New Year's Eve on the Arkansas River

#1
Here goes my first trip report....

New Year's Eve was a beautiful day to fish the Arkansas River in Salida, CO. I was staying near Buena Vista, CO with some friends and after a day or two of cabin fever, we decided to see how the river would do. With driving winds and frigid temperatures in BV our wives thought we were nuts, but nevertheless, we loaded the car with plenty of layers, gloves, and hats and drove the 25 minutes to Salida where we had been advised to go by a local fly shop. They said the water temperature of the Arkansas in Salida would warm up just enough between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that we might be able to catch some fish.

With a double nymph rig ready to go we jumped in the water at about 11 a.m. (right on time). My fishing partner had his nymph rig set to fish pretty deep (2-3 feet below the surface). Mine was set a bit more shallow (12-18 inches). We were both fishing a large stone fly with a small zebra midge underneath, but we were fishing different colors of each fly to see what might work. If my buddy started catching on the black zebra then i knew i needed to switch, and vice-versa.

We fished and fished and fished. Did i mention it was a beautiful day? Chunks of ice were floating down the river and hitting us in the legs as we waded, but with the right waders, the icy cold water was a non-issue.

We fished from 11 - ~3:30 and .... wait for it ... we got skunked. :(

I'm not one to get too dismayed by not catching fish. I've had enough good and bad fishing days to know it's not about the fish you catch, but about the enjoyment of just being there in the moment. From the top of a bridge we looked down and saw some very nice fish in the 18-22" range. We made a few decent casts to those guys, but they weren't having it.

Oh well... those waters are beautiful and the people at Ark Anglers in BV and Salida were very kind to show us a few good spots to fish and load us up with what they believed were the right flies for the job.

Overall, i give the day 4 stars for beauty, weather, and the chance to spot some very nice fish. If i had caught just one fish, the day would definitely get 5 stars.

Cheers & thanks for reading!

IMG_4914.jpg IMG_4924.jpg IMG_4926.jpg
 

Jslo

@troutset
#2
Nice! Yeah it was a good day out there, regardless of fussy/spooky fish lol. Weather turned out great, scenery was beautiful. Nice trip report.

Biscuet at work on the Ark


Mountains were pretty sweet, of course camera capture does no justice


Mountains en route to Arkansas River
 

NDflyfisher

Active Member
#3
Even though you didn't catch anything just getting out of the house for some casting would be great, I'm jealous.
I can't remember the name of the micro in BV but they had many good beers on tap. BV had some kayak thing going on the only time I was there. There were an insane number of kayaks in the park pond and on the river that day.
 

Jslo

@troutset
#4
Cool Montana2013 vid on vimeo by the way! Looks awesome.

Even though you didn't catch anything just getting out of the house for some casting would be great, I'm jealous.
I can't remember the name of the micro in BV but they had many good beers on tap. BV had some kayak thing going on the only time I was there. There were an insane number of kayaks in the park pond and on the river that day.
 
#5
Awesome! I used to live in Leadville and guided not too far from there. That's where I would go when I need to get down in elevation and warm up!
 

Dloopy

New Member
#7
I'm going to the CO too soon!!! It should be a bit warmer when I go, but I think that I may check out the Arkansas while I'm there if I have time. It's a bit farther South than where I stay, but everything there is a long drive.
 
#8
I used to live in Pueblo, I really wish I had picked up fly fishing when I was a bit younger. Im headed through in a few weeks and may be stopping on the Arkansas. I know im going on a fly fishing trip with one of my dads friends (a gift for Christmas since I was in Afghanistan). Im looking forward to fly fishing in CO. I lived there for 16 years and never took advantage of it.
 
#11
Thanks im glad to be home, I will have to check it out I lived there for so long and never really explored the rivers and lakes. I remember swimming in the Arkansas river down by there during the summer and never thought of even throwing a line in the water. if only I had a time machine.
 
#13
I fish that stretch of the Ark frequently in winter and there are two secrets. First get down on the bottom. If you aren't cleaning muck off your flies occasionally you aren't deep enough. Second secret is takes are incredibly subtle. If you set the hook on anything no matter how small you will only miss half the fish.