Flows are now within the prime range for spring, specifically for the brown trout population. Though the river is still floatable, it is now very easily waded. The cloudy weather in the forecast should make for great fishing conditions. We are seeing consistent blue-winged olive nymphs drifting daily, and duns on the water on cloudy afternoons. Any cloud cover in the afternoon may prompt a hatch, so stock up on blue winged olive dry flies and emergers in #16-20. Nymphing will still probably be your best bet throughout the day, but don’t limit your strategy to deep water; shallow riffles can be productive in the afternoons once mayfly nymphs become more available.
The recent warmth seems to be motivating fish to move into shallower water as they feed; don’t spend all your energy on the deep runs. There they can be best tempted by striated midge patterns (black beauties, zebras, etc…), golden stonefly nymphs, mayfly nymphs and emergers, and “meat & potatoes” patterns like pheasant tails, hares ears, and princes. Focus fishing efforts on the period of peak warmth – 10:00 – 4:00.
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About the Arkansas River
With over 300 miles of river, the Arkansas River starts it journey deep in the Sawatch Mountains (highest mountain range in Colorado) and runs unobstructed until it reaches the eastern plains and a dam in the town of Pueblo.
While it’s the longest river in Colorado, this river is mostly fished from Twin Lakes to Canon City and on into Pueblo. One of the most well known hatches in the west is the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch. Late morning hatches and evening dry fly fishing are highlights of this annual hatch from Mid-April to Mid-Late May.
Terrestrials such as ants, beetles, grass hoppers, and crickets are great choices during the hot summer months of June through September. Mayflies are thick during their spring hatch of late March through mid May, while thinner during the fall hatch of mid September through early November.
The river’s spring runoff starts mid May, with peak 3,000 cfs mid June, 1,300 cfs mid July, slowly dropping into the fall months. Typically flows between 300-500 cfs from late fall through early spring. Winter months are great time to fish with consistently clear water days and great midge and Baetis hatch below Pueblo Reservoir.