Read last Sunday's Denver Post article!

This is a classic western trout stream with 80 miles of challenging and scenic water from its headwaters above Leadville to Pueblo Reservoir. The Arkansas boasts high catches of browns and rainbows to 20 inches. Browns dominate the fishery. Notable stretches include Brown's Canyon to several miles downstream of Salida and in the Granite area.

The Arkansas River offers fishing opportunities for every type of angler, from the bank or from a boat. There are public fishing areas that are accessible from the highway as well as some requiring more of a hike. If a day of fishing with the family is in your plans, AHRA provides sites with access to some of the best fishing along with picnic tables, grills and views of the river and mountains. You will also notice several pullouts along the river which are popular spots for the mobile angler.

The trout population in the Arkansas is 90% self-reproducing brown trout and 10% Colorado River rainbows, which are introduced as fingerlings. Expect about 2000 fish per mile on the average. The fishing is the best when the flows are lower and the water is clear. The river starts to clear up at around 1200 cubic feet per second, (cfs). Flows will vary during the year with September-April maintaining around 350-450 cfs. Runoff begins in the latter part of May and reaches its peak of around 3000 cfs in mid-June into July. The flows typically start decreasing in late July as the snow pack in the high country diminishes and we are back to 700-1000 cfs for July and into August.

As the river makes its 148 mile journey from the headwaters to the Pueblo Reservoir it assumes many different forms. It can be a placid stream or a raging river crashing through rocky gorges. The better fishing is going to be found where the water is a little calmer, but don't be mistaken, the river is a powerful force and care must be taken when wading. You may be aware that the Arkansas is also one of the premier whitewater rafting attractions in the country and consequently, you will probably see rafts and kayaks on the river. The most popular time for rafting is when the water is running at higher levels and during the middle of the day. There are also sections of the river with much less whitewater, (translated less boating), where the fishing is better.

There are special regulations on certain sections of the river so be sure to look for posted signs. And finally, please respect the rights of the private landowners along the river by not trespassing and be a good steward of the river.


Contains: Rainbows and Browns.

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