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Arkansas River Fishing Report - April 27th, 2024

Date: 04/27/2024 @ 10:00am

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): unavailable

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 900

Wellsville: 820 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 15 cfs

Turquoise Res. Release: 350 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest:   In the past 48 hours, there has been a significant change to flows on the upper Arkansas River. The discharge from Turquoise Reservoir increased from 4cfs to 350cfs, and those bumps in flow are now being felt down in the Bighorn Canyon, pushing the Wellsville gauge to over 800cfs. This is a significant jump, causing some turbid conditions. Look for river visibility to improve in the next few days and things stabilize. On the plus side, we are now dealing with some cooler weather, which will slow the threat of any earlier than usual snowmelt. By early next week, we expect the trout to be adjusted to these new flows, and the quality of fishing should be back to a high level!

Additionally, Twin Lakes, Clear Creek Reservoir and the South Park Reservoirs are all open and fishable now. Spinney Mountain Reservoir State Park will open to the public tomorrow morning, signaling the beginning of stillwater season! Stillwater is a great option this time of year, when flows/conditions on the river can be variable.

General Fishing Report/Tactics: When the water clarity is good, 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.

If the flows are up and the visibility is poor, try using larger patterns to get attention. Streamers are a very solid option when conditions are tough.

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.


South Park Reservoirs are ice free and opening to boats and anglers! Twin Lakes and Clear Creek Reservoir are all ice free, and those boat ramps will open in early May.

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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