Ark Anglers




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Fishing Conditions

Lower Basin: Salida to Canon City

Nov 20, 2019

Tuesday 11/19, 2019

Flow at Wellsville: 633 cfs

Water Temp.: High 30s-40s

Clarity: Stained, ~2-4' clarity 


(Scroll down for fishing report)

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Call (719) 539-3474 or stop by our Salida location for more information.


Tuesday Report - Braden Baker


Flows are up as releases from Twin Lakes have increased, and these higher than average flows will likely continue throughout the winter.  In order to aim for low, consistent flows of 250-400cfs during the spring to benefit the fishery, water will be incrementally moved all winter to begin making room in Twin Lakes for the anticipated snowmelt during runoff next year.  The low spring target flows will be ideal for the hatch of next year's brown trout fry, as well as allowing the resident trout population time to maximize their caloric intake before entering the high stress season of the summer, when they operate at a deficit during the higher flows.  The recent increase in flows has caused some discoloration from scouring in the river, but generally the conditions on the river are clear with several feet of visibility.  Fish are adjusting as well, and will be most likely to feed during the warmest hours of the day.   


Following colder nighttime temperatures, focus on fishing the Salida area from 10am to 4pm when the conditions are warmest.  With fish in spawning or post-spawn phases now, look for deeper pools below shallow riffles to find fish seeking food.  Try to avoid stepping on redds or targeting fish actively engaging in spawning behavior.  


Midges are the most prevalent food source in the river these days, but immature stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, and baetis nymphs are still important.  On cloudy afternoons, be prepared for hatches of the small fall mayflies!   


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


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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 8:30-5:30, Sunday 9:00-3:00.

Buena Vista Shop: 517 S. Highway 24, 719-395-1796 / Open Thursday-Saturday, 9:00-5:00.  Closed Sunday-Wednesday.

We are expecting an increase of ~200cfs in flows through the middle and lower basins by Saturday 11/16. These increased flows are expected to remain until January and are meant to minimize the impact to the fishery during the spring.

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: 2,850 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!