Ark Anglers




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Fishing Conditions

Lower Basin: Salida to Canon City

Jun 15, 2019

Saturday 6/15, 2019

Flow at Wellsville: 4,890 cfs

Water Temp.: 40s

Clarity:  <1ft. visiblility below Salida, very brown.

(Scroll down for Spring Sale info)


101 Fly Fishing Class Dates: July 13, August 10, August 24, September 7, September 21

Call 719-539-4223 or email with questions or to make your reservations


Saturday Report - Braden Baker


The river is on the rise as our annual snowmelt cycles have returned with the warm weather.  The smaller tributaries are swelling from snowmelt, and the river is reflecting these changes, as well.  Visibility is extremely limited below Salida, and with increasing flows expect fish to be in a constant state of adjustment.  The few catchable fish that are still looking for food will be located along the edges out of the faster current, and can be tempted with streamers or large attractor nymphs like stoneflies.  You want flies that will hit the water hard, and present a distinct silhouette underwater.  Don't be shy on tippet; you'll be glad to fish heavier material at this point.


We recommend fishing stillwaters and tailwaters until the runoff slows down.  The Arkansas is dangerous at flows well below current levels.  Be very careful when wading; do not step where you cannot see the bottom of the river.  Focus on fishing from shore wherever possible.


Midges and chironomids are starting to hatch at some of the low and mid elevation lakes and reservoirs.  Please give us a call for updates on the local stillwater fisheries.   


Things are changing on a day-by-day basis, so please call us if you have thoughts or questions at (719) 395-1796 in Buena Vista or (719) 539-4223 in Salida to get river clarity reports.


*Private water Arkansas River wade trips are available out of both our Salida and Buena Vista shops.  Please call our stores for more details. 


Follow us on instagram at @ArkAnglers!

Salida Spring Sale Items

(Discontinued or previous years models):


Simms Waders/boots ~40% off!

Men’s Freestone Pant Wader (XXL)– Retail: $229.95, Sale: $140

Simms Rock Creek Felt Boots – Retail: $99.95, Sale: $60


Sale also includes:

Discontinued Simms and Fishpond Packs

Discontinued fly Lines from Rio and Scientific Anglers

(Call 719-539-3474 for specific pricing and sizes.) 


Call 719-539-4223 or email with questions or to make your reservation. 


Salida Shop: 7500 W. Highway 50, 719-539-4223 / Open Monday-Saturday 8:00-6:00, Sunday 8:00-5:00.

Buena Vista Shop: 517 S. Highway 24, 719-395-1796 / Open Monday-Saturday, 8:00-6:00, Sunday 8:00-5:00


Location Information

Stockyard Bridge

The Stockyard Bridge, crossing the Arkansas River just downstream of Salida, is the geographical landmark associated with the mouth of Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Crossing the bridge to the north side of the river, one can drive around behind the Stockyards and downstream to the end of the road, progressing on foot along the railroad for as much as 3.5 miles downstream. On the highway side of the river, there is an RV park below the bridge and then public water downstream to the Wellsville Bridge (3.5 miles). The public water begins with the Salida East primitive camping area (BLM). There are restrooms there and a good boat ramp with parking.

Special Regulations Apply – From Stockyard Bridge downstream 7.5 miles to confluence with Badger Creek, artificial flies and lures only, rainbow trout must be returned to the water immediately.

Current Flow rate: 3,530 cfs

Wellsville Bridge

The Wellsville Bridge crosses the Arkansas River with a county road about three miles below Salida East. Just above the bridge, the river begins a two mile passage through private land on both sides. Also above the bridge is a popular parking area for wade anglers, providing access to some excellent water. There are also numerous pullouts along the highway between there and Salida East. By crossing the Wellsville Bridge and continuing downstream on the north side of the river, one will come to the Point Barr area, where primitive BLM camping is allowed.

Current Flow rate: 2,450 cfs

Badger Creek

Five miles below the Wellsville Bridge, Badger Creek feeds the Arkansas River from the north. Though not a major tributary in terms of regular flow, Badger Creek empties a vast drainage north of the river and can flashflood to massive proportions when summer thunderstorms focus their energy in its basin, making it the most frequent culprit in terms of muddy water in the lower canyon. The years of flashflood activity have pushed significant debris out into the river, creating Badger Creek rapid a short distance below the Rincon campground and launch site.

Coaldale & Vallie Bridge

Bighorn Sheep Canyon is really a series of canyons: Salida to Howard; Coaldale to Texas Creek; and Texas Creek to Parkdale. From Howard down through Coaldale, about six miles, the river travels through a more open valley with spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and generally gentler water. There is good public access upstream of the private water above the Vallie Bridge state park site (boat launch and restrooms) and there is another state park site about five miles downstream at Canyon Trading Post. Fishing in this area is excellent due to the slower water and patchwork of private land. With the absence of canyon walls, it gets good sun exposure during the lower light of spring and fall.

Texas Creek

The tiny community of Texas Creek is the last in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and sits at the entrance to the lower canyon. There is a bridge across the river at Texas Creek and the bridge road continues downstream for half a mile and one can continue downstream from there on foot. Currently, there is no public boat launch site at Texas Creek, though Colorado Parks and Wildlife is trying to negotiate a lease for one with the railroad. From Texas Creek to the Parkdale bridge (14 miles), the river passes through public or railroad land and there is a great diversity in types of water. The upper 5 miles, above Pinnacle Rock, are mostly gentle water with a few small rapids interspersed. As one moves downstream from there, the rapids are more common and significant. This creates a lot of excellent pocket water, particularly for fishing in the spring and fall. The water temperature tends to run high in the summer, making the upper river more productive, and in winter pack-ice build-up can make much of this water difficult or dangerous to access.


Parkdale is the southern terminus of Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the launch point for whitewater trips through the Royal Gorge. There is a boat launch, restrooms, and picnic area at the state parks site there and a fair bit of public water adjacent that fishes well in the spring and fall. Approaching the river from the east, Parkdale is the first spot where US 50 intersects the river. As a result, fishing decisions get made at Parkdale based on the appearance of the river, decisions that may not be supported by conditions upstream. In particular, murky or muddy water at Parkdale does not mean that the river is looking shabby in Salida, or even Coaldale. There are many, many tributaries and arroyos that feed into the Arkansas River – anything they discharge into the river will eventually flow past Parkdale. Cell phones don’t work well west of Parkdale - a call from there to our Salida shop, 719-539-4223, will clarify where murky water may have originated and how far an angler needs to drive in order to get upstream of it!