If you want to fish for rainbow and brown trout, head to the magnificent Arkansas River nestled in the Colorado Mountains. Anglers looking for trout can fish the day away while using streamers, dry flies, and nymphs. When fishing the river, you can fish from the shore, a boat, or while wading. The widespread wilderness provides plenty of open water and includes stretches where you can fish in solitude. If you’re more interested in catching rainbow trout, head downriver in the direction of Salida.
The best way to fish the Arkansas is to read the riverbed to locate the trout. Browns often lay dormant in cooler pools while rainbows swim higher above them. Brown trout also don’t typically enjoy fast currents and are often found hiding between the river’s large rocks. The fish generally swim upstream, and approaching them from behind can make for a more successful catch.
Wearing waders is a must during spring and fall as the water temperature often drops below 50° F. Boots with wading tread or felt soles would be helpful when navigating the diverse, rocky riverbed of the Arkansas all year round. Using multiple flies to attract Arkansas river trout is popular due to the fast-moving waters. The dry-dropper approach works well during the summer – use a dry indicator for visibility on the surface with a nymph directly below it.
You can access the river’s Gold Medal fishing waters from within the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. US Highways 24, 285, and 50 run parallel to the river, providing convenient parking and shoreline access for anglers. Always check the local fishing regulations before your trip, as much of the river has a size and catch limit.