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Arkansas River Fishing Information
Upper Section - near Leadville, CO
The Upper Section of the Arkansas River becomes braided and windy as it moves through hayden meadows. This section usually produces more consistently than all the other sections after run off. The fish seem less educated and easier to fool overall. They aren’t as big in this section but they are a blast to catch. Dry-droppers work best in this section or a two-rig-nymph setup if you can’t find fish to eat a dry. Don’t be afraid to throw dry flies even if you don’t see a hatch. Commonly people only throw dry flies when they see naturals on the water, and they miss out on most of the season “waiting for the hatch” instead of looking for opportunistic trout to feed.
Loaded with rainbows and browns, the hayden meadows and upper headwaters of the Arkansas river is an excellent place to fish for a day or weekend. With ample camping around and several feeder creeks nearby like Tennessee creek or cottonwood creek or clear creek, you can always find some fishing in the area and is a great place to visit. The Collegiate peaks are nearby which create an amazing backdrop to your fishing experience and makes a day up there a joy no matter how many fish you catch.
Fish: Some Medium-Sized Fish
Best Techniques: Dries & Nymphs
Best Seasons: Spring - Fall
River Type: Small Freestone
Fish Types: Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout
Dog Friendly: Yes
Located in the Arkansas River Basin near Leadville, 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: 14mph WNW
H 54 • L 47
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.