Current river conditions:
Flows are high again on the Arkansas River. Last weekends cool-off dropped flows and fishing was excellent for a few days, but hot weather has ramped up the flows and fishing opportunities are limited on the Arkansas river and its tributaries. Your best bet to fish the river is going to be in the Leadville area, and even there flows remain 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:
You can still catch fish in the Arkansas River at these flows, the higher you go in the drainage the clearer the water will be. Fish are tight to the bank and eager to eat most any food that comes their way. If flows exceed our previous peak in mid June expect water clarity to be an issue even high in the drainage.
Fishing some of the lower elevation lakes and reservoirs is still a great option. Its still too early to get up to the high elevation lakes at or above tree line, we still have a week or so before those are going to open up.
Antero Reservoir is a fun option with a chance a monster trout! 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 lunker!
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 too.
What to fish:
On the Arkansas most of the water that is still fishing is Nathrop, north. Chubby Chernobyl, orange or tan size 8 with a Stonefly Woven Body Tan size 12 dropped 24-36 inches off the back. Present your drifts as tight as you can to the bank and look for big eddies with enough calm water. Fish will be conserving energy in these calm pockets.
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, 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 the 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.