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Arkansas River Fishing Report - Aug 16th, 2023

A classic alpine cutthroat trout from a recent day hike...

Date: 8/16/2023 @ 10:00am

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): 85 cfs

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 675 cfs

Wellsville: 725 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 400 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest: Usually in mid-August we are discussing the impact of a major decrease in river flows to a native level. However, this year it sounds like we should expect the current flows to remain pretty stable into the first week of Sept. This is great news for the boater and angler who want to spend time on the Arkansas. We have been very fortunate this season to not have to deal with high water temperatures, and that should remain the case throughout the month of August.

General Fishing Report: The river is still fishing hot! Hopper(chubby)-dropper setups are fishing the most productive for us right now. On bright, sunny days, expect your dropper nymphs to get the vast majority of eats. I'd say around 8 or 9 out of 10 fish caught right now are on the dropper nymph.

For droppers, we are fishing mostly sz. 16-18 nymphs with tungsten beads for best results. We love perdigons on the Ark for their ability to sink quickly to the desired depth. We are running 3x or 4x leader/tippet to our dry fly, and 4x or 5x fluorocarbon to our dropper. If you find yourself fishing with some cloud cover, you can expect the dry fly fishing to be better.

Some hot flies right now... sz. 10-12 Chubby Chernobyl (your favorite color), sz. 16-18 olive perdigon, sz. 16-18 Duracell, sz. 16-18 CDC Pheasant Tail, sz. 16-18 red and black perdigon.

Leadville Area: Can be busy on the weekends, but the fishing is great. Longer leaders/tippets and stealthier approaches will pay off in the Hayden Meadows reach.

Buena Vista Area: Some under-utilized water up and downstream of BV, fishing very well.

Salida and Downstream: Fishing great throughout the Bighorn Canyon!


After a lull in the action, Antero and Spinney have begun fishing quite well once again. It definitely helps to be off-shore in some type of watercraft to find the deeper water this time of year. Indicator rigs with chironomids down deep are still producing. If the water is choppy, try stripping some streamers on a quick retrieve.

The pike and tiger musky fishing has been very consistent this summer! Spinney, Taylor or Clear Creek Res would be your best bets for those larger predatory fish right now.

If you just wanna fill your creel, or have more trout action, try fishing Cottonwood, Chalk, Wrights, Crystal Lakes, or Hayden Meadows Reservoir.

High Alpine Lakes and Streams:

August might be the best month for alpine fishing opportunities... Most of the cutthroats have finished their spawning efforts, and are now cruising a looking for a meal. Your favorite attractor dries are sure to fool a lot of alpine trout this time of year, particularly in the streams. If the alpine lake trout are fussy and picky, we recommend fishing small, weighted midges in black, red, or olive a few feet under an attractor dry fly. This is usually an effective way to fool the more picky cutthroats.

If you like small stream fishing, this is your time! Pick a drainage, drive upstream until you reach national forest, then fish until you've had enough. There are so many options within a 30 mile radius of BV... Feel free to come to the shop and pick our brains on locations and tactics.


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