Overall River Rating:


Welcome to the trout's stream flows for Arkansas River Basin.

7/28/15: Right now the flows are great and the river is fishing well, focus your attention from Buena Vista to Leadville because the lower parts are starting to be blown out. There should be some hatches coming off and your typical nymph fishing rigs should produce some great fishing, and dry fly fishing is only going to get better as the summer continues.

River Information

The Arkansas River begins it's 1500 mile journey towards the Missisippi right here near the town of Leadville, CO. Ideal for a 3-5 wt rod, this portion of the Arkansas is largely a meadow stream and provides anglers the chance to target rainbow and brown trout in a high altitude, extremely scenic environment. 

Aside from fishing the Arkansas River, there are countless lakes and small streams that offer anglers a variety of places to spend a day. Turquoise lake, Hayden Meadows, Crystal Lakes, Busk Creek, Halfmoon Creek and the East Fork of the Arkansas are just a few of the many nearby waters this area has to offer. Many of these smaller creeks provide the oppurtunity at a "Grand Slam"-- a Rainbow, Brown, Brook and Cutthroat trout all out of the same river in the same day! 


Winter/Spring: Midges, sporadic Baetis

Summer: Caddis, Stoneflies, Terrestrials, multiple varieties of Mayflies (PMD, BWO, Red Quills), Small Streamers

Fall: Caddis, Stoneflies, Mayflies, Streamers 

Seasonal Conditions

The primary months to fish this section of the river will be from late March-November. Due to the altitude, (approx 10,000 feet) this area is very cold during the winter and the fish quite lethargic. Seasonal closures on some stretches exist as well. 

It is without a doubt the warmer months that make this river come alive. Anglers can expect to find fish heavily relating to the various and prolific mayfly, caddis and stonefly hatches this river sees. Terrestrial patterns can also be very effective during the summer. 

River Access

River access for the upper portion of the Arkansas River is plentiful as well. Hwy 24 parallels much of the river and multiple parking areas, designated with a "P" sign,  can be found along the roadside. Crystal Lake State Trust Lands, Reddy State Wildlife Area and the hayden Ranch Recreation Area are all productive areas to check out when fishing this stretch of river.