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Arkansas River Report

May 19, 2024

The Arkansas River has been seeing a steady increase in flows as spring runoff is seemingly poised at the starting line.  There is still good visibility in town and upstream of Salida but downstream has some decent color but is by no means un-fishable or blown out.  Look for the best fishing conditions above Salida, the further north you go clarity will improve significantly.  This is also the time of year to size up in leader and tippet size.  As water comes up fish will be pushed to the banks where submerged willows and other snags will ruin your day if you are fishing 5x tippet.  Don’t be afraid of using 2x or even 1x leader and tippet when the water is off color.

Look for fish to be holding along seems of the main current and structure along the banks of the river.  Nymphing larger attractor patterns and stripping streamers has been producing the most amount of fish.  I like carrying 2 rods this time of year, nymphing up through and run then throwing streamers back down can be a great way to effectively work the entirety of a run and find a few extra fish then if you were sticking to just one technique.

Give us a call or swing by the shop if you are planning on getting out and need bugs or just some friendly advice.  We are open and booking trips 7 days a week.

Suggested Flies:

Duracell’s #14-16, Roza’s Dark Neon Jig #16-18, Roza’s Violet Tailed Jig #14-18,  Soft Hackle PT’s #16-18, Black and Pearl Perdigons #14-18, Redneck Midge #18-20, Miller’s Plus One #16-18, Juju Baetis #18-20, Juju Bee Foam Back #20, Frenchie #14-16, Two Bit Hooker Golden #12-16, Croston’s Mass Attack #12, Hi Vis Black Foam Caddis #14-16, Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, X Caddis #16-18, Parachute Adams #16-20, BWO Parachute Emerger #18-20, Extended Body BWO #16-20




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About the river

In 2014 the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission designated the upper Arkansas River as Gold Medal Water, doubling the amount of designated water in the state. In order to receive a Gold Medal listing, a body of water must consistently support a minimum trout standing stock of 60 pounds per acre, as well as consistently support a minimum average of 12 quality trout (trout larger than 14 inches) per acre. The designated Gold Medal waters of the Arkansas river span 102 miles from the confluence with the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River, near Leadville, to the Parkdale at the Highway 50 Bridge crossing above the Royal Gorge.

With mild winters, typically clear water flows, and an abundance of high alpine creeks and lakes, the Arkansas River Valley provides for an abundance of top notch, year round fishing opportunities.

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