The Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida offers at least 10 boat ramps for float fishing, and numerous wade fishing access areas. There are some serious class III-IV rapids throughout this zone, so educate yourself before you go. Being a freestone river, the Ark supports diverse bug life, including tons of caddis, Baetis, PMD's, drakes, golden stones, and more.
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River Flow (Cubic Feet Per Second)
Flows have risen close to 1500 CFS near Salida. Run off seems to be nearing its peak
Water Temperature (degrees F)
low 40's through mid 50's
6" through 2', with potential for worse conditions on select days
Current Food Sources
golden stonefly nymphs, Caddis larva/pupa/adults, Baetis, , eggs, small fish
Flies to Try:
Guides Choice Dozen $24.99
Jigged Biot Epoxy Stonefly size 12 dark | TDJ Golden Stone size 14 -16 | Nitro Caddis olive size 14-16 | Charlie's Chronic Caddis olive or tan size 14-16 | Tungsten Sparkle Wing RS2 black size 18-20 | olive, or purple Jig zebra Midge size 16-20 | Purple juju Baetis size 16-22 | Pegged Eggs Gold Roe, Peach Pearl, Montana Roe, or Ruby Roe |
Elk Hair Caddis size 12-18, olive, brown, or black | Parachute Adams size 16-24 | Quigley's Film Critic BWO size 18-20 | CDC Morgans Midge size 18 - 22 | Snow Shoe Midge Cluster size 18-22 | Parachute Extended Body BWO size 16-22 |
Double or Baby Gongas | Craven's Dirty Hippie | Wooly Buggers black and olive size 04-08 | Near Nuff Sculpin tan or olive size 04 - 06 | Crystal Buggers white size 08-10 | Pine Squirrel Leech black size 12
guide tip of the week:
Flows are near peak run off for the season. Concentarte on fishing pockets of soft water along banks, behind river structure, or in wider areas of the river, as these spots will likely contain a few trout. Bright and heavy nymphs imitating golden stoneflies and caddis pupa(emerging caddis) will be effective patterns. Worms/eggs, flashy midge and BWO patterns, and streamers could also hook some trout.
Family time on the Arkansas near Buena Vista. The primary hatch of the day was size 16 Baetis, with a few caddis and golden stone adults here and there. Trout where found mainly in large deep pools, but they where holding the top 4 feet of the water column, and near the head of the pool a lot of the time.
Size 16 BWO Dun freshly emerged
Size 16 BWO nymph compared to size 16 golden stonefly nymph
Size 8 Cranefly Larva, these can be a yummy treat for trout during run off. An olive or brown Pat's Rubber legs can imitate these well.
Lucky hat of the day..... check out our custom lids if you ncoul use some more luck.
it's all in the details sometimes...
Our guide Matt Weiler finds his "Happy Place", while fishing on the Arkansas River below Buena Vista. Trout where hooked on both nymphs and dries this day. Here is one simple nymph you can tie yourself, it is hard to beat the feeling of fooling a fish on your home spun fly!