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Arkansas River Fishing Report - March 8, 2023

Upriver Shop Manager, Michael Atwood, and his Dad got out for a very productive afternoon of fishing on 3/6/23. Pictured above is a typical brown trout, and a look at the conditions right now in Browns Canyon Nat. Monument. Very Fishy!

Date: 3/8/2023 @ 10:00am

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 made the decision to keep on hosting Fly Tying Social Nights at the BV shop, every other Thursday 6-8pm, at least through April. Dates to come and tie some flies are as follows... March 16th, March 30th, April 13th, April 27th.

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest: The river is wide open and very fishable from the confluence with Lake Creek (Twin Lakes outlet) all the way downstream to Salida and beyond. Ice shelves in Browns Canyon and the Bighorn Sheep Canyon are non-existent. Early spring wade fishing is very good right now, as the fish are slowly waking up and becoming more active. The usual winter habitat is where most fish will be found, but some trout are moving into more shallow water and really getting the feed on. On sunny days you are sure to spot lots of active trout.

General Fishing Report: Winter conditions are now firmly in the rear-view, as we transition into early spring conditions in the Upper Ark Valley! Ice flows and ice shelves are currently a non-issue on the Ark, and it is unlikely we will deal with that for the rest of the spring. Longer days mean warmer temps for the river, which leads to more active insect hatches and trout ready to take full advantage. We are still 2-3 weeks away from the long-awaited BWO hatches, but right now midge activity remains very high in the upper Ark. Stoneflies are also on the move/molting, and they are always a good option when considering what food source to imitate for the Ark.

Flows remain low, and perfect for the wade fisherman. Float trips are now a real option around Salida, and downstream in the Bighorn Canyon.

Currently we recommend indicator or euro nymphing the deepest runs and pools to find the most fish. Some fish are moving into more shallow riffle water in the warmer parts of the day. These fish are on the prowl! A good presentation and first cast will usually result in an eat.

As usual, fishing with tungsten bead nymphs will help your flies get down and stay down, which is going to lead to more hookups. 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 #14-18. Heck, we even had a fish come up and smack a Chubby Chernobyl yesterday! We always encourage you to fish patterns that you have confidence in. Ark river trout are not particularly picky this time of year. A good presentation is going to catch more fish than that one specific fly pattern.

This is an excellent time to get out and fish on the Arkansas River, so let's get to it!

Leadville Area: The river up here is still pretty frosty, but there is some fishable water. If you are looking for solitude, and you're up for the challenge, this is not a bad option right now.

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. Spring conditions right around the corner!

South Platte and South Park:

Dream Stream: The flows through the Dream Stream have been bumped up over the last few days, from ~50 cfs to ~90 cfs. Usually a bump in flows like this brings in some of the quality lake fish! We have heard reports of good fish in the past couple weeks, and I would anticipate really good fishing on the Dream right now. Be prepared to not be the only person fishing out there!


Ice fishing season!

We carry a wide selection of Cougarbait hair jigs that are sure to help you hook whatever species you are chasing in the S. Park reservoirs. We have hair jigs that will help you target Lake Trout in the Upper Ark reservoirs as well. Come check em out!

High Alpine Lakes and Streams:

We have officially called it a season for the high country 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. I guess we will ski for now? Or tie flies in preparation?


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