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: variety of hopper patterns size 8 -12, Golden Stone dries size 10-16, Foam Body Caddis black size 16-18, Peacock Caddis size 18, Missing Link Caddis size 16, Extended Body Green Drake size 12-14
Nymphs To Try: TDJ Golden Stone sixe 12-16, Pats Rubber Legs olive size 10-12, Biot Golden Stone Size 10-14, Hare's Ear size 16-18 (especially with tungsten bead and CDC hackel, size 12-16 pheasant tail, Sparkle Wing RS2 size 18-22
Streamers to Try: Slump Busters and Wooly Buggers of various colors, small to medium trout themed streamers such as Baby Gonga's or the Dirty Hippy.
The Headwaters of the Ark have been fishing well! Dry fly fishing has been good consistently with dry flies near Kobe, and Hayden Meadows access’ , including small hoppers, Green Drakes, and a variety of caddis. Try a dry dropper set up if fish don’t to seem to be looking at flies on the surface too much.
Fishing from Granite to BV has been successful using a heavier hopper-dropper rig with a large golden stone pattern as the weighted nymph. Look for trout to lie in pockets behind builders, and under vegetated banks. Some pieces of water may require a nymph rig to get flies into deeper holes and seams.