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

Arkansas River - CO

Fishing Outlook & Conditions

Water Temp:


ArkAnglers's Tip of the Week

Despite a little snow this week, the river is beginning to turn on and we anticipate blue wing olive hatches to begin any day now. Baetis nymphs are drifting in the afternoons from 1-4PM, adding to the already plentiful midge larvae/pupae and stonefly nymph supply in the river. Expect baetis hatches on any cloudy afternoon over the next several weeks. Free-living caddis larvae are also drifting in the mornings. Fish are beginning to move into riffles near their wintering holes to take advantage of the growing menu and warming water temperatures.

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 3/22/23

Cool weather this weekend in Salida (3/18) but forecasts show weather back up in the 40s and 50s this coming week. Cloudy days should yield hatches of blue wing olive mayflies.

Techniques & Tips as of 3/22/23

Nymphing is still your most consistent all-around approach, but be prepared for midge and baetis hatches mid-day through the afternoon.

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
Pheasant Tail Natural, Olive 16-20
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


Midge larva, molting golden stonefly nymphs, blue wing olives, caddis larval drifts

Best Time to Fish:

9:00am to 5:00pm

Best Stretch:

Middle and lower basins

Best Access:

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