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 sometime better fished with a heavy hopper dropper set up, or a nymph rig.


Dries To Try: Streambank Hopper size 10-14, Hippy Stomper yellow size 10-14, Chubby Chernobyl black/tan or gold size 8-12, Crystal Stimulator yellow size 12-16, Elk Hair Caddis olive size 16-18, , Peacock Caddis size 18, Parachute BWO size 18-20, Matthew’s Sparkle Dun BWO size 18-20

Nymphs To Try: Pats Rubber Legs olive size 10-12, TDJ Golden Stone Size 12-16, K's Latex size 16-18, CDC Tungsten Hare's Ear size 16-18, Tungsten Mercury Cased Caddis size 14-16, flashback pheasant tail size 16-18, Barr’s Emerger BWO size 18-20, Sparkle Wing RS2 grey black size 18-20

Streamers to Try:  Baby Gonga in rainbow or brown trout colors, Barely Legal, Slump Busters, Wooly Buggers, and leeches of various colors.



       The Arkansas River near Granite has been holding near 200 CFS over the last week.  We are still seeing some large golden stoneflies hatching, and some good sized grasshoppers along the banks.  The most prominent nymphs found when inspecting rocks in the riffles have been small, dark Baetis sizes 18-20.  Caddis Larva are also very prevalent in this stretch of water.  At these lower flows a hopper-dropper rig is a great tool for enticing trout from beneath cut banks, boulders, and shelves.  Deeper runs, and riffles may require a nymph rig to find trout on hot, sunny days. 



       The Arkansas River near Kobe/Hayden Meadows is about 100 CFS, while further downstream in Granite flows are closer to 200 CFS.  Water clarity has been good, even during heavy rain, but we have noticed slower fishing during these periods of heavy storm. Caddis, Red Quills, Tricos, Baetis, and midges are all active aquatic insects at the moment, and dark size 20ish Baetis are the nymph we are seeing in the highest numbers when flipping over rocks.  Drifting a hopper-dropper rig through oxygenated riffles, and over shelves has been an effective technique lately, and should continue to be until we start seeing consistent heavy freezes at night.



       The Arkansas River near Granite has decreased in flow about another 200 CFS this week, and is currently flowing in the mid 300CFS range. Action on golden stonefly nymphs has slowed down a bit, but we are still seeing solid PMD, Red Quill, and caddis hatches.  Fall bugs such as Tricos, and Baetis have started hatching as well. The water is very clear right now, and that in combination with lower flows have trout feeding slightly deeper in the water column on bright days.  Caddis pupa, and mayfly nymph imitations have been effective in hooking these deeper lying trout sub surface, and hopper patterns have been able to entice them to the surface even during the sunnier days.  Strong hatches, and lots of near surface feeding has been observed on more overcast days, especially in the evenings.



       The Arkansas River below Leadville is flowing about 200CFS, while further downstream near Granite flows are about 600 CFS.  Near Leadville trout are holding in fast riffles, shelves, and cutt-banks, while they will be more likely to be concentrated along banks, or in pockets behind river structure in the faster flows near Granite.  Current hatches include Giant Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, caddis, and Grey Drakes.
      Dry fly fishing has been very productive over the past week or two, but it seems like angling pressure has had some negative effect on surface eats recently. A dry-dropper set up is good “middle of the road” rig to start with in these conditions.  Evaluate conditions as you fish, and change up your rig accordingly.  If trout seem unwilling to take flies on the surface then a 3’- 4’ deep hopper-dropper, or nymph rig might be a good bet.



       The Arkansas River near Granite has finally decreased in flow to the historic seasonal average for this time of year, which is about 600 CFS.  Trout have settled into their summertime lies, and can normally be found feeding in shallow riffles, tight to banks, or at the head of drop offs behind shelves and other river structure.
       Dry fly fishing has been very productive over the past week or two, but it seems like angling pressure has had some negative effect on surface eats recently. A dry-dropper set up is good “middle of the road” rig to start with in these conditions.  Evaluate conditions as you fish, and change up your rig accordingly.  If trout seem unwilling to take flies on the surface then a 3’- 4’ deep hopper-dropper, or nymph rig might be a good bet.



      The Arkansas River near Granite has been fluctuating between 800-1000 CFS over the last week due to changes in release from Twin Lakes and Clear Creek Reservoirs, as well as precipitation in the area.  The fishing has still been very quality throughout these fluctuations, with some great dry fly action to be had.  The most productive hatches have been large golden stoneflies, and small Yellow Sallies.  Imitations of Green Drakes, caddis, and PMDs have also been hooking on trout on some days.
       It can be a good strategy to start off fishing a dry-dropper rig.  This will allow the angler to determine if trout are more focused on surface vs. sub surface feeding.  If more eats are had on the dry than the dropper it could be a good idea to switch to all dry flies and refine which pattern is most productive from there.  Vice Versa, if more eats are had sub surface then switching to all nymphs, or a heavy, nymph focused hopper-dropper rig could be the best bet.



 The Arkansas River near Granite is flowing about 1000 CFS, down 500 CFS from last week.  Water Clarity has been 4’ or better on average, including days during/following precipitation.  At these flows a wider variety of water is available to the angler, including deep seams/holes, shallow riffles, and cuttbanks.  We are seeing strong hatches of Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, and caddis, with more sporadic hatches of Green Drakes, and PMDs in the mix as well.  Trout are currently feeding on nymphs sub surface, and adult insects on the surface.
       Fish holding in deeper/faster water can be targeted with a nymph rig, or heavy hopper-dropper set up.  A large Golden Stone, or Green Drake imitation will make a good lead nymph in these situations, followed up by smaller imitations of caddis, sallies, and PMDs.  The angler throwing dry flies should look to target smaller side channels, wide areas of the river with riffles, shallow water with deeper pockets, and cut banks.  Terrestrial patterns, green drakes, and the color yellow in general have all had success in targeting rising trout recently.



The Arkansas River near Granite is flowing close to 1500 CFS at this point in time, with water clarity hovering between 2.5 - 4 feet.  This flow is still slightly faster than what we would call perfect conditions, but it is still good fishing which is getting better all the time, as flows slowly decline.  The primary hatches at the moment consist of Giant Golden Stoneflies, and Yellow Sallies.  There are also a lot of caddis being seen in and around bushes along the banks ranging from size 14-18.  Mild hatches of PMDs, and a few, sparse Green Drake duns have also been spotted in the area, but hardly enough to consider them a real “hatch” yet.
       A nymph rig is currently the most consistent method of take, but solid surface feeding activity has been observed in back eddies,  and large pockets behind/between boulders.  Target rising fish with dry caddis, golden stone, or drake patterns.  The nymph rig will be great from searching the entire water column top to bottom in a large back eddy, or for fishing 3-4 feet deep in seams of soft water found a few feet off the bank.



       The Arkansas River near Granite is flowing in the mid 1000CFS range, and is looking fishy!  Although the current is just a touch faster than we would like to see in some areas it has good clarity, and is very fishable.  Current hatches include Giant Golden Stones, micro caddis, brown/tan Spotted Sedge Caddis, Yellow Sallies, and PMDs.  The infamous Green Drake hatch should be on the way as well.  We did not get a 100% certain identification, but one of our guides spotted what seemed to be a few green drake duns emerging last week  between Granite and Buena Vista. 
       A nymph rig, or hopper-dropper set up are both good options at the moment.  The nymph rig will allow you to target fish holding in deeper, swifter currents, while the hopper-dropper can be a better tool for enticing bank dwelling trout to come out and attack your flies.


       The water is high in the granite area, but the clarity is good due to a high volume of clear water being released from Twin Lakes and Clear Creek Reservoirs.  Softer, more fishable water can be found in side channels, back eddies, and wider stretches of river. We have been hooking fish on large golden stonefly imitations, mayfly imitations size 12-18, chartreuse caddis larva/pupa, Yellow Sally nymphs, midges with a bit of color or flash, and worm patterns in pink or purple.  



The Arkansas is snow/ice free from Hayden Meadows down, and is starting to fish well.  The majority of trout are being caught in slower/deeper winter time lies, but some fish are transitioning to faster pocket water.  Midge hatches have been strong, and a few Blue Wing Olives are starting to hatch, and yesterday near Beuna Vista There was a strong hatch of size 14-16 Golden Stoneflies as well!  Caddis Larva are also becoming more active, and a few fish are being hooked on their imitations too.


Learn More about the Arkansas River