Current river conditions:
Flows have come down on the Arkansas River. We have seen our peak flow for the year and with the exception of adding a little water here or there from the reservoirs, you can expect flows to gradually come down as the summer progresses. The river is still swift, but the fish are hungry and holding tight to the bank, fishing is good!
Where to fish:
The river is clear from Leadville to Coaldale. All you need to find is a section of river with calm eddies and pocket water and you should be able to catch a fish or twenty!
The high mountain lakes are also coming into their prime. The ice is off all but the highest lakes, that sit above 12,000 feet. The cutthroats are moving into the shallows and inlets preparing for the spawn. Many of the lakes in the St. Elmo area are ice free and starting to fish well.
Antero Reservoir is a fun option with a chance at a monster trout! If you get out early before wind picks up you can have a great day catching some really nice fish!
The golden stone hatch is in full swing and a few Grey Drakes have been flying around in the Nathrop and Buena Vista areas. Caddis are also commonly seen. Its a full on smorgasbord of aquatic insects on the Arkansas River right now and the fish are hungry. The terrestrial activity is heating up. Grasshoppers and flying ants are coming into play.
What to fish:
Chubby Chernobyl, orange or tan size 8 with a Hare's Ear Flashback Tungsten or a Stonefly Woven Body Tan size 12 dropped 12-24 inches off the back. Present your fly as tight as you can to the bank and look for big eddies with enough calm water. Fish are hungry and eager to chase down a big meal. Targeting these fish from a float fishing boat can be some of the most exciting fly fishing around!
If your destination is an alpine lake, your basic dry flies (Mosquito, Adams and Griffiths Ghat ) should do the trick, drop a pheasant tail or prince nymph. This time of year these fish are not generally too picky about what they eat. If all else fails throw a good old Bugger.
If one of the South Park reservoirs is your destination, I have been having a lot of luck on some of Fulling Mill's flies, the Traffic Light Black size 12 and the Diawl Bach size 12, are all you need. Find depths of about 10 feet of water and fish 6 feet below your indicator and you will pick up some nice fish, with a chance at a real monster.
Flows will just continue to drop, but don't wait for low flows to fish this year, the time is now. This is my favorite time of year to fish the Arkansas River, so give use a call. Salida Fly has other options for getting out and catching fish. Our High Mountain Lakes 4x4 trips are going out and our clients continue to come back with smiles on their faces. This trip does not disappoint! If you are looking to book a guided trip give us a call (719) 221-4571 and stop by to check out the best fly shop in Salida, located downtown, The Next Eddy. If you are in the Buena Vista area check out BV Fly, our new fly shop, located inside CKS Main Street. BV Fly is now open, supplying all you need to get out and land fish on the Upper Arkansas River.