Up-to-date look at the Arkansas River from the Buena Vista Riverpark Bridge - nice fall colors and gin-clear water.
Date: 10/07/2022 @ 5:00 PM
Arkansas River Flows
Leadville (Empire Gulch): 98 cfs
Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 334 cfs
Wellsville: 371 cfs
Twin Lakes Release: 40 cfs
It finally feels like Fall in the Arkansas River valley. The riparian corridor is dominated by beautiful yellows and oranges, and the river is flowing low and clear. Trout are very active right now, and fishing is good throughout the day. Streamer fishing is really starting to pick up! Articulated patterns and more traditional bugger patterns will both provoke the aggressive brown trout.
Nymphing is going to bring the most fish to the net. Dry dropper is still a good option on the Ark, but a tandem nymph rig under an indicator may be a bit more productive. Being able to change your depth on the fly is the main benefit of using a strike indicator. We aren't getting as many fish to come up and eat the terrestrial/hopper/chubby patterns, but it is always fun to be surprised.
Look for Blue-Winged Olives to come off in the afternoon hours, particularly on cloudier days. If you see fish keying into mayflies on the surface, try a small BWO imitation or a Parachute Adams in size 16 or 18. We are still catching the most fish using slim-bodied beadhead nymphs. A great variety of nymphs will get the job done right now, but we have had great success with tungsten bead perdigon patterns in sz. 14-18. Black, olive, red and even flashy pearl colors are all working at different times. Getting a good drift at the proper depth is going to be the factor that matters the most when it comes to hooking up.
Arkansas River Fishing Report:
Leadville Area: Fishing might be slightly more technical up here given that flows are back down and the water has cleared up significantly. This section also tends to get the most pressure from wade anglers. Try using lighter tippets, like 5x or perhaps 6x to increase your chances of hooking up. Walk lightly and keep a low profile, as these fish can spook easily in the smaller river.
Buena Vista Area: Fishing very good right now. Most success has been on slim dropper nymphs with a nice heavy bead.
Salida and Downstream: Fishing very good right now, throughout the day. Most success has been on slim dropper nymphs with a nice heavy bead.
South Platte and South Park:
Dream Stream: Fishing on the dream stream is good right now, with the potential for hooking into a real trophy brown. There are kokanee and lake-run browns in the system now, and they will remain there for the coming weeks. Sight-nymphing to these fish will likely have the best results, although the streamer fishing is very good at times as well. From now and as we move further into fall, keep an eye out for fish on exposed sections of gravel (Redds). These fish are spawning, and should be left alone in order to ensure good populations of fish for years to come. And watch where you step and you cross the river - avoid the gravel sections, particularly if they look recently disturbed.
The cooler fall weather has improved the fishing at Antero and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs, especially for the shore/wading fisherman. Upriver staff have had a few recent outings where the fishing was good to great. More fish are in the shallow water now, making them more accessible to target. Stripping crawfish patterns has been very effective at times. Dropping leeches, chironomids and/or egg patterns under an indicator will have success as well.
High Alpine Lakes and Streams:
We are nearing the end of our high country lake fishing season. Lots of folks have already said their seasonal goodbyes to our alpine trout. At treeline and above, you can expect to see ice forming on portions of the lake. There should still be enough open water to fish, but the window is closing! Cold water temps means little to no insect hatches happening in the alpine, so fishing sub-surface is likely your best bet. If you see fish cruising and looking up, small Griffith's Gnats and Para Adams should get the job done. Otherwise, fishing small chironomid patterns suspended under an indicator or a larger dry fly is probably your best bet. Slow stripping small leeches and patterns like a Hares Ear nymph is worth a try as well. October weather is as variable as they come. Snow flurries are common up high, so make sure you wear lots of layers if you intend to make a trip to the high country. Best of luck!