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.
Nymphs To Try: Size 8-12 Pat’s Rubberlegs in olive, brown, or sand, TDJ Golden Stone size 10 -16, Tungsten Bead Hare's Ear's 16-18, Jaun's Kryptonite Caddis chartreuse 16, Double-Down Pheasant Tails, Two-Bit-Hooker in black size 18-20, JuJu Baetis in grey size 18-20, Sparkle Wing RS2 grey size 18-22, Top Secret Midge brown 18-22, Red Rojo Midge 18-22, Zebra Midge black size 18-22.
Dries To Try: Parachute Extended Body Blue Wing Olive size 18-20, Matthew's Sparkle Dun olive size 18-22, Parachute Adams 16-20, Brooks Sprouts Midge black size 20-22, CDC Morgan's Midge, grey RS2 with floatant applied.
Streamers To Try: Dungeon in black or white, Gonga in Brown or Rainbow Trout theme, Home Invader in black, Articulated Dirty Hippy in Rainbow or Brown Trout colors, white or black Slump Busters and Wooly Buggers.
Run-off is in effect in the Lower Arkansas River Basin, expect to find barely fishable water clarity below Salida. Consider fishing streamers, and heavy attractor nymphs close to the banks during this time. Conditions can change on a day to day basis so check in with the local shop of you preference for real time updates, we are a bit to far away from the action for daily updates on this peace of water.
Cooler than average temps have lowered the amount of water draining into the Ark from tributary creeks. This is producing a nice window of fishable water during what is normally a period of high and off color water. Visibility is currently hovering between 1-2' which is great for fishing. Expect to see hatching Blue Wing Olives during overcast days, with heavier caddis on warmer sunnier days. Golden Stonefly nymphs and Cranefly Larva could be on the menu as well. Streamer fishing has also been good along the banks, especially on cloudier days.
The Arkansas is fishing well in general, and the salida area has been seeing warm temps for quite some time. This means that aquatic insects have had some time to adjust to the spring weather and are hatching more frequently. At this point in time midges and Blue Wing Olive Mayflies are the most consistent souce of food, although Golden Stoneflies and Caddis are becoming more important as well. Water clarity has been good above Coaldale, but expect to se some off color water downstream. Releases from Twin Lakes and Clear Creek are expected to remain close to the natural inflows through most of May so the Arkansas should remain at great level for fishing for the time being.
We'll make it easy. Click here to order a selection of proven flies that the fish can't resist on the Arkansas River near Salida.