Arkansas River Fishing Report - April 1, 2023
Blue-Winged Olives are hatching, and the Arkansas River trout are keyed in!
Date: 4/1/2023 @ 9:00am
Arkansas River Flows
Leadville (Empire Gulch): not available in winter
Browns Canyon/Nathrop: not available in winter
Wellsville: 305 cfs
Twin Lakes Release: 77 cfs
Fly Tying Social Nights: We have reached the end of our hosted Fly Tying Nights for the season, we will pick back up in the late Fall of 2023! Thanks for all that participated, we hope that it was beneficial and fun.
International Fly Fishing Film Festival: Coming to the Surf Hotel in Buena Vista, CO on April 13th! Doors at 6pm, Film starts at 7pm. Giveaways, quality raffle items, including a guided 4x4 High Mtn Lake trip for up to 4 people! Get your tickets here, https://www.showclix.com/event/if42023buenavistaco
Arkansas River Fishing Report:
The Latest: The second half of March was more wintery than usual, but it is gorgeous outside today to kick off April. The river is in excellent condition, as flows haven't really changed much in the past 4 weeks. Early next week, we expect the release from Twin Lakes to drop by about 50cfs. This will make floats a bit more bony, but wade fishermen won't mind the changes. Blue-winged Olives (BWO) are hatching regularly now, and trout will be observed moving shallow to gorge on these small adult mayflies. April is such a wonderful month to fish the Ark!
General Fishing Report: Flows remain low, and perfect for the wade fisherman. Float trips are now a real option around Salida, and downstream in the Bighorn Canyon as well. The BWO hatch is underway, and you can expect to see these mayflies hatching in the afternoons currently. These are small bugs! Using imitations in the 16-20 range might help you fool more fish when they are keyed in on 'em. You'll see fish moving into shallow water when the hatch is going. Look really tight to the banks, and look at the run tailouts for rising fish. Small dries and/or unweighted emerger nymphs are a good option when the fish move shallow.
When you're waiting for the hatch, fishing with tungsten bead nymphs will help your flies get down and stay down, which is going to lead to more hookups in the deeper runs. Zebra midges and perdigons with slim bodies will get the job done, but don't stray away from any of your confidence patterns. I like to fish 5x fluoro tippet with one heavier, larger nymph as my depth control, and then fish a smaller perdigon or zebra midge in tandem.
Patterns that have been working for Upriver staff lately include... Black Zebra Midge #16-20, Pearl Perdigon #14-18, CDC Pheasant Tail #14-18, Baetis Perdigon #16-20. When the BWO hatch is really popping, you will find success switching over to a small bwo dry fly of your choice.. I prefer to use a standard Parachute Adams in sz. 18. We always encourage you to fish patterns that you have confidence in.
Leadville Area: The river is finally fishable up in the headwaters. Use stealthy approaches to fool these fish in skinny water.
Buena Vista Area: The river is wide open, fishing well, and there are active trout all around!
Salida and Downstream: The river is wide open and fishing very well!
South Platte and South Park:
Dream Stream: The flows through the Dream Stream dropped from ~90cfs back down to ~62cfs. This might stagnate the movement of lake-run fish into the system, but there are still plenty of reports of trophy fish being caught. Expect crowded fishing conditions. Try using a balanced leech with a squirmy worm or an egg pattern under an indicator. In the upper reaches, you can fool the resident trout with more realistic insect imitations.
Not sure much progress was made on the thawing of the South Park reservoirs in the last couple of weeks... So the wait continues! In the meantime, smaller lakes in the area are open and fishing well! Frantz and Sands Lakes in Salida produce on the regular. Check out Wrights or Chalk Lake in the BV area if you need to scratch the itch.
High Alpine Lakes and Streams:
Late May and early June of 2023 will be the beginning of a new year for us fisherfolks who love the high country. It may take until late June/early July for some of the higher elevation lakes to become ice-free. Time will tell!