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 been on the decline and are just above 500 CFS near Salida currently.
Water Temperature (degrees F)
mid 50's through mid 60's
3 feet or better recently. Location and weather conditions can effect clarity significantly.
Current Food Sources
golden stoneflies | Yellow Sallies | Caddis | Green Drakes | PMDS | Baetis | midges| small fish, leeches, etc.
Flies to Try:
Guides Choice Dozen $24.99
Jigged Biot Epoxy Stonefly size 12 dark | TDJ Golden Stone size 14 -16 | | Charlie's Chronic Caddis olive or tan size 14-16 | Tungsten CDC Hare's Ear size 16-20 | Copper John green size 12-16 | Split Case PMD size 16-18 | Tungsten Sparkle Wing RS2 olive size 18-20 |
Foamulator Yellow size 8-12 | Chubby Chernobyl Olive size 6- 14| Hippy Stomper Yellow size 10-14 |Elk Hair Caddis size 12-18, olive, brown, or black | Colorado Green drake size 12 | Parachute Extended Body PMD or BWo size 16-20 | purple Parachute Adams size 16-24 | CDC Morgans Midge size 18 - 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:
Here is a snippet of info on the Ark near Salida, straight from our guide discussion group...
"Started fishing around 815. Sparse hatch of caddis, sally, PMD. Big trico hatch. Ran #10 Tan caddis--> #12 purple haze and #12 peacock pmx-->12 purple haze all morning. Switched to single #14 gold chubby with ample movement, added haze when I saw pmds. After Stone bridge, fished gold chubby to Elk Hair PMD, then dropper fished to Adobe caught a few on 20 incher and TDJ golden 12. Water temp maxed out at 63F @ 2pm, we where off at 245. We probably had 120 fish to the fly, boated 35ish? Fishing good out of the gate with a solid drift."
In translation...... Tricos where the main hatch of the day, with secondary hatches of PMDs, caddis, and yellow sallies. Even though tricos where the heaviest hatch, the most productive flies of the day where PMD, golden stone, and caddis imitations. Double dry flies were the best technique of the day, but dropping a nymph off of the dry in the hotter hours of the afternoon was also productive.
We love seeing and hearing about your outings as well. Send any fishing photos or stories you want to share over to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll throw 'em up in the reports.
Green Drake Nymps on the move....
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 could 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!