Arkansas River – 07/23/2019

Time: 10:00AM – 3:30PM

Location: Tunnel area

Arkansas River 07/23/2019 Photo Album

After a pleasant evening at the Railroad Bridge Campground, I was within four miles of my targeted fishing destination. Eight small trout landed within the last 1.5 hours on Monday sold me on staying in the Arkansas River Valley. The weather on Tuesday was ideal with high temperatures spiking into the low eighties. The river was high, but unlike the section where I began on Monday, was crystal clear; and I realized how much of an impact clarity has on my fly fishing confidence level.

Arkansas River from the Railroad Tracks

I began with a yellow fat Albert and trailed a 20 incher and a beadhead hares ear nymph. During the two morning hours I enjoyed steady action on the nymphs. Early results accrued to the 20 incher, but as the air and water warmed up, the hares ear began to contribute. As the morning progressed, the fat Albert lost both legs, and I decided to experiment with a large buoyant hopper Juan. Unfortunately none were in my fly boxes, so at 11:45 I ascended the bank and strode a short distance on the railroad tracks, until I returned to the Santa Fe. I sat in the shade of my hatchback and munched my goodies, and then I topped off my plastic fly canister with two tan hopper Juans. By noon the fish counter rested on fourteen, and I was pleased with the steady availability of small brown trout.

Nice Early Start

Typical Productive Water

When I returned to my exit point, I paused to replace the fat Albert with a hopper Juan, and this large foam terrestrial remained on my line for most of the remainder of the afternoon. The 20 incher fell out of favor, so I swapped it for an iron sally. From 12:30PM until 2:30PM the fish count elevated steadily to twenty-four. One or two browns crushed the hopper Juan, a couple chewed on the iron sally, and the remainder grabbed the salvation nymph. The action was consistent, but not outstanding, and it seemed quite a few attractive spots failed to deliver results. Nevertheless after Monday’s early debacle, I was very pleased with my day on Tuesday.

Fly Bigger Than the Mouth

Iron Sally Worked its Magic

Between 2PM and 2:30PM the pace of action slowed perceptibly, so I opted to change things up. I knotted a size 12 yellow stimulator with an orange tip on the abdomen to my line as a sole dry fly. The bright stimmy generated a raft of refusals, but it also duped three brown trout at the upper end of the size range. I persisted, and refusals became the norm, and after seeing a handful of dapping caddis along the bank, I switched to a size 16 gray deer hair caddis. Surprisingly this close imitation of the naturals spawned a series of snubs.

Orange and Yellow

I pondered the situation and decided to try one last ditch effort with a peacock body hippie stomper. It worked! In an eddy behind a large streamside rock, a spunky ten inch brown smacked the stomper. I continued briefly, but it was now 3:30PM, and the riverbed narrowed and created a whitewater chute for fifty yards. I was not interested in persisting, so I clipped the hippie stomper to the rod guide and returned to the car.

Chubby Little Guy

Tuesday was a fun outing. The fish were small, but I needed action after waiting out the long runoff, and after hours of frustration in high murky conditions on Monday. As a bonus, I explored an expanded portion of the tunnel area, and I will likely return in the near future.

Fish Landed: 28

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