The Headwaters of the Arkansas start near Climax Mine along Fremont Pass (Highway 91 South), and then flow along Highway south of Leadville, all the way to Buena Vista.  The upper stretches near Leadville offer tighter fishing along cut banks with willowy vegetation.  Good dry fly fishing can be found here as a large variety of aquatic insects dwell in the freestone river.  The Caddis population is especially high, and is always a good insect to imitate in the Arkansas River.  As the Arkansas flows downstream it becomes wider, with fast canyon areas containing large boulders.  These lower stretches from Granite to BV are sometimes better fished with a heavy hopper dropper set up, or a nymph rig.

 

Current Conditions:

 

River Flow (Cubic Feet Per Second):

Flows are currently near 300 CFS and declining from 400 CFS which seems to have been peak run off for the year in this zone.

 

Water Temperature (Degrees F)

high 40's through high 50's

 

Water Clarity:

Water clarity has been around 4' on most days

 

Current Food Sources:

Terrestrial insects | stonefly nymphs (large golden stones, yellow sallies, and skwalas) | caddis larva/pupa/adults | Baetis | midge larva and emergers  | PMDs | Green Drake nymphs (maybe adults in the near future) | small fish, leeches, worms, etc. |

 

Flies to Try:

 

Guides Choice Dozen $24.99

 

NYMPHS: 

 | Pat's Rubber Leg's olive, or black size 10-12 | TDJ golden STone size 14-16  | Egan's Iron Lotus olive size 14-16 | RS2 olive or grey size 18-22  | Two Bit Hooker dark olive size 18-20 | Natural pheasant Tail or black Pheasant Tail size 18 -22 | UV midge black size 18-24 | Zebra Midge Purple size 18-22 | 

 

DRIES:

Amy's Ant chartreuse size 10-14 | Hippy Stomper Yellow size 12-16 | Elk Hair Caddis size 12-18  | Pearl and Elk Caddis size 18| Parachute Adams size 12-24 | extended Body BWO 18-22 | CDC Baetis Dun Size 18-22 | CDC Morgans Midge size 18 - 22 | Snowshoe midge size 18-24

 

STREAMERS:

Baby Gongas | Craven's Dirty Hippie | Thin Mint size 04-08 | Near Nuff Sculpin tan or olive size 04-06 | Ishiwata’s Articulated Snitch olive |  Bead Head Pine Squirrel Leech black size 12 |

 

guide tip of the week:

Runoff is on the decline in the upper Arkansas, and we are seeing a larger variety of bugs starting to hatch.  This normally means an increase in surface activity as well, and we have started fish dry fly, and dry dropper rigs with success.  Look to target riffles, and pocket water behind structure or along banks, as trout often lie in those zones, looking up for a tasty hopper or stonefly adult.

 

RECENT MEDIA:

We love seeing and hearing about your outings as well. Send any fishing photos or stories  you want to share over to jacob@fishcolorado.com and we'll throw 'em up in the reports.

June 9th....

Fishing the Upper Ark at about 400 CFS, this was close to peak run off for the year....

  

 

Larger bugs where the most productive on this day, but a few days later midges where more productive, even in the high water...

A few bugs from a few quick sein samplings.... (from top to bottom) Baetis nymph, PMD nymph, Green Drake Nymph, and a bunch of cased caddis larva...

 

This beauty was taken on a small articulated streamer, jigged along the bank...

 

Remember, even if the fishing isn't outstanding its all about the experience...

May 24th...

Water clarity has a slight stain near Hayden Meadows, but it's just about perfect for fishing...

 

 

 

We have been finding quite a few stoneflies on rocks close to the banks recently...

 

 

A bit more color in the water near Clear Creek, but still nice and fishable... 

 

 

BWO's hatching in sparse numbers mid-afternoon, here is a cripple snagged from the surface film...

 

Recent History:

We love seeing and hearing about your outings as well. Send any fishing photos or stories  you want to share over to jacob@fishcolorado.com and we'll throw 'em up in the reports.

Local Angler Kris Tikkanen went out for a fish on the Upper Arkansas recently, finding a few bugs and few trout along the way....

While there are some bigger food sources still available in the Upper Ark (such as this cranefly larva pictured on the left), the most active aquatic insects are currently BWOs (adult dun pictured on right), and midges.

     

 

Kris hooked almost all of his trout this day on a size 20 Natural Pheasant Tail, which is a classic nymph that is perfect for imitating BWOs subsurface...

 

9/1/2020

Large net building caddis larva were found in high numbers, as well as small mayfly nymphs...

 

Smaller nymphs imitating Baetis and midges hooked most of the fish on our last outing to the Upper Ark, we found these fish holding in fast/shallow water in the middle of the river, and hiding along deeper cuttbanks...

 

 

Learn More about the Arkansas River