|The Arkansas River is an outstanding river flowing for over 300 miles through Colorado. The river is located a short distance southwest of central Colorado just east of the continental divide. Its headwaters are found north of Leadville where it gathers runoff from the surrounding Sawatch Mountains. Flowing for approximately 100 miles southeast, it passes Mount Elbert and then the towns of Buena Vista, Salida and Coaldale. Turning east at Coaldale, the Arkansas flows for approximately 200 more miles passing the towns of Canon City, Pueblo, La Junta and Lamar before reaching the Kansas state line.The most heavily fished and popular section of the Arkansas is from Buena Vista to Canon City. This section of the river, which is approximately 75 miles long, has beautiful pocket water, pools, riffles and runs holding an excellent population of browns and a good population of rainbows. The river averages from 70-100 feet wide in most areas with boulders, bends and deep seams creating superb habitat for the trout that reside here.Trout in the Arkansas average approximately 13-15 inches although fish to 18 inches and better are not that uncommon. The trout population is 90 percent self-reproducing brown trout and 10 percent Colorado River rainbows, which are introduced as fingerlings. Expect about 2,000 fish per mile on the average.Route 24 parallels the Arkansas from its headwaters to just south of Buena Vista where Route 285 then parallels the river for several miles before Route 291 then parallels it to Salida. From Salida to the Kansas border, Route 50 parallels the river. Look for side roads where access can't be found from the more major highways.Salida is a popular area of the Arkansas, which lies between Buena Vista and Canon City. Visitors will find a beautiful selection of water with pockets and riffles to a few runs and pools.Traveling east on Route 50 from Canon City visitors will reach Pueblo after a drive of approximately 35 miles. Below Pueblo Reservoir visitors will find a tail-water section of the Arkansas that holds a good population of browns and rainbows. The hatches are good especially the blue-winged olives that come off during the late fall, winter and early spring.Hatches on the Arkansas are very good. The caddis hatch that occurs during the spring is one of the most prolific in the west. Blinding numbers of these flies come off and cover the river. This is a popular time as many fish come to the surface to feed on the caddis. Blue-winged olives and pale morning duns are the most prolific and productive mayfly hatches on the river. Stoneflies and other caddis also stir the river's surface when the conditions are right. The huge golden stonefly hatch usually occurs during the runoff period but can still provide some dry fly action in areas of slower water or along the banks.Streamers and nymphs also produce very well. They fish exceptionally well along the banks when the river is high from recent rain or runoff. Use some split shot and a long leader to get your nymphs down. A sink tip line will help to get your streamers along the bottom and fished properly.|
|Facilities: There are many communities along this river where facilities can be found. Salida, Coaldale, Parkdale, Coal Creek, Baxter, Avondale, Fowler, Rocky Ford, La Junita, Las Animas, and Lamar are just to name a few. There are three state parks along the river that will provide many camping opportunities.|
Best Time To Visit: This river freezes over only on rare occasions.
Fees: A fishing license is required to fish in the state of Colorado. Other fees, such as camping, boat ramp usage, etc. may be incurred.
Accessibility: Please check the individual State Park/Recreation Area for a complete handicap access guide.
Rules: Because this river is 300+ miles long in Colorado alone, the rules will vary.
Directions: There are numerous access points along the Arkansas River, which is one of its great attributes.
Map: Click here for a map to Arkansas River
Reservations: Reservations are not needed.
|Colorado State Parks - Denver Administrative Office|
|1313 Sherman Street #618|
|Denver, Colorado 80203|
|General: (303) 866-3437|