Feb 09, 2016
Browns Canyon is a fault-block formation that threads the Arkansas through a ten mile wilderness of granitic boulders and old ponderosa pines. Known as the most popular whitewater run in Colorado, it remains, in spite of that, an outstanding fishery for those willing to hike its shores or boat its rapids. Best accessed by wade anglers at the Hecla Junction state park site (County Road 194, campground and launch facilities), one can work upstream over some high bluffs and back to the river, or cross the river to the east side and hike along the railroad grade (500 cfs is probably the upper end for wading across the river at Hecla). From Hecla, there are about 8 miles of public water upstream that hold both browns and rainbows, fishing well from April into October. For more accomplished float anglers, the trip from Ruby Mt (8 miles) or Johnson Village (14 miles) offers healthy fish and bug populations, few fishermen, and about a dozen Class III rapids. Hecla Junction can also serve as a launch point for a float trip downstream toward the Big Bend and Salida. Two significant rapids about a mile downstream make this an ill-advised trip at flows above 1000 cfs.