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Arkansas Fishing Report - March 28th, 2024

Updated: Mar 30

Adult blue-winged olives creep onto the snowy riverbanks along the Arkansas River on 3/26/24.

Date: 03/28/2024 @ 9:00am

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): unavailable

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: unavailable

Wellsville: 260 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 15 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest:   We are now seeing really prolific emergence of blue-winged olives in the afternoons! We had another swing of cold weather and precipitation come through the Ark Valley, but the fishing on the river has really been hot the past several days! Michael, our shop manager, had a chance to fish on 3/25 and 3/26, and found the afternoon bwo hatch to be quite thrilling. Lots and lots of fish coming up to the surface, just smashing the bwo duns. A double-dry fly setup with a parachute bwo and a parachute Adams was fooling many trout (consider a parachute Adams in front and a midge dry imitation in the back). Before the hatch, nymphing was catching lots of fish. Don't be afraid to let your nymphs swing at the end of the drift - lots of fish looking for that emergence type of action.

Spring conditions are here, and late March and the month of April are all about the bwos, which can offer some of the best dry fly and sight fishing on the Ark. Flows remain low and visibility is crystal clear, giving the stealthy wade angler a plethora of approaches and opportunities along the Arkansas River.

General Fishing Report/Tactics: Right now we are fishing mostly 5x or smaller leader/tippets and nymphs ranging from size # 16-20. Lighter tippets are less likely to draw attention from the fish, and light tippets allow your small flies to behave a bit more naturally during the drift. The smaller diameter of tippet means it is less likely to be dragged around by the current, allowing your flies to be at desired depths for longer periods of time. We recommend using small or yarn indicators, to minimize the spooking of fish when they land on the water surface. We love using fluorocarbon tippet for our sub-surface flies, and nylon tippet for our dry flies. Some patterns that have been effective for us lately are; #18 tungsten perdigons (olive, brown, black, even bright colors are working), #16-18 frenchie variations, #14-16 golden stonefly nymphs. For dries, we were fooling fish with #18-20 Griffiths Gnats, and #16-20 parachute Adams, but try your favorite midge and bwo imitations.

March and April are considered by many to be the best fishing months on the Arkansas River, so we hope that you can get out and enjoy the current conditions!

Lake County: Still lots of snow and ice to deal with up North, but a determined angler could find water to fish around Granite and upstream into Hayden Meadows. A stealthy approach is necessary on the smaller water. Look for some midge and possible bwo activity, but nymphing is likely the way to go for now.

Buena Vista/Browns Canyon: Fishing well! Mostly midge activity right now, with some bwos mixed in. We should expect the abundance/consistency of bwo emergence to steadily increase. You should be spotting lots of feeding fish if you are observant and slow-paced.

Salida and Downstream: Fishing well! Midges in the morning into blue wings are hatching pretty consistently in the afternoons, and fish are really looking up!

South Platte Tailwaters:

The Dream Stream flows have bumped back up to the 120cfs range, a great flow for fishing on the Dream. Leeches, eggs and worm imitations will fool lots of fish, but look for midge and bwo activity as well. As usual, the S. Platte is getting fished pretty hard. Remember to be courteous to your fellow angler, pick up after yourself, don't walk through the redds, and don't cast to fish that are on the redds.


Frantz and Sands Lakes in Salida are open and have been fishing well lately! Try stripping a Wooly Bugger, or suspending some larger attractor flies - squiry wormy, leeches - under an indicator.

Wrights Lake and Chalk Lake just SW of Buena Vista are also open and fishable now as another option.

High Alpine Lakes and Streams:

Still early for the high country... Look for updates in May/June!


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