Do you love the quiet pleasure of finding the perfect spot along rushing water, furry companion at your side, casting your line, and feeling the thrill of a strike? With lower water levels this year, fly fishing on the Arkansas River is one of the best social distancing activities to experience this summer. Even better? Be right in the middle of some amazing dry fly and dry-dropper fly fishing at our Creekside Chalets in Salida, Colorado.
Miles of Public Access to Gold Medal Waters
The Arkansas River around Salida is an excellent freestone fishing river with miles of well-marked public access and plenty of brown and rainbow trout for satisfying fly fishing. With so much river available, anglers can choose from a variety of promising spots, keeping up with trout who can be easily spooked if they notice you coming their way. Being Colorado’s newest, longest Gold Medal rated water means you’re almost certain to catch some excellent trophy fish.
Guided Trips and Expert Advice
Whether you’re a beginner to fly fishing or an old pro, Salida’s own ArkAnglers (who also have a Buena Vista location) can make your visit the fishing trip of a lifetime. They offer fishing trips for every level. From a half- or full-day, fully equipped trip to try out fly fishing, to full-day wade and float fishing trips down the Arkansas or nearby Spinney or Antero Reservoirs. If you’re new to fly fishing or just a little rusty on technique, you can combine your guided fishing trip with some expert instruction. Or, try taking Fly Fishing 101, Euro Nymphing 101, or Rowing Instruction, then tackle some fishing on your own.
The Next Eddy is also ready to make your trip spectacular with short (2 hours) walk-and-wade trips to full-day adventures in nearby private waters. Float fishing trips are also available in full and half-day durations. Rods, reels, waders, and boots are all available to rent in case you don’t have your own along or haven’t decided to invest yet, and their store is chock-full of everything you might need for your fishing trip.
For more full- and half-day guided float fishing trip options, Salida Anglers is ready to accommodate you. Their fly shop has all the rods, gear, and equipment you might want to make your fishing trip a success.
Upriver Fly Fishing in Buena Vista features a full-service fly fishing shop and also offers rental equipment and a really wide variety of guided fishing trips from women-led trips and instruction by the hour to full-day walk, wade and float adventures.
The Arkansas is a large freestone river, with lots of deep pocket water and velocity shelters, featuring everything from gentle waters around Big Bend to Class III-IV rapids through Brown’s Canyon. This middle section of the river has some of the healthiest insect life in Colorado. Mayfly, caddis, and stoneflies have large summertime hatches and should help guide your fly choices. Brown trout are most plentiful in the Arkansas — in fact, they’re very plentiful, averaging 1500-4000 per mile. Good-sized fish, most are 12-18 inches
Around Salida is one of the shadiest sections of the Arkansas River, so you’ll be able to really enjoy a full day fishing even in the hottest parts of the summer. Conditions for the Upper, Middle, and Lower Basins of the Arkansas River are readily available and frequently updated, as are conditions for Brown’s Canyon, the Granite State Wildlife Area, and a dozen other local fishing areas. Many public access areas along the Arkansas also offer parking, picnic tables, and grills available for your use.
Best Bets for Fly Fishing
Whether you like the immediate gratification of watching a trout strike on a dry fly or combine the two with a dry dropper rig, all are popular and successful methods of bagging some fantastic trout on the Arkansas River and surrounding lakes and tributaries. Proven winners in these waters include pheasant tail nymph, stonefly nymph, and zebra midge flies. Copper Johns and prince nymphs are also popular choices. We suggest a 9-foot, 5-weight, or 6-weight rod with a floating line.
What Do I Need?
Of course, you’ll need a fishing license. Colorado offers short-term licenses for non-residents for single days with options to add additional days or a 5-day license. You can buy one online from the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website, or at any local fly fishing shops. If you planned on fishing here and brought your own fishing rod, reel, fly box, and gear, you’re all set. If not, everything you need can also be rented at The Next Eddy, CKS Main Street, and other shops, or purchased locally. Many anglers wet wade in the pleasant warmth of summertime here, but whether you opt for waders or boots, you’ll want to have felt outsoles or good treads for the uneven riverbed conditions. When you do stop at one of our local fly fishing shops, be sure to talk to some of the local experts.
Where Should I Stay?
Prime fly fishing season on the Arkansas River is mid-May through late October, which coincides nicely with the perfect time to enjoy summer at our pet-friendly Creekside Chalets. With the Arkansas River right in your backyard, fly fishing can be one of the most relaxing and refreshing ways to enjoy some time in the great outdoors. With the vast public fishing access around Salida, easy social distancing is almost guaranteed. Make your fishing dream trip a reality. With comfortable, fully-equipped, pet-friendly, private chalets along the Arkansas River, Creekside Chalets can make it a trip to remember. Come unwind in your chalet’s hot tub or relax in front of the fireplace and plan some days casting your line on the water here. Contact Creekside Chalets today to start planning your trip.