Report: Despite Colorado Wildfires, the Arkansas River is “The Best It’s Been for 100 Years”

Wild brown trout are the big draw on the Arkansas, and fish populations are booming.
Photo courtesy Taylor Edrington

All the news out of Colorado of late has been about devastating wildfires, but here’s a remarkable success story that i don’t want to get lost in the shuffle: According to Doug Krieger, Colorado Parks and Wildlife aquatic biologist, the health of the Arkansas River is “The best it’s been in 100 years.” Quoted in an article in the Denver Post, he cites high fish counts, the quality of the fish, and a resurgence in aquatic-invertebrate populations. Plus, it looks like water levels are going to be great for fishermen in the weeks ahead.

The wildfires affected about 10 miles of the Royal Gorge, but that’s really rafting water, not fish habitat, according to Bill Edrington of Royal Gorge Anglers in Cañon City. Above and below the gorge, conditions should be great. To check conditions and hatches, check the Orvis Fishing Report for the Arkansas River.

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Bug numbers on the Arkansas are very strong, producing impressive hatches.
Photo courtesy Taylor Edrington

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