Winter has finally left and we are warming up, but not too fast.
Current river conditions:
Flows are starting to come up with the warmer days and nights in the higher elevations. The forecast is not for hot weather, but warm enough to start bringing down some of this snow. I don't think even a few of the colder days coming up will stop the freight train of snow that is set to melt this spring/summer.
Where to fish:
With the flows sub 1500 CFS on the Wellsville gauge the river is easily fished from either a boat or from shore, these increased flows will start pushing the fish to the edges of the river. Clarity will be better the higher you go upstream toward Buena Vista and Leadville.
The Buena Vista area is seeing great caddis hatches in the evening and with these cloudy, rainy days we have also been seeing great BWO hatches in the afternoons. Rising fish have been a common sight daily here on the Arkansas River!
What to fish:
Over the last week my approach to catching fish has turned to mostly hopper dropper setups. The Element Chubby Chernobyl is hard to beat here on the Arkansas River for your top fly. Tan or orange are great colors. They can hold up some big bottom flies like a Patt's Stone or Stonefly Golden with yellow legs. Throw a red San Juan Worm in the mix and keep it tight to the bank.
The fish have been very territorial lately chasing streamers like crazy. My go to streamer has been a tan Sex Dungeon, but an olive Bugs Bunny has been a good alternative. As the water is dirtier switch to white streamers with a little flash like the Drunken and Disorderly
With the water coming up we will have a couple weeks of peak flows on the Arkansas River, but if you know the right spots and can get to them it can still be a productive fishery. Be safe when wading at higher flows as the river is strong. Salida Fly has other options for getting out and catching fish. Check out our Dream Stream trip or our kayak lake fishing trips. Once some 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.