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Arkansas River Fishing Report - May 19, 2023

Upriver employees Michael and Eric display some nice, recent catches from Spinney Mountain Reservoir. The stillwater fishing is really heating up!

Date: 5/19/2023 @ 9:30am

Arkansas River Flows

Leadville (Empire Gulch): 300 cfs

Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 1070 cfs

Wellsville: 1330 cfs

Twin Lakes Release: 57 cfs

Arkansas River Fishing Report:

The Latest: The South Park reservoirs are now fishing well, with lots of quality/trophy fish being caught. Fishing static, indicator rigs with leeches and chironomids will produce the most action. If you are able, fishing from a kayak or bellyboat will allow you to get off shore and fish a variety of drop offs. Fishing from shore is still a good option as well.

The Arkansas River is now being periodically affected by snowmelt/runoff, but it has been very weather-dependent, and there are still fishing opportunities on the river. When water is off-color, try using larger nymphs with dark profiles, such as a Pat's Rubberlegs. This is also a great time of year to try fishing streamers tight to the banks of the river.

General Fishing Report: For the next few weeks, we expect the flows on the river to continue to incrementally increase. Depending on the weather, these increases in flow can happen slowly, or quite rapidly. During periods of rapid change, you should expect the fishing to be slower as the trout adjust to the new flow levels. When changes in flow have been more gradual, or even stagnate for a day or two, expect the fish to be fully adjusted and ready to eat.

Try fishing larger, heavier nymphs during this period. Bugs with a big, dark profile will stand out more in stained water, as well as flies with some flash.

Streamer fishing is very good right now as well!

Leadville Area: The clarity will be better up here than the downstream options.

Buena Vista Area: Starting to become more off-color, but a couple feet of visibility is enough to fool some trout.

Salida and Downstream: Water clarity starting to become more of a challenge down in the Bighorn Canyon. If it is too off-color, keep heading upstream.


Antero and Spinney are beginning to fish quite well! The trout have begun to feed regularly on chironomid and leech patterns under an indicator. The challenge lies in finding the location and depth that the fish are feeding in. A small watercraft will help you reach habitat and drop offs that are unfishable from shore. The indicator always plunges when you stop paying attention to it.... Stay ready!

The local lakes in the Salida/BV area are all stocked up and fishing great! Frantz, Wright's, and Crystal Lakes are all good options right now.

High Alpine Lakes and Streams:

Some of the low elevation lakes in the area are now open or are very close to being open. Cutthroats and Brookies are hungry after a long winter under the ice. There is still a fair amount of snow holding up high, so it will be a few weeks for most of the alpine lakes.


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