working.
08/25/17 The river is running a little above normal and too high to fish in many places. It is
falling down fast and will be fine in another day or two. The tailwater is discharging high levels.
You will have to check back on it. There are still plenty of hatching insects. Don't go to
terrestrials as long as anything is hatching. That would be a mistake.
09/01/17 The stream levels are down a lot. It is still a little high in some sections of the
freestone. Most places can be waded safely with caution. Our customers caught some nice
trout this past week. There are still some good hatches and imitations of the terrestrials are
also working good.
09/08/17 The stream levels are down to normal levels and the water in good shape. The
temperature is fine from the lowest section to the headwaters. There are some nice hatches
taking place. In addition, terrestrials are working very good. Try our new pre-rigged dropper
09/15/17 The river is in good shape except the tailwater discharges are high. The freestone
section if turning out trout in all section from the lowest section to the headwaters. Keep in
mind, the air and water temperatures vary greatly depending on the location due to the big
differences in elevation.
09/22/17 The river is still in good shape in all sections but the tailwater, which is running a little
high. The water is getting a little chilly in the higher elevations. October Caddis have begin to
hatch there. Terrestrials will be short lived when the first hard freeze takes place. We received
one good report from a customer fishing this past week.
09/29/17 The river is high in the freestone section. It is to high to wade safely in most places.
We do think it may be back down by the middle of this coming week. The rain stops tomorrow.
There are some very good hatches taking place. Blue-winged olives and October caddis are
both hatching in good numbers.
10/06/17 The river is high, too high to wade safely in most all sections including the tailwater.
There isn't any rain in the forecast for the coming week, so it should fall back down fast and be
okay in a couple of days. There will be a hard freeze this coming week and get the terrestrials.
We will revise the fly list for the coming week soon.
10/13/17 The river is still runinng a little high, too high to fish in most places, but okay in some.
The stream levels should be dropping. There isn't any rain in the forecast this coming week.
10/20/17 The stream lev\els in the freestone and tailwater sections of the river continue to run
high. There may be a few places you could find to wade with caution. The river should
continue to fall all week since there isn't any rain or snow in the forecast. There ma be some
runoff from the higher elevations.
10/28/17 The freestone section water levels are running near normal levels. The tailwater
discharges remain a little high. The water is a little cooler but still in good shape with some
hatches taking place. The sculpin streamer patterns are continuing to catch some large
browns for our customers.
11/04/17 The river is in fair shape. Fish the lower and middle part of the freestone section.
The higher elevations are getting a little too cold. Cream and Red midges are hatching good
along with some good Blue-winged olive hatches. The tailwater is still a little strong and high
but can be fished.
11/12/17 Excellent conditions exist in all sections of the river. We recommend avoiding the
highest elevations but other than that, it is all in good shape with stream levels that an be
waded. The tailwater at Pueblo is also turning out fish with low discharges and stream levels.
This coming week should be a good one with nice and warm weather and no rain or snow.
11/19/17 All sections of the river, including the tailwater at Pubelo, are in good shape. We
received one good report from customers fishing this past week. Midges, creams and reds,
are hatching as well as Blue-winged olvies. We recommend fishing the lower and middle
sections of the river. The water in the higher elevations is cold.
11/26/17 The tailwater is beginning to turn out some good trout. Discharges and stream levels
are fine. Sculpin streamers and Midges are catching good number of trout there and in the
lower and middle freestone sections. Stream levels are in good shape and the weather is
excellent for this time of the season.
12/03/17 The water is cold in the freestone section, down to the high thirties most sections.
The tailwater discharges and flows are in good shape and the water temperatures about 40
degrees. Midges are the only important hatches taking place.
12/10/17 The river is in good shape stream level wise in all sections. The freestone section is
cold, averaging in the low thirties water temp wise. The Pueblo tailwater is a good option at this
time. The water is 39 at the lowest. Midges are the most important hatches - creams and reds,
or blood midges.
12/17/17 The river is in good shape in all sections. The freestone section is cold, with water
temperatures not over 35 degrees. The tailwater at Pubelo is turning out some trout. Midges,
creams and reds, and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
12/25/17The best opportunity exist in the tailwater. The water is warmer and trout are being
caught on midges and Winter stoneflies. The lower freestone section is in okay shape but the
water barely reaches 37 degrees and that's cold. Midges and winter stoneflies are hatching
12/31/17 The river is cold in the freestone section, even in the lower elevations. The water
temperature there is about 37 degrees and trout can be caught on Midges and Winter
stoneflies. We still recommend the tailwater as the best choice.
01/07/18 The lower freestone section should be good this coming week. The weather is going
to be nice and relatively warm and the water should be around 35 to 37. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are hatching. The tailwater is still in good shape with low discharges and stream
01/15/18 Discharges and stream levels are still good in the tailwater at Pueblo. The lower
freestone section is cold, but you can catch trout on Midges and Winter stoneflies. We don't
recommend the middle and upper sections due to bank and slush ice.
01/22/18 The stream levels are still in good shape in both the freestone section and the
tailwater. We think the tailwater offers the best opportunity right now. The water is warmer.
There is sill lots of ice in the water and some even in the lowest elevations of the freestone.
01/29/18 The lower freestone should be in good shape this coming week. There's no rain or
snow in the forecast and the water should warm up a couple of degrees. The tailwater
discharges are low and you should be able to catch trout there as well. Midges and Winter
stoneflies are the most important insects to imitate.
02/05/18 The river is in good shape in the lower sections of the freestone part and the
tailwater. There are lots of midges hatching and some trout have been caught on top where
trout are feeding on clusters. Light Green midges are hatching as well as the creams and
reds. Winter stoneflies continue to hatch good.
02/12/17 The river is in good shape for mid February. There are lots of midges, creams, reds
and recently, some light greens. Both the tailwater and freestone river has these insects.
Winter stoneflies are hatching in the lower freestone. Fish the lower section. The middle and
upper river has a lot of ice.
02/19/18 The river is in good shape but the weather and water is going to be very cold for the
coming with. The lowest section of the freestone may be okay to fish. The tailwater will be the
best option. Midges and Winter stoneflies.
02/26/18 The freestone section is a little warmer and should continue to warm with the nice
week of weather ahead. Stream levels are in good condition. The tailwater is running a little
high but still okay. Midges, winter stoneflies, sculpin, aquatic worms and little Blue-winged
olives continue to hatch.
03/05/18 The lower section of the freestone section is in better shape, with trout being caught
by the few anglers fishing it. This coming week is going to be clear and warmer. Midges, winter
stoneflies, Skwala stoneflies, little BWOs, and sculpin are the foods you need to imitate.
03/12/18 There is a good week of weather ahead. It will be warmer and hopefully get rid of
some more slush ice in the water. Melting snow is keeping the stream levels up. They are a
little above normal in the freestone section, and high in the tailwater at this time.
03/19/18 The stream levels in the freestone section are about the same as last week and
maybe a little warmer. Skwala stoneflies are hatching very good. Cream and light Green
midges are hatching. Sculpin streamers should continue to catch the larger trout.
03/24/18 Stream levels are still high and the water off color. I think that is mostly from melting
snow. Both the freestone and tailwater levels are high. There are good hatches of Midges and
Skwala stoneflies taking place.
04/02/18 The river is in good shape. The tailwater is still running high but the freestone is a
little below normal level making wading easy and safe with caution. The water is getting
warmer fast and up to the high forties in some lower sections. Remember, April is the month
the Little Back caddis hatch big time on the Arkansas.
04/17/18 The water is getting warmer in the freestone section and Little Black Caddis have
started hatching in the lower elevations. This hatch will move upstream each day for the rest of
this month and is one of the best hatches to take place on the Arkansas.
04/23/18 The river has gotten in good shape, with good (low) stream levels and warmer water.
There are good hatches of Little Black Grannom Caddis hatching in the lower section of the
river. You can expect them to gradually move upstream as the water warms. Fish the pupa
until you see the egg laying starting to take place.
04/30/18 Conditions remain good in all sections of the river. The highest elevations are still a
little cold but the middle and lower elevations have good hatches of Little Black Grannom
Caddis as well as some Blue-winged olives. Stream levels are just a little above normal levels.
The caddisfly hatch will move upstream each day as the water warms.
05/07/18 The river is running a little high but still can be fished and waded in some places if
caution is used. The Mother's Day caddis, or Little Black Caddis hatch, is in the upper section
of the river at this time.
05/14/18 Runoff has started and the river is already too high to fish in any section including
the tailwater. All you can do, is to stay in touch with us. We will keep you informed as to the
status of the river and fishing conditions.