This year has been one of contrasts for the Arkansas River, with spring upper basin snowpack far exceeding normal while the drainage from Salida east languished in drought. The result was forty days of flows over 3000 cfs while an observer standing on shore was subject to arrest for even lighting a cigarette. The high water has long since passed, but the effects have played out to anglers’ benefit in the later season. Many hatches have been prolonged or delayed, leading to recent observation of midges, tricos, red quills, blue wing olives, caddis and golden stoneflies all in the air during the second half of September. Meanwhile, trout are still feeding hard as they retire the calorie deficit incurred during the extended runoff. The result has been some outstanding fishing, even if zeroing in on specific food source has been complicated by the diversity and sheer numbers of aquatic insects available. Tough problem to have! Looking ahead, a seasonable low flow (375 cfs on 9/21) coupled with a strengthening La Nina in the eastern Pacific suggests dry fall weather will keep the river clear and low into mid-November. With these conditions, fish will be able to continue a strong feed and should have a successful spawn (brown trout) in October. As happened last year, we will be floating well into November and wading throughout the winter.
In the weeks ahead, look for the insect diversity to narrow and for blue wing olive mayflies and midges to comprise the primary hatches. Stonefly nymphs and caddis larvae will continue to round out the subsurface diet. Up to date fishing reports are available at www.arkanglers.com or by calling 719-539-4223.
Over the River Update
The Over the River art project proposed by Christo Javacheff continues its journey through the Bureaucracy of Land Management. The Final Environmental Impact Statement was released in late July and we all await release of the BLM’s Record of Decision soon. Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by ArkAnglers, Arkansas River Fly Shop, and the citizen’s group Roar against the Colorado Department of Natural Resources is about to enter its next phase with the Response from the State due in the next week. Also pending is an intervention in the lawsuit by Mr. Javacheff’s Over the River Corporation. The next few weeks should clarify the strength of our case and give us clearer direction on the fight ahead.
For those who would like to make their feelings about this project known, we encourage visitation and comment submittal through this link. The American Sportsfishing Association will relay comments directly to DNR Director Mike King, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, and to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.