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Southeast Colorado Fishing Conditions - May 2

Outdoors - Colorado Parks Wildlife Mountains Baca National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS
Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Arkansas River
Upper River: Cooler weather has halted the melt and the river is clear and stable. BWO’s are the main menu item right now, but caddis larva and pupa are becoming increasingly available and important. In the afternoons, be prepared for BWO hatches; we’ve had excellent reports on the river above Buena Vista. Nymphing slow, consistent pools and runs mid-day in the upper basin can be productive, with fish moving into faster riffles to feed when nymphs are drifting, primarily in the afternoon. Be thorough in your approach, and adjust your weight and depth accordingly.

Middle River: We’re seeing increased productivity with caddis larva and pupa subsurface in the middle basin. Few caddis adults have been seen here, but fish may still respond opportunistically in the afternoons to caddis dries fished in pocket water and ambush lies. BWO’s are still very prevalent in this area (with hatches coming in on cloudy days), so combinations of caddis and mayfly nymphs have been effective during non-hatch periods. Flows have dropped a bit due to cooler weather, so water clarity should not be an issue. Spring fishing is now underway up through Browns Canyon and the Milk Run. Daily nymphal drifts of BWO’s, as well as some good cloudy day hatches, have energized the fish population and allowed them to disperse from winter water. Also, look for morning caddis larval drifts. With the significant decrease in flows, crossing the river at Hecla is now relatively easy and the wading through the Big Bend area is very accessible as well. Cloudy weather this week should produce some excellent afternoon hatches.​

Lower River: The warm weather has triggered brachycentrus caddis activity in Canon City and Bighorn Sheep Canyon. Some reports suggest this activity has reached as far upstream as Stockyard Bridge, ten days earlier than the historic progress. This is not surprising, given fairly low flows and the weather we’ve had recently. Cooler weather this week has slowed the progress of the hatch, but it has also tempered the low elevation runoff we’ve seen and brought flows back down to around 400 cfs. It also looks to be prime BWO conditions this week. Caddis larva and pupa (tan and olive) are increasingly important subsurface food in the lower basin, and you’ll want to have plenty of adult fly patterns in your box in the #14 to #18 size range once the weather warms back up. We’ve had many reports of fish rising to take adult imitations in areas where caddis are in the air, even if there is not a hatch occurring at the moment. Prospecting with dry flies in the afternoon can be productive if you can cover water. Cloudy days will still yield BWO hatches, so stay prepared. We are also seeing good cranefly and midge activity. Flows are at a level that is conductive to both wade and float fishing. We are still seeing consistent BWO nymphs drifting daily, and duns on the water on cloudy afternoons. Any cloud coverage in the afternoon may prompt a hatch, so stock up on BWO dry flies and emergers in the #16 to #20 range. Nymphing will still probably be your best bet throughout the day, but don’t limit your strategy to deep water; shallow riffles can be productive in the afternoons once mayfly nymphs become more available.

(Courtesy of ArkAng​​lers)
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

North Gateway 
Park Anglers have had success catching trout in all three ponds using various lures, kastmasters, and baits. The bass fishing has been slow, but there have been some sporadic catches. Fishing for catfish has also been fairly unproductive.

Trinidad Lake

The lake is currently at 901 surface acres. Fishing from the south shore has been good, with anglers catching rainbow trout in the 16 to 20 inch range using worms and PowerBait. Reilly Canyon, where the river comes in, has been slow due to the muddy water from recent rains. Anglers have had sporadic luck catching catfish and bass. Boaters have mostly been catching trout and walleye. Perch fishing is starting to pick up from boats as well as from the shore. Anglers have had success using jigs tipped with worms.

Trinidad Lake State Park