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Arkansas River Fishing Report

March 9, 2024

The river flow is within the optimal flow range for resident trout populations (250-400 cfs at Wellsville) and is incredibly wadeable everywhere at these flows, offering tremendous access for wade fishermen.  Expect shady areas of the river to contain shelf ice; be very careful navigating the slick edges of the river.  Brown trout spawning is long over and fish have migrated to their typical lies of winter.   Colder weather will constrict productive fishing hours during the day and send fish into the slower, deeper pools and runs where they can comfortably hold without expending much energy (~4-7' deep).  11AM to 3PM is your prime time on the river, particularly in areas that receive a lot of sun exposure through the day.  Be prepared for subtle strikes, though recent warm weather has made for some more aggressive behavior from trout.


We're seeing most anglers switch to strictly nymph fishing with indicators and sighters but deep dry-dropper fishing continues to be productive in the lower basin, though most fish are taking subsurface food.  Midges are the predominant hatch at the moment with lots of larvae and pupae available subsurface throughout the day.  These are typically size #18-22 with adults in the #20-24 range.  Fish will still eat small baetis nymphs and caddis larvae throughout the winter.  With the year-round availability of stonefly nymphs in the river, fish will also readily take well drifted stonefly nymphs and other large attractors throughout the colder months.  Golden stonefly nymphs are molting and as such are more vulnerable to predation during this phase of life.  These can be fished in relatively large sizes, with #10-12 being common offerings.


Always be prepared to take time carefully releasing fish.  Minimize trouts' time out of the water and do your due diligence giving them adequate revival time before moving on.  

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