Ark Anglers

 

 

 

 
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Fishing Conditions

Lower Basin: Salida to Canon City

Dec 18, 2018

Monday 12/17, 2018

Flow at Wellsville: 234 cfs 

Water Temp.: 30s-40s, some ice flow in the mornings until ~11am.  

Clarity: Clarity has been good upstream of Vallie Bridge, but below Coaldale, conditions are still poor following runoff from the Hayden Pass Fire burnscar.  

 

(Scroll down for Christmas Sale info)

 

Monday Report - Braden Baker

 

Excellent conditions in the forecast this week, save for a little breeze on Wednesday.  The Salida area will be in the 40s-50s all week, so if you've been waiting for a chance to hit the river, now's the time.  Sunny, clear days are ideal conditions for this time of year, with plenty of sunlight to heat the streambed mid-day, and nighttime lows that are warm enough to keep the river clear of ice.  The best hours of the day are generally 10am to 3pm.  If you find a little slush in the river in the morning following a cold night, don't be discouraged; the ice usually clears by 11am or noon, and fish are foraging by the time you can get a good drift.  Guide trips are reporting excellent mid-day fish feeding activity, primarily on midges, and great luck on larger attractors like stonefly nymphs.  Fish are starting to congregate together in some of the deeper runs and pools typical of winter.  However, on warmer days fish will move into the shallows to feed on daily insect drifts.  

 

At these flows, it's still possible to boat the river, particularly below 166 Bridge.  However, as fish move to winter holding lies, boats are generally required to go right over top of the prime holding lies, and on any given stretch of water, you may have significant sections of the river that are void of fish because they are too shallow.  Besides, ice shelves can make navigation a bit challenging.  Wade fishermen have an advantage here, because you can cherry-pick the best of the quality water, and move from place to place without wasting time on unproductive sections.  

 

FYI Salida East is no longer a free access point!  Prepare for day fees as you would the other recreation area sites.

 

Salida Holiday Sale Items at 15-50% off (Discontinued or previous years models):

 

Waders:

Freestone Z Wader

Freestone Stockingfoot Wader

Freestone Pant Wader

 

Boots:

Freestone Felt and Vibram Boots

Vaportread Rubber Boots

Rock Creek Felt Boots

 

Rods:

9’ 4wt. 4pc. Sage Method

9’ 6wt. 4pc. Sage Approach

9’ 4wt. 4pc. Approach Outfit w/ Sage 2230 Reel

9’ 6wt. 4pc. Scott A4

9’ 6wt. 4pc. Redington Path (Past season model)

 

Reels:

Ross Animas: 4/4, 4/5, 5/6 (Past season model)

Ross Cimarron 2: 3/4, 4/5, 5/6

Ross Rapid 3/4

Sage 3230

 

Fly Lines:

Rio Lines, Fresh and Salt (Past season models)

Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Textured

Scientific Anglers Wavelength Textured

 

Misc:

ArkAnglers L/S logo fishing shirts

Orvis Clearwater Vests (Past season model)

Select packs from Simms, Fishpond, and Patagonia (Past season models)

 

And MORE!

 

(Call for specific pricing and sizes.)

 

Call 719-539-4223 or email braden@arkanglers.com with questions or to make your reservation. 

 

Salida Shop: 7500 W. Highway 50, 719-539-4223 / Open Monday-Saturday 8:00-5:30, Sunday 8:00-5:00.
 

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

 


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: 196 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: 259 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

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!