Among the nation’s most sought-after whitewater, the Arkansas River in Colorado offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains’ highest “fourteeners” (14,000-foot peaks) and incredible local wildlife (bighorn sheep, deer, elk, birdlife and more). Taking advantage of the abundant fish, wildlife, and plant resources, Ute Indians inhabited the upper basin of the Arkansas River in Colorado upon the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1700’s. An ethic of conservation has preserved much of the upper Arkansas’s stunning natural beauty and resourcefulness. Today, the entire river is a Colorado State Park and the work of institutions both public and private ensures that future generations will have the opportunity to experience the enchantment of this classic western river.
The Arkansas River is one of Colorado’s major waterways, great for Colorado river fishing. This high-elevation river with crystal-clear water provides the perfect environment for fly fishing. Its headwaters are near Leadville and it flows south through the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. There is over 100 miles of floatable water with Gold Medal fly fishing stretches that hold an abundance of Colorado Brown and Rainbow Trout. You’ll find plenty of variety for Colorado river fishing, with endless riffles, runs, pools, undercuts, and overhanging brush. Colorado river fishing with a professional guide ensures the quality of your experience. They know the water, know the hatches and know the fish. For you eager and determined beginners, the guides will teach gear selection, casting techniques, knots, entomology, and reading the river in an intensive instructional course. If you already have your basics covered you could enjoy a full or half day walk and wade with a guide. Think you can handle stepping it up a notch? Enjoy a half day, full day or evening fly-fishing float down the river in order to challenge yourself to improve upon your fly-fishing skills. The ideal time for fly fishing in Colorado is in April and May before snowmelt brings river levels up or in July, August, September and October when the river has cleared up from the spring runoff.