Arkansas River

Arkansas River

        Arkansas River Gold Medal Trout Waters

        The Arkansas River is one of the best wild brown trout habitats in Colorado and is designated as Gold Medal Trout Waters. While your typical catch is about 10-14”, there are a lot of fish in the 15-17” category. Once in a while, you can even trick trophy-sized trout in this amazing river.

        The “Ark” offers miles and miles of public access. Although spin casters and bait fisherman can be spotted occasionally, fly fishing is the most effective way to tackle this river. Midge and Blue Winged Olives dominate the hatch in the spring and fall, while Stone Fly and Caddis hatches are prolific in the summer months.

        Flows can be high from late spring to early summer, but the clarity of the headwaters is unparalleled, and this water is fishable from late March to late November. If fly fishing in Colorado is your game, don’t miss your chance to have a great day in the beautiful surroundings of the Upper Arkansas River.

        Fishing Report

        This fishing report covers the upper Arkansas River from Leadville to Buena Vista. It is provided courtesy of Colorado Fly Fishing Guides, located at 711 Harrison Avenue, #1E, in downtown Leadville.

        July 11, 2017
        Upper Arkansas River (Between Leadville and Buena Vista)

        Flows are favorable and an abundance of diverse hatches is fueling the dry fly action in the upper valley. Dry/dropper rigs in the morning will work, then after it warms up a bit, snip off your dropper and add another dry. Caddis, quill, drake, and stimulator patterns have all been productive.
        The high lake and creek fishing is now totally accessible, and the fishing in these venues has been great.
        Also, early morning trips to Antero Reservoir have provided good feeding windows, which produce trout that average 3-5 pounds, with many even larger than average.

        June 27, 2017
        Upper Arkansas River (Between Leadville and Buena Vista)

        Runoff has peaked, and the flows are now decreasing. Clarity on the upper river is not an issue, rating from very good to excellent. Hayden Meadows is becoming readily accessible to the walk and wade angler, but due to heavy releases from Twin Lakes, high water conditions still exist from Granite to Buena Vista. The bug activity has accelerated, and the dry fly action has kicked into gear with a bounty of action on dry/dropper or dry/dry rigs. Try caddis, small stimulators and larger attractors on top. Copper johns, small stones, and flashback pheasant tails on the drop will increase your catch rate.

        With the flows decreasing, our access to the tremendous creek fishing that we offer is now starting to open up. Ask us about our trips on the East Fork of the Arkansas, Halfmoon, and Busk Creeks.

        Also, the high alpine lakes are starting to thaw, and we are currently offering trips to Hagerman, Virginia, and Buckeye Lakes for high-altitude cutthroat action!

        For help with technique and to spend a day on the water, call 866-908-7547 or email