News from ArkAnglers

December 18, 2009 by

Happy Holidays from ArkAnglers!

 A few news items:

 1)    We have an opening for a new manager at our Buena Vista shop. Details are below. Send cover letter and resume to: ArkAnglers, 7500 W. Highway 50, Salida, CO 81201

 I.  Compensation and Schedule

  • $10.00 to $15.00 per hour wage depending on experience and expertise
  • Pro pricing on all products
  • April 1, 2010 thru October 31, 2010 (flexible)
  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  II. Responsibilities

  • Retail and Service sales
  • Customer Service
  • Inventory Management
  • Product Awareness
  • Shop maintenance and cleaning
  • Purchase orders, Receiving, Merchandising
  • Daily reporting, Accounting, Reconciling

  III. Requirements

  • Salesmanship
  • Self Motivator
  • Dependable
  • Intermediate to advanced understanding of fly fishing
  • Knowledge of the area

 IV. Other considerations

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Excel
  • Computer skills
  • Fly Shop retail experience
  • Experience as fly fishing guide
  • Experience with Fly Tying
  • Retail experience
  • Fly tackle product awareness

 2)    We have a couple of great fly-tying demos coming up at our Pueblo shop. The first is Saturday, January 9th from 1:00-3:00 with Don Puterbaugh. The second is on Saturday, February 20th from 1:00 -3:00 with Charlie Craven. Call the Pueblo shop at 719-543-3900 for details.

3)    The Pueblo Shop is offering beginner fly-tying classes on a monthly basis through March. January dates are tentatively scheduled for the 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th. Call them for more details.

4)    There are two new maps out on the Pueblo Tailwater. The first covers from the dam to Pueblo Boulevard. The second is from City Park to Runyon SWA. Cost is $5.95 for one or 9.95 for the set.

5)    All of our shops are offering our gift certificate special. Spend $50 and we’ll write it for $55. Or spend $100 and we’ll write it for $110.

6)    A great gift idea is our Fly-Fishing 101 class. It is a full day of classroom instruction and on-river demonstration. Cost is $100 and includes a $100 gift certificate, good for gear in any of our three shops.

7)    Special Pueblo hours! Due to the great fishing, the Pueblo shop will be open from 8:00 to 1:00 on the next three Sundays. Fishing in Pueblo is like a trip to a much warmer destination. It also features more oxygen than any other trout fishery in Colorado!

 Enjoy the holidays!

 The ArkAnglers Staff


Learn to Fly Fish this Weekend with ArkAnglers

September 8, 2009 by

This weekend (Saturday, 9/12), we will be offering our FlyFishing 101 class out of our Salida shop. Details are listed below. This is an excellent opportunity for friends and family to get a start in fly-fishing and knock some money off the price of initial equipment. Call us at 719-539-4223 to sign up for this class.

Fly-Fishing 101

 Learn to Fly-Fish for Free!!

 There is no substitute for focused initial instruction when making a start in fly-fishing. Trying to go it alone, coupled with the perceived cost of equipment, often keep potential fly-fishermen from entering the sport.

 ArkAnglers has a solution for both of these problems! Our new program, Fly-Fishing 101, combines 8 hours of classroom and on-river instruction with a $100 gift certificate – good for retail purchases at our shops in Salida, Buena Vista and Pueblo.

 The course fee is $100/person. For that you will receive the $100 ArkAnglers retail gift certificate, the instruction, use of all equipment, flies, and terminal tackle. Participants will need a fishing license, lunch, and outdoor clothing appropriate for the season.

 Topics of instruction will include: selection and rigging of equipment, aquatic insects and their imitations, trout behavior, “reading” the river, casting, fly presentation, and line management.

 Salida Course Dates: 3/7, 3/21, 4/4, 5/16, 6/6, 6/20, 7/11, 7/25, 8/8, 8/22, 9/12, 9/26.

8-10 Person Class Size Required

 Reservations: 719-539-4223 or email to

Southern Mexico Trip Opportunity

September 4, 2009 by

ArkAnglers Buena Vista shop manager Dick Anderson is hosting a trip to Xcalak, Mexico from November 6-14. The trip includes six days of fishing and seven nights lodging at Tierra Maya all-inclusive fishing lodge. Quarry include Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit and Snook. Trip costs $2300 for fishing and lodge; air travel, gratuities and alcohol are extra as is the first night in Cancun, estimated at about $50. THERE IS ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!

 Contact Dick Anderson at 719-239-0518 or e-mail at for more information, including photos of recent trips.

Fall Fishing on the Arkansas

September 4, 2009 by

With September upon us and Labor Day around the corner, fall fishing has arrived on the Arkansas. Flows are lower than average right now with about 90 cfs in Hayden Meadows and Granite, 254 cfs in Browns Canyon, and 270 cfs at Wellsville in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. The Bureau of Reclamation is not planning to move more water any time soon so, though other entities could impart some change to flows, I would expect the river to remain between 250-300 cfs for the balance of the season.

What does this mean? Low, clear flows are very beneficial to the fishery. In order to thrive, a brown trout must take in more calories than it expends and this is more easily accomplished in a river like we have now. The lower current velocity makes much more of the river bottom usable habitat for the fish, decreasing competition along the edges and putting more fish out where the food is flowing by. The shallower water also allows a fish that is hugging the bottom to still have access to all of the food that is present in the water column, including on the surface. The type of flow situation we now enjoy generates the best growth rates in fish of the year.

 For the wade angler, these flows mean opportunity. One can access nearly every part of the river under these conditions and fish will be found in a broader selection of habitat. On the other hand, they are a bit more selective right now – they have more time to look at your offering – and have experienced some reeducation over the last two months. The low, clear flow means you and your leader/tippet are more visible too so wearing muted colors, keeping a low profile and fishing lighter tippets or fluorocarbon will improve your success.

 For the float-fisherman, these flows can be challenging. While we are still floating the river every day the technical nature of some of the moves presents a challenge to the private float angler. And the presence of the boat does have an impact on the fish. We are often boating one side of the river and fishing the other side or middle. Many of us are slowing down, walking the boat quietly through productive water, and doing are best to minimize the shadow we cast. Both approaches to the river are productive now, but modifications have to be made to either for best results.

 In addition to our Arkansas River trips, we will be running our boat trips to Spinney Mountain and Antero Reservoirs through September. We are still having wonderful days on some of the high lakes of the San Isabel National Forest, too, as cutthroats try to fatten up as much as possible for the long winter ahead.

 Fall is the most beautiful time of year in the upper Arkansas River valley. We hope the season will include opportunity to cast your line upon these waters.

 Greg Felt


Falling River, Rising Fish

July 1, 2009 by

If you follow our fishing conditions page on, you know that prophesy is not necessarily my strong suit. Especially when it comes to projecting river flows. I have been watching this river for many years, serve on the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District board, and have many contacts in the rarefied chambers of water management. Despite these advantages, I am often surprised, if not downright contradicted, by the behavior of this river in May and June. Now that it is July, I will humbly crawl out of my cave of humility and see if I can see my shadow, or at least see my way out of the woods.


We had an early peak around Memorial Day and then cool weather dropped and cleared the river for awhile. We had a second lower peak in mid-June and then the river dropped again. And then last Friday the river rocketed to its highest flow yet, the result of heat, the high angle of the sun, continued west-slope imports, and full storage vessels on the upper river. Monday morning we were at 3530 cfs at Wellsville. Today we are already back down to 2630 and dropping. It has been a prolonged process but it looks like we are finally headed into summer flows on the Arkansas.


All has not been doom and gloom during this time. The fishing at Antero Reservoir has been insane – many trips catching 30-40 fish or more and many fish over 5 lbs. The upper end of the Arkansas, above the confluence with Lake Creek, has been overrun with caddis and a variety of stoneflies. The main channel has been too burly to fish but the side channels and pockets in the grass have been full of aggressive feeders. Over the last three weeks, most of our high lakes have opened and cruising cutthroats have challenged the blood pressure of a number of ArkAnglers’ guests. All of these waters, and our lovely tributaries, will continue to produce even as we turn our attention back to the Arkansas. There is no shortage of fishing opportunities in July and August!


What can we expect on the big river? I think we will be dropping into the Very Fishable flow range of 1600 and below by early next week. At that level, the river is out of the willows and there is plenty of good structure breaking up the flow along the banks. Golden stoneflies will still be in evidence but yellow sally stoneflies and pale morning dun mayflies will take center stage. Hoppers will be profuse along the banks and caddis, in a variety of sizes and colors, will fill in the gaps. July and August represent some of the best dry fly fishing of the year. Mornings may suggest a beadhead dropper but midday to evening should be double dries along the edges, my favorite combo being a size 16 yellow stimulator followed by a 16-18 light cahill (pmd).


Oceanic and atmospheric observations are suggesting a fair bit of moisture in the rockies this summer. So we may see some days when monsoon rains murk up the lower river and push our trips upstream. Outside of those occasional events, we expect great fishing in Bighorn Sheep Canyon for the next 120 days. Depending on how you look at it, that’s a long time or will be gone before we know it. Either way, we hope you will find your way to the Arkansas this summer or fall.


We update our website almost every day. And we are here on the phones and email from 8-6, seven days a week (8-5 on Sunday). Please call us if we can help you with information, equipment or a trip. And we look forward to your next visit.


Best Regards,


Greg Felt


Cool Days Clear the Water

May 26, 2009 by

Every year at this time, nature affords us a few weeks to regroup from the spring and reload for the summer. Actually, it is often more like a month. But this year has been different with intense heat coming early and a large amount of snow melting in May, ahead of schedule. And while a cool, moist weather pattern circulates over the upper Arkansas River basin now, the fact is that we are moving through the runoff period quite gracefully thus far. We have seen the river go as high as 3350 cfs this spring but now it is back down to 2120 cfs with good visibility along the edges and NOBODY fishing. Moving upstream, flows become increasingly fishable, with about 550 cfs in Hayden Meadows and 1810 cfs in Browns Canyon.

A common misconception at this time of year is that one can’t catch fish above a certain flow level (fill in the blank, everyone has their own opinion) or turbidity (this ranges from crystal clear to coffee with cream). In my experience, there is no limitation based on flows or turbidity.  There are no absolutes, rather it is the relationship between yesterday and today that matters. 2120 cfs is a lot of water, and two feet is not a lot of visibility (both looked at from Arkansas River standards), but if it was 2500 yesterday and one foot of visibility, then the trend is decidedly positive and fish will respond accordingly. (As I am writing this, a local angler just walked in. He had just spent a few hours fishing the County Line section in upper Bighorn Sheep Canyon and had tremendous action along the shoreline). Runoff does not appear as a steady slope on a graph. It is a series of peaks and valleys with a lot of plateaus mixed in. Any time things flatten out or drop, clarity improves at the same time that fish become established in their positions. This is when hungry fish go nuts!

The way this runoff is playing out, I do not anticipate the river getting really high. It may not even hit the high point of 3350 cfs set last Friday. As a result, there are going to be plenty of days over the next three weeks that will fish quite well. After that, summer and stoneflies are full on. It all looks pretty good from here on out.

For those who are impatient, or don’t want to wager on peaks versus plateaus, our trips to Antero Reservoir have been absolutely red hot. We are talking about high fish counts and big fish in a beautiful setting on a comfortable boat. If you have wondered about this South Park fishery, now is the time to hit the water. We have good availability in the weeks ahead.

Warmer Weather Brings New Options

May 15, 2009 by

Warm weather and longer days have brought snowmelt into the Arkansas River, raising the water levels and increasing the turbidity. Conditions are poor from Salida down but we are still fishing the river from Browns Canyon on up. Caddis continue to hatch in Browns Canyon and the section between the canyon and Buena Vista, and blue wing olives continue to emerge on cloudy days as well. While we continue to float and wade the river, this time of year our attention is diverted by other options:

Antero Reservoir – Our boat-based trips on Antero have been incredibly productive recently. Many fish caught and some of excellent size, as the photo below demonstrates.

 Antero Rainbow

These trips depart daily early – 5:30-6:00 am – and the wind can bring them to an end by early afternoon. But the fishing is incredible right now and we highly recommend this trip. Larry Friedrichs and Larry Stiefel both have custom fishing boats so we have  four person per day capacity. This trip is a great alternative to the river from now through the end of June.


Mid-Elevation Lakes – There are many options opening up in the valley right now that offer the peace of a lake in the mountains coupled with hungry feeding fish. On some of these lakes, we are able to launch our float fishing rafts for better access. On others, we work the shoreline.


Tributary Streams – Some of the tributaries are raging, but many are fishing well already. Fish are hungry in these streams and a dry-dropper rig works fantastic. While the pressure can be significant in the summer, early season fishing there is excellent.


We have been keeping close tabs on the river conditions. Visit our conditions page at for the latest updates. If these trips are of interest, or if you want to plan ahead for stonefly fishing in the second half of June, call us at 719-539-4223 or email us at

We look forward to fishing with you!

Fly-Fishing Schools with ArkAnglers

March 30, 2009 by

ArkAnglers fly-fishing schools are a great way to introduce friends or family to fly-fishing. The schools begin with a morning classroom session, followed by a casting clinic, lunch, and a half day of guided wade fishing (2:1 guest to guide ratio) on our private water in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. With flows dropping and the river becoming much more accessible, this is a great time to get someone started in the greatest of all sports.

We currently have classes scheduled for this Saturday (4/4) and Saturday, April 18th. Cost is $175 and includes all equipment, flies, and lunch. Call us at 719-539-4223 or email to for information or reservations.

Flows Dropping on the Arkansas!

March 30, 2009 by

Many who monitor conditions on the Arkansas River know that winter and early spring flows have been unusually high this year, the result of releases from Twin Lakes. The Bureau of Reclamation has been moving water from Twin Lakes to Pueblo Reservoir in order to vacate space for imports from the Frying Pan drainage during runoff. The large releases reflected the intent of the Bureau to move this water early, so that they would be able to reduce flows during the critical period of 4/1-5/15. Though late storms could necessitate some additional mild releases, the Bureau has completed its plan on time and is now stepping down the flows over the next four days. By Friday, the entire 330 cfs run from Twin Lakes will be reduced to zero, leaving us with a Wellsville flow around 300 cfs.


To say this is good news would be an understatement. Spring flows of 250-400 cfs are optimal for the brown trout fishery:


         Dropping the flow reduces the current velocity, allowing brown trout to make use of much more river bottom habitat. This reduces competition, allowing more fish to feed more effectively.

         In April and May, reduced flows allow the water temperature to warm more, strengthening the hatches and increasing trout metabolisms.

         Lower flows also lead to better recruitment of brown trout fry as they emerge from the redds in April.

         Low flows make wading easier and make more of the river accessible to anglers.


While it is early yet to project, it looks like flows will remain quite low well into May. There may be an occasional slug of murky water due to rain or melt from an abnormally hot day, but true runoff will probably not be a factor until May 20th or so.


Blue wing olives are hatching consistently now and caddis should begin to emerge in Canon City in 2-3 weeks. There are a few caddis around, not the species that causes all the excitement, but fish will take them off the surface late in the day. Stonefly nymphs and caddis larvae continue to take a lot of fish early in the day while the afternoons are devoted to blue wing olives.


If you’ve been holding out for dry fly fishing or easier wading, the wait is over. Both are happening now on the Arkansas.


Greg Felt

Rising Fish on the Arkansas

March 26, 2009 by

Though today’s weather looks like winter, it has triggered the hatch we associate with spring. Blue wing olive mayflies are coming off from Stone Bridge to Canon City and our trout are onto them. Rising fish have been spotted throughout this reach and are providing local anglers with the first good dry-fly fishing of the year.


Most of the recently emerging bugs have been size 18, even some in the 16 range, and have been coming off with even mild cloud cover. Wind, a potential part of any spring day, has had no real impact on the hatch or feeding. The hatch has typically been happening between 12:00 and 4:00 when a little cloud cover combines with water temperatures in the 40s. The hatch can be very localized – strong emergence and feeding in one riffle-pool-tailout and little or nothing in the next. So moving around and observing fish/bug/bird behavior is a good idea.


Also, it can take a critical mass of adult bugs on the surface to get the fish to switch from emergers to dry flies. As a result, combining the two forms is a good idea. I like to drop the emerger a good 3-4 feet behind the dry. This gives the second fly a longer drift time. This tactic is more effective if you take a “field view” of the water as opposed to focusing solely on your dry. Looking into the water will help you spot fish feeding beneath the surface and give you more information than just staring at a little parachute adams.