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Arkansas River Fishing Report - April 19, 2023

Big waves on Antero Reservoir, and a hefty rainbow trout in the net, via Mike Atwood on 4/18/23.

Date: 4/19/2023 @ 9:30am

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): not available in winter

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 240 cfs

Wellsville: 270 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 15 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest: It is stillwater season!

But first... The Arkansas River has been fishing very hot for the first half of April! We have still been seeing consistent Blue-winged Olives in Browns Canyon and downstream. Upstream of BV, it is still mostly midge activity, with more sporadic bwo presence. Fish are super active, and the fishing has been outstanding!

Over in South Park, Antero Reservoir is wide open now! Spinney Mtn Res will open on the morning of 4/21. Early season is a great time to fish the stillwaters from the shore. These lakes hold some true trophy trout, so make sure you fish with some solid hooks!

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: Flows are back up above 100cfs! 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. Lots of good fish in the system!

Above Spinney: No reports yet, but after the park opens on 4/21 we hope to get in there and see how it is fishing!


Antero and Spinney are wide open now! Try stripping some buggers or thin mint streamers, or try suspending balanced leeches and chironomids under an indicator. Stay ready!

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!


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