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Colorado Arkansas River

Characteristics updated 4 months ago
Flow updated about 2 hours ago

Exploring the Arkansas River in Colorado: Fly Fishing Paradise for All Anglers

Welcome to the captivating realm of the Arkansas River in Colorado, a haven for fly-fishing enthusiasts seeking adventure amidst breathtaking scenery. Explore the challenges and rewards that await as you cast your line into the pristine waters of the Arkansas River. Discover the optimal season, flow rates, and river access information to maximize your angling experience. Let's delve into the top-rated local fly shops and guides that share your passion for river stewardship, sustainability, and conservation.

Challenges of Fly Fishing the Arkansas River

Embark on an angling adventure on the Arkansas River, knowing that its swift currents, fluctuating water levels, and ever-changing conditions will put your skills to the test. Adapting to the river's dynamic nature and uncovering the best fishing spots require patience, adaptability, and knowledge of the river's nuances. Prepare to face these challenges head-on and reap the rewards of conquering the Arkansas River's wild beauty.

Preferred Season for Angling on the Arkansas River

The Arkansas River offers prime fly fishing opportunities from May to October, with the peak season unfolding in June and July. During these months, the river boasts stable water levels and mild weather, creating optimal conditions for novice and experienced anglers. Plan your visit accordingly to maximize your chances of hooking into the Arkansas River's prized trout.

Ideal Flow Rates for Successful Fly Fishing

To ensure a fruitful angling experience on the Arkansas River, aim for flow rates ranging from 400 to 800 cubic feet per second (CFS). This range strikes a balance, providing sufficient water flow for trout movement and feeding while maintaining safe wading conditions. Monitoring flow rates and adjusting your approach accordingly will enhance your chances of success on the Arkansas River.

River Access Considerations and Access Points

While accessing the Arkansas River, be mindful of private property boundaries and respect parking restrictions. Fortunately, numerous public access points are available along the river, including the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and the Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area. Familiarize yourself with these access points to ensure a smooth and respectful fishing experience.

Top-Rated Local Fly Shops and Guides

Elevate your angling adventure with the expertise of local fly shops and guides who are passionate about the Arkansas River and its conservation. Here are three highly regarded options within 50 miles of the river:

Embracing River Stewardship

At the heart of fly fishing on the Arkansas River lies a deep commitment to river stewardship, sustainability, and conservation. As you embark on your angling journey, practice Leave No Trace principles, respecting the natural environment and minimizing your impact. Together, let's preserve the beauty of the Arkansas River for future generations. For more information on river conservation and how to contribute, visit the nonprofit organization Running Rivers at

Characteristics & Metrics

⋅ Dec 06, 2022
Clear and cold
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Current Flow

Arkansas River - Colorado
Gage Station Temp
(ft ³/s)
(ft ³/s)
arkansas river near leadville, co n/a 21.9 21.9
arkansas river below empire gulch near malta, co n/a n/a Ssn
arkansas river below granite, co n/a 141 141
arkansas river near nathrop, co n/a 353 353
arkansas river at parkdale, co. n/a 354 359
arkansas river at moffat street at pueblo, co n/a 163 163
arkansas river near avondale, co. 62 367 354
arkansas river at las animas, co. 61 81.6 99.6
arkansas river below john martin reservoir, co. 68 169 169
arkansas river at lamar, co 68 17.5 15.8
arkansas river near granada, co. 68 36.8 39.7
arkansas r nr coolidge, ks 62 71.1 72.1
* Mean data is from Friday -- September 22, 2023
** Updated about 2 hours ago
*** streamflow is the volume of water flowing past a given point in the stream in a given period of time.(USGS)


* Based on YTD -- 2023
** Toggle legend names for an uncluttered view

Additional Resources

River and steam flow data are acquired from multiped sources. This feature is only available in select states (Colorado only). Flows are updated multiple times a day. Data might be unavailable due to ice or other objects obstructing the gage.

Update about 2 hours ago

Flow: 22 cfs

Data Source: USGS
Update about 2 hours ago

Flow: 254 cfs

Data Source: DWR
Update about 2 hours ago

Flow: 281 cfs

Data Source: DWR


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May 22, 2022

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Jun 15, 2022

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Jun 15, 2022

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Jun 15, 2022


Craig Hoffman
over 1 year ago
Good flows and below the Pueblo dam.
Craig Hoffman
over 1 year ago
Beautiful fishing and scenery along HWY 50 (Salida to Canon City)

Known Fish

Known Fish of the Arkansas River
Type Species Up To
Trout Brown 12 in.
Trout Rainbow 12 in.
* Fish likely to be found. Size is a approximation.