Fishing Season: Year Round (Prime March 1 - October 31)

Arkansas River - CO

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


ArkAnglers's Tip of the Week

Count on the northern reaches of the river to be a lot colder than in the middle and lower basins, and as a result expect better fishing opportunities around or downstream of Salida for the rest of the month. Nymphing is your best tactic, focusing on deeper winter lies with 3-8' of depth and consistent, walking speed current. Where you find one fish you'll likely encounter many congregated together, leaving much of the river devoid of fish. Strikes will be subtle with the colder temperatures, so pay attention and set on any subtle indication of a take. Adjustments to weight and depth are usually more critical than changing fly patterns.

Directions open in app

Map of Arkansas River

Water Flow Data

Tidal Conditions

Orvis-Endorsed guides nearby

Royal Gorge Anglers
Breckenridge outfitters

5-Day Outlook as of 11/21/22

The forecast is much more favorable this week, with daytime highs back in the 40s and low 50s through the middle and lower basins. Expect fish to be a lot more active this week than last, with most of the action between 10AM and 3PM.

Techniques & Tips as of 11/21/22

Colder temperatures mean less fish in fast water, and usually in water with a little more depth (though there are exceptions). Tandem nymph setups or deep dry-dropper rigs are your best approach, but expect good streamer fishing on cloudy days, too.

Local Species Available Year Round (Prime March 1 - October 31)

  • Fish Icon

    Brown and Rainbow Trout

ArkAnglers's Recommended Fly Patterns

"Must-have" fly fishing patterns in descending order of importance:

Name: Colors: Size(s):
Zebra Midge Black 18-20
Buckskin Natural 14-18
Perdigon/Bullet Brown, Olive, Yellow 14-18
Biot Epoxyback Stonefly Nymph Golden, Brown 10-14

Zebra Midge

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ArkAnglers's Recommended Gear

Description: About Arkansas River

The Arkansas River traverses about ninety miles between its headwaters above Leadville to the point where it rolls onto the prairie near Canon City. Over that distance, it flows through a high alpine meadow, drops through steep canyons of granite boulders and Ponderosa Pine, and courses through a high desert canyon. In each environment, populations of wild brown trout inhabit a river environment that teems with mayflies, stoneflies, caddis…small wonder that the Arkansas River was named Colorado’s most popular fishery in a recent Division of Wildlife survey. Along the banks of this river sit two remarkable mountain communities – Salida and Buena Vista. ArkAnglers has fly shops in both towns and our guide service spans the entire ninety miles of river, as well high mountain lakes on the Continental Divide, tributary streams, segments of the upper South Platte River, and some mid-elevation lakes known for their burgeoning trout populations. The range of altitude and climate in the upper Arkansas River valley allows us to guide year-round, the river providing a continuous supply of aquatic foodstuffs that keep fish active even in the winter. Contact us for a complete menu of trip options or for help in planning your visit!

Nearest Airport:

Colorado Springs Airport


Midges, stonefly nymphs, caddis larval drifts

Best Time to Fish:

10:00am to 3:00pm

Best Stretch:

Middle and lower basins

Best Access:

Big Bend, Salida East, Vallie Bridge, Texas Creek.