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Arkansas River Fishing Report - July 19, 2023

Upriver Shop manager, Mike, displays a quality brown trout from Antero Reservoir on a recent morning out. Gorgeous male (upper) and female (lower) cutthroat trout from a nearby alpine lake are featured on the right.

Date: 7/19/2023 @ 12:00pm

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): 145 cfs

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 1160 cfs

Wellsville: 1180 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 466 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest: My apologies for the delay in an up-to-date fishing report! The season got very busy very quickly, and I have failed to keep up with our report. That being said...

The river is in excellent condition, as it has been for the past several weeks! Yes, flows are a bit higher than in a normal year, but terms like "blown-out" or "off-color" no longer apply to the Ark. The water is beautiful and clear, and the temps are staying nice and cool (our favorite part).

Float levels remain very good, and the wade fishermen are now able to utilize more of the river as well. Wet-wading is the way to go!

General Fishing Report: The river is on! Hopper/Chubby-dropper setups are fishing the most productive for us right now. Sz. 8-12 dries are working well right now. Use these larger dries to suspend a variety of weighted nymphs, 18'' - 3' below. A wide variety of dropper nymphs will work right now, mostly in the sz. 14-18 range. Try a CDC pheasant tail, CDC caddis emerger, golden stones, or your favorite perdigon.

Sometimes, a double-dry setup will out fish any nymph droppers. Try a larger hopper or chubby pattern, with a smaller more realistic caddis or mayfly pattern a few feet behind.

This time of year on the Ark, you can catch fish with pretty much any tactic. Streamer fishing remains productive, particularly from a raft.

Leadville Area: Can be busy on the weekends, but the fishing is great.

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

Salida and Downstream: Fishing great!


Antero and Spinney have become a bit more technical for the trout fishing as of late, but if you can get dialed in, there are lots of trout to be caught. It definitely helps to be off-shore in some type of watercraft to find the deeper water. 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 become very hot in the past couple of weeks! Spinney 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:

Nearly all of the fishiest alpine lakes are now thawed and fishable. It took many of our lakes 2-3 weeks longer than a normal year to ice-off. 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. Remember that cutthroat trout spawn in the springtime, and July is their "spring". Consider leaving the actively spawning trout alone, and instead fishing drop-offs for cruising, feeding trout.

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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