Updated: Jun 22, 2019
Runoff is in full effect, so its time to hit the lakes.
Current river conditions:
Flows are high on the Arkansas River right now, so your best bet to fish the river is going to be in the Leadville area, and even there it is pretty high. If you decide to fish the river or surrounding streams be careful as the force of the river is incredibly strong and calm eddies are few and far between.
Where to fish:
We have switched our attention away from the river for now, with flows over 4000 cfs on most sections, its just not worth it, but after we see our peak and the river starts dropping and clearing up we will be back out there.
So in the meantime lets play it safe and fish some of the lower elevation lakes and reservoirs. Its still too early to get up to the high elevation lakes at or above tree line, we still have a few weeks before those are going to open up.
Our favorite place to fish right now has been Antero Reservoir. If you get out early before wind picks up you can have a great day catching some really nice fish with a chance at a monster!
As I change my focus to still waters, there's been a strong callibaetis hatch happening daily on Antero and if the wind stays down there's some good surface feeding happening. This has been getting going around 11am.
What to fish:
On the Arkansas most of the water that is still fishing is around Leadville. We are starting to see Stone fly hatches up there, but streamers presented tight to the back with these higher flows will be productive. Also San Jaun worms and Patts Rubber legs should be thrown.
If your destination is one of the lower elevation alpine lakes, 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, and you should give these lakes a try, 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 around 10 feet of water and fish those down around 6 feet and you will pick up some nice fish, with a chance at a real monster.
Look for flows to level off and start to drop in the next 10 days, there's still a lot of snow in the high country, but it is melting and we should see a peak flow soon. Be safe when wading at higher flows as the river is strong. Salida Fly has other options for getting out and catching fish. Once some more of this snow melts we will start working our way into our high mountain lakes on our Polaris Ranger. We will keep you posted on that trip and when it opens up. 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 will need to get out and land fish on the Upper Arkansas River.