Arkansas River Fishing Report - May 15 2022
Updated: Jun 16, 2022
A large rainbow trout landed on one of our float trips from 05/14. This fish chased a smaller brown to the side of the boat, then happily ate a big streamer!
Date: 05/15/22 @ 8:00am
Arkansas River Flows
Leadville: 230 cfs
Browns Canyon/Nathrop: 945 cfs
Wellsville: 883 cfs
Twin Lakes Release: 15 cfs
On 5/12, releases from Twin Lakes Reservoir were cut by 75cfs. Couple this with consecutive overnight low temps (20's) in the high country, and we've seen improved conditions yesterday and today on the Ark. The weather forecast looks to be warmer and sunny, so this brief moment of stability in the hydrograph will not last.
A good approach in these situations is to throw larger, flashier patterns such as; Streamers, Golden Stones, Pats, Crane Larva, and any oversized nymph patterns that'll stand out in the off- colored waters. A large attractor dry that can suspend a heavy nymph dropper will likely produce action close to the banks. With higher water like this, fish tend to seek easier lies behind rocks and up shallow on the banks. Streamers are incredibly effective for targeting fish during these transition periods containing constantly changing flows and temps.
In general, the river will fish best on days when the flows are relatively stable, like today. This is also when you will find better water clarity. Trout don't seem to feed as actively immediately following significant changes to flow. If able, try to fish days when the hydrograph has plateaued or stabilized to have better action.
The famous “Mother’s Day caddis hatch" is right on time as well. Currently the hatch is centered around Buena Vista and is continuing to improve. Although we are in the midst of the hatch, the rise in flows has cooled the water and therefore has reduced the caddis activity. In addition to caddis and mayflies, golden stones have been moving around within the river and are always a great bet for a larger, protein-filled trout snack.
Upstream: Anticipate cooler, lower, and somewhat clearer water. In the late morning, expect roughly 2 feet of visibility in the Ark near Hayden Meadows Reservoir. Our staff has experienced quality fishing on the upper Ark lately. Focus more on nymphing the obvious lies.
Downstream: Expect slightly higher, off-colored water with fish gorging on BWOs, Caddis, Golden Stones, smaller fish, and pretty much anything they can swallow. Our float trips have had great fishing action from Buena Vista downstream.
Dream Stream: The spring rainbow run has come and gone, and fishing on the dream stream is currently somewhat of a challenge. Plenty of quality, resident fish to be caught, but larger lake fish are few and far between. Covering water and fishing a combination of larger attractor patterns and small tailwater bugs will be your best bet for finding a trophy fish here as of now. Recent success has been found using med/large streamer patterns, but you’ll have to work to spot larger fish.
Antero, Spinney, and Eleven-mile Reservoirs are open and fishing pretty well, depending on the conditions. Fish are keyed into weather patterns, and bite windows seem to be concentrated around the mid-morning, early-afternoon time frame when a light chop starts to pick up. The dreaded "W" has been a nuisance for anglers all over the state for the past month or so... when stillwater fishing, it can be daunting to try and fish through these gusty spring conditions. However, those who stick it out will eventually encounter a bite window and have the chance at crossing paths with fish in the two-foot plus range. Balanced Leeches and Chironomids fished in the chop are a good bet. Fish on drop-offs where there is an obvious color change in the water. If this isn't fruitful, take time to search the banks, fish in all of these reservoirs will cruise shallow looking for easy meals. If indicator fishing isn't productive, try stripping larger streamers, leeches, and crawfish patterns for shallow-munchin' monsters. That being said, as these lakes see continued angling pressure and warmer weather, these fish will start to move towards their summer lies. This includes drop-offs (specifically near structure), as well as shallower flats near weed-beds that are home to all their favorite food sources.
Still frozen… Expect to see lower elevation lakes opening later this month/early june with everything getting good around July 1st. It is never too early to swing by the shop and talk high lakin’!