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Arkansas River Fishing Information
Middle Section - near Salida, CO
The middle section of the Arkansas river goes from Buena Vista downstream to Salida. There is more fishable water here than you could cover in a month. It is one of the healthiest rivers in Colorado in terms of insect life and there is always a variety of hatches going on from spring to fall with great fishing opportunities anywhere you find access. Browns and rainbows are the majority of the fish you will catch and though some are small, most are the perfect size ranging from 12” – 18”. There are a lot of fish in this section and it is Colorado’s newest and longest Gold Medal Water which means this river is in the top 10% of all fishable rivers in Colorado for size and quantity of fish. Nymphing, dry fly fishing and streamers all produce fish in this river so get out on the river with some friends and mix it up a bit, you’ll likely find fish no matter what you technique you use.
Fly Fishing Tips
Know Your Bugs – The beauty of the Arkansas is the plethora of insects the fish eat year round. This can often pose a problem for the novice angler however, because if you can’t identify what the fish are eating and the fly to match to their feeding patterns, this river can be frustrating. Check out our Online Entomology Course to learn what you need to know on matching the hatch both above and below the waters surface.
Spend Time Dialing it In Early – For this kind of river, fish are in every hole, so if you aren’t catching fish, it’s likely your fly selection, depth, presentation etc. All of these take time to adjust and dial in so spend time in the first hole you fish to adjust your depth, add or remove split shot and change flies until you find success. Doing this will save you time and catch you more fish through the rest of the day and you’ll be better off for it.
Fish: Some Medium-Sized Fish
Best Techniques: Dries & Nymphs
Best Seasons: Spring - Fall
River Type: Large Freestone
Fish Types: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout
Dog Friendly: Yes
Located in the Arkansas River Basin near Salida, CO
Fishable Seasons & Current Weather
The best seasons to fish this river are Spring - Fall. See the current weather reports for the next 5-6 days listed below for the nearest city.
wind: 6mph N
H 60 • L 59
Weather from OpenWeatherMap
Knowing what flies to use is only have the battle. You have to know when the insects are active on the water and when it's likely the trout are feeding on them. Refer to our hatch charts below to understand when the insect categories and some of the possible hatches on the river.
Midges hatch year round, but their importance is from September through winter into April. During the warmer months, the trout often focus on larger insects as they are more active on the water like mayflies, caddis and stoneflies.
Aside from Blue wing olives, mayflies are active most commonly from May to August in Colorado. There are many different mayfly hatches found on most rivers and the most common are listed below.
Blue Wing Olive: September throut winter to April
Pale Morning Dun: June to Mid September
Colors: White, Yellow
Sizes: #14 - #20
Caddis hatch starting early in May and continue to the end of October.
Colors: Olive, Green, Yellow, Tan, Orange, Brown and Black.
Sizes: #10 - #20
We have some great stonefly hatches in Colorado and while not all rivers carry all species of salmonflies, you can often fish stonefly adult patterns with confidence from May to September. Start off in bigger sizes and get smaller till September hits (size 8 - 16)
Golden Stone: June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #8 - #14
Yellow Sally Stonefly: Mid June to August
Colors: Yellow, Tan
Sizes: #12 - #18
Salmonfly: Mid May to Mid July
Colors: Orange, Red, Brown
Sizes: #6 - #14
Terrestrials don't hatch since they are out of the water, but they can have importance starting in Mid April and ending in September.
These are the the top flies we sell for this river. Use the hatch chart above to know what flies you will want to have in your fly box during your adventure on the river and then select the flies here 30 days before your trip to get them at a great price. All of our flies are hand tied to each order to ensure quality and to keep our prices low for you.
Click on a fly below to select a size and color for purchase.
If you need an easier solution than selecting each fly and size, try out our top fly assortments for this river that will put all the flies you need in a single order for this river. We've already selected the flies we use in our fly box for this river including the sizes and colors and put them in these assortments so you can fish with the confidence that you have the right flies in your box.
Click on any of the pictures to see what flies, colors and sizes we recommend in each assortment.
Use these epic resources to get ready for your adventure. Whether you're planning your trip, learning your insects, improving your fishing with expert tips or getting detailed resources from the USGS streamflows or DoW, we got you covered to help you find the river and find the success you want.