Old man winter made an appearance this week but we have warmer weather and sunny days coming up this weekend!
Current river conditions:
Flows have been up and down since the last report. Nice days at the end of last week started the spring melt, then the rain and snow kicked in a little to the flows and now that the precipitation is over, cold temps are bringing the flow back down again. The 10 day forecast only shows a slight warming trend with nightly lows below or at freezing. Expect the flows to stay the same or drop some as we go through the weekend and into next week.
Where to fish:
I have been having better luck the past few day in the Buena Vista area on the Arkansas River. The beatis activity seems to have maintained consistency a little better than below Salida. Not much for caddis below Salida yet, more on that below.
Below Coaldale is still not fishing well due to added sediment in the water from a burn scar. Fish numbers are down and the bug life is limited.
At the end of last week it was looking like the caddis hatch was going to come early this year, but the flows bumped up on Saturday and that added water cooled things off, then winter returned and you'd be lucky to find a caddis fly right now. That will change with the warming trend that we should see. Early next week could be the time that we have all been waiting for! Look to the Valle Bridge area near Coaldale for the best caddis activity early next week.
What to fish:
It has been a mixed bag this last week and you can expect that going into this weekend. Don't rule out any tactic and switch it up until you find what is working. Start off getting a few good drifts through prime water with a mixture of beatis nympys (Element Quill Body Jig TB or a Frenchi Jig Hook TB) and mix in a few caddis larve (Caddis Lime Tungsten) size 14 and 16 should do the job. Fish moved into the deeper pockets when the flows bumped up, so fish deep if you can. If this is not picking up fish and there are no fishing rising, get out the big stick and start stripping those streamers. Last weekend we found that once we switched to the streamers we started turning fish immediately and it was as good as streamer fishing gets! This Circus Peanut, worked well, use a dark color when there's cloud cover and go light when the sun comes out.
When you find some fish actively rising during the day, they are likely feeding on BWO's; switch up fast and take advantage of the opportunity. A size 18-20 Parachute Adams should do the trick. Start mixing in a Hi Vis Foam Caddis size 14 as your lead dry fly then trail that smaller BWO dry size 16-18.
Don't put off a fishing trip to the Arkansas River any longer, high water will be here soon, but its not here yet! So come and get it while you can. 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 this new fly shop will be located inside the CKS Main Street location, bringing you all that you will need to get out and catch fish on the Upper Arkansas River.