Arkansas River Report
ARKANSAS RIVER TAILWATER (below Pueblo Reservoir)
Right now the Arkansas is doing some Spring cleaning. However, when those edges begin to clear it will be time to break out the big bugs! The Arkansas has over 35 different types of Stoneflies and, early June is when we start to see them hatch. This can be one of the easiest and most productive fishing time periods on the Arkansas, bar none. Give us a call or shoot us an email for particulars!
May 20, 2013
General Current Conditions:
Enjoy our in depth video report above.
Well Folks, Mother Nature rang the bell, and here comes the water. Right now we are looking at around 770 CFS and rising at Wellsville. Currently, the majority of the water is attributed to lower elevation snow and small tributaries, but it will only increase as we begin to see higher snow fields contribute. With a loss of close to 20% of our snowpack in one week, down to 70% today, runoff could be fairly short lived. Additionally, little if any release is occuring at our contributing tailwaters upstream due to the fact that we are in reservior fill mode, so that will contribute to faster clearing edges.
Keep in mind that typically the Arkansas sees a much shorter runoff than most larger rivers in the state. This year we expect water to be unfishable for around a week, during which the river recieves a nice cleansing exercise. With less than 90% of average snowpack on the watershed at this point, we expect for high water to be fairly short lived and to see clearing edges very shortly. Within the last week our guides saw serious Stonefly movement indicating thier migration to the edges to prepare to hatch. We expect that timing to coincide perfectly with clearing edges, so if you want some seriously easy fishing, prepare for the Stonefly hatch in less than 2 weeks on this river! We may also see a considerable Salmonfly hatch this year on the river corridor, due to the fact that we are now in the second year of them being planted. All in all some good fishing very shortly......
Until then, we recommend you take a look at some of our local fisheries you may have not explored yet. Within 15 minutes of Canon City several excellent creeks will offer some great oppurtunities for easy access and remote fishing during runoff. Grape Creek, Beaver Creek, and Fourmile Creek are all great options very close to Canon City, and the majority are tailwaters, so they do not experience runoff conditions. Right now these creeks have a ton of water in them, and Caddis and Stonefly activity is very productive. Hundreds of miles of great dry fly water on these little fisheries, with very few people. Stop in the shop and we can point you in the right direction if you haven't experienced these litte gems before.
Additionally, the Ark Tailwater in Lake Pueblo State Park can be a good option, but can typically have much larger crowds than our other small fisheries around Canon City......Please see the Ark Tailwater report below, and remember we have the most experienced guides on the tailwater, so treat yourself to a guided day on this section if you have always wanted to learn how to approach it!
Please keep an eye on our reports, as we will update water conditions daily......
Check out the Arkansas Valley Weather Forecast HERE
Stoneflies: Larry's Rubberleg Stone (Gold), Two Tone Stone, Rubberleg Jumbo John
Streamers: Olive/ Tan/ Black Heavy Sculpin Patterns, Baby Brown Patterns, Black Micro Woolly Buggers
Grape, Beaver & FourMile Creeks
Dries: Black Foam Caddis, Baby Ape Stimulator, BWO Dries
Nymphs: Micro Rubberleg Stone, Twenty Incher, Psycho Prince, Chartruese/ Red Copper John
Streamers: Jigged Slumpbuster
Suggested Current Techniques
Offcolor water doesn't mean fish stop eating. Fish will be hugging the edges, and if you are so inclined fish can be caught on streamers and stoneflies. So, leave your waders at home and walk the edges with big flies, and a few fish can be had. As edges begin to clear, productivity will go through the roof. The vast majority of the fish will be on the edges and Stoneflies will be hatching, enough said......
Current River Conditions
Flows: Wellsville 736 cfs
Parkdale 813 cfs
Canon City 698 cfs
Temperature: 40 to 48 degrees
Clarity: Stained to Off-Color
Forecasting May Productivity on the Arkansas:
Upper Arkansas (Canon City through Salida)*May Conditions
May will offer a continuation of excellent hatch activity on the Arkansas River, with a slight break towards the end of the month. Typically temperatures will average in the High 60’s to Mid 70’s, which will foster great bug movement and very high productivity. Every year the Arkansas River will experience some type of runoff event, in which the river is somewhat unfishable for some period of time. This year with around 80% of normal snowpack on the Arkansas, we expect a short duration runoff event of around 1000 to 1200 cfs for approximately one week. This should occur around May 18-20, or once the sun angle is high enough on our main snowfields. Expect some seriously easy and extremely productive fishing as edges begin to clear from this short-lived runoff event in late May and Early June, with a focus on the Stonefly Hatch.
Caddis will continue to be a focal point of insect activity through the month of May. In April the Arkansas experienced a 2-week delay of emergent Caddis activity and hatch starts due to cold weather spells early in the month. So, the river will see good solid adult Caddis activity in lower Bighorn Sheep Canyon during the first 2 weeks of May, moving into the upper canyon, Salida, and Browns Canyon area towards the end of the month (if runoff has not occurred yet). Blue Winged Olive activity will continue to be a primary food source in all lifecycle stages until we see flows increase. Additionally, stoneflies will begin migration to the edges in preparation for the final hatch phase of their lifecycle in late May and June, so fish will be very active on the nymph version.
Rigging procedures should focus on daily lifecycle stages of the current hatches. Typically we suggest double or triple nymph rigs in the morning with focus on Stonefly Nymphs, Caddis Larva/ BH Pupa, and BWO nymphs. When fish start to see emergent activity, and move up in the water column, anglers should switch to a lighter nymph rig with focus on Caddis Pupa and BWO emergers. Around the noon time period, the river will see multiple adult phase hatches, so a focus on double dry or dry/emerger rigs in the Caddis and BWO category will be the ticket. Don’t forget your late day egglayer activity. Typically we see female caddis return to the river to ova posit eggs around the 5pm time period. Make sure you have extended body Caddis egglayers in your box, because this can be the best dry fly activity of the day.
Caddis Larva: #14-16 Uncased Caddis, #16 Kingrey's Metallic Larva, #16 TB Caddis Larva, #16 Chartreuse Copper John
BWO Dries: #20-22 Wild Turkey Baetis, #20-22 Sprout Baetis, #20-22 Film Critic BWO, #20-22 HiVis Baetis, #20 Split Flag BWO, #18-20 Quigleys Hackle Stacker BWO
Caddis Dries/ Egglayers: #14-18 Better Foam Caddis, #16 Corn Fed Caddis, #16 Clown Shoe Caddis, #16 Little Hottie, #16 Spotlight Caddis, #16 Mother Superior
Stonefly Nymphs: #10-14 Wired Stonefly, #12 Iron Sally, #8-12 Kingrey's Rubberleg Stone, #6 Arkansas Bitch Creek, #8 Hogan's Two Tone Stone, #8 Double Bead Stonefly, #10-14 Tungstone
BWO Emergers: #18-22 Iceberg Baetis, #20 Indigo Child, #18-20 Price's Nosepicker
Caddis Emergers: Silvey's TB Pupa, #16 Z-Wing Caddis, #16 Royal Gorgeous, #14 Petrified Pupa, #16 M's Super Pupa
Arkansas Tailwater below Pueblo Reservoir
General Current Conditions
WAIT FOR FLOWS
Flows have been bumped considerably in the last few days. Wait a few days to hit this section, as fish will be out of thier feeding lies and just hanging on for dear life. As flows come down fishing will be productive.
Suggested Current Techniques
This fishery is best approached with a variety of mindsets. An angler needs to focus on heavy structure due to low flows during the nymphing time periods and then make a switch to Dry/ Emerger when bugs hit the water. Fish will bump out of structure and into deeper slack water and tailouts to feed on adults, so switch your focus to these types of areas as bugs come off. Bigger fish will remain tight to structure in deeper riffles/ seams/ and pocket water. Watch for hatches to occur around mid-morning to early afternoon. Don't forget that there is a lot of water available to fish down towards Pueblo Blvd. So if your fav spot is crowded, find some new water.
Current River Conditions
Flow: 1098 CFS (Plus inflow from the hatchery of around 14 cfs 1/4 mile below the Reservoir)
Temperature: 42 to 50 degrees F
Midges, Blue Wing Olives
Current Fly Patterns
Nymphing: Top: Attractor Nymph (San Juan Worm, Egg Pattern, etc.) Bottom: Variety of Midge Larva/ Pupa, Dark BWO Nymphs, Small Red Attractor Nymphs
Dries: Small Midge Adults, Small BWO Adults
Forecasting May Productivity on the Arkansas Tailwater:
The Arkansas Tailwater will offer anglers very varied results during the month of May. Due to downstream water demands and water movement for anticipated upstream runoff, the flow can be extremely variable. Fish do not respond well to extreme bumps and drops in flow. Additionally there can be some clarity concerns on a very sight fishing oriented tailrace. If flows maintain under 600 cfs, this river will offer anglers some good opportunities, however if fluctuation occurs at rapid pace, the upper Arkansas River will be a better choice.
Insects and Natural Food Sources
During the month of May many insects begin their emergent activity on the tailwater. We start to see some sporadic tan caddis hatches and the BWO hatches can really come into their own. With bumping flows the introduction of larger quantities of annelids also factors into the equation.
Recommended Rigs/ Patterns
Rigging procedures should focus on nymphing until steady adult feeding activity is observed. Focus un 2-3 static nymph rigs with larger attractor nymphs on top followed by hatch matchers. Annelid attractors will be productive on top as a lead fly followed by your midges/ BWO nymphs as well as micro caddis larva. Adult BWOs will typically come off between the hours of 11AM-3PM. Anglers will need light tippet (6x) and long (12-13ft) leaders to be productive on BWO adults.
Nymphs: #20-22 Barr's Pure Midge (Olive, Chartruese, Red, Orange), #18-20 Chocolate Emerger, #20-22 Gray RS2, #16 Tung. Floss Worm, #14 Red San Juan Worm, #18 Micro Flashtail Egg, #20-22 Barrs Emerger, #18-20 Nosepicker, #16 Splatte Roller, #16 Metallic Caddis Larva, #16 Chartreuse Copper John.
Dry Fly Heaven
BWO Dries, Caddis & Stoneflies
Fish hard on BWOs and Caddis Emergers