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Southeast Colorado Fishing Conditions – April 11

Arkansas River
Upper River: Flows have declined on the upper river and anglers can expect the brown trout fry emergence and pre-runoff fish conditioning until the melt begins in May. While the Salida area is probably the most productive stretch of the river currently, the upper basin is seeing some changes with the warming weather. 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 afternoons. If you find one fish, you will likely find several grouped together, so be thorough in your approach, adjusting weight and depth to find them.
Middle River: 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, anglers should 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 too. Cloudy weather later this week should produce some excellent afternoon hatches. We are starting to see BWO nymphs drifting daily, and even a few sporadic duns on the water in the afternoons. Be sure to stock up on BWO dry flies and emergers in the #16 to #20 range. Nymphing will most likely still be your best bet throughout the day, but don’t limit your strategy to deep water only; shallow riffles can be more productive in the afternoon once mayflies become more available.
Lower River: Flows are now within the prime range for spring, specifically for the brown trout population. Though the river is still floatable, it is now very easily waded. The cloudy weather in the forecast should make for great fishing conditions. We are seeing consistent BWO nymphs drifting daily, and duns on the water on cloud afternoons. The recent warmth seems to be motivating fish to move into shallower water as they feed. There they can be best tempted by striated midge patterns, golden stonefly nymphs, mayfly nymphs and emergers, and “meat & potatoes” patterns like pheasant tails, hares ears, and princes. Focus fishing efforts on the period of peak warmth between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
(Courtesy of ArkAnglers).
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Trinidad Lake 
The lake is now open for boating, and every boat must be inspected unless it is sealed with a Trinidad seal and receipt. Fishing from shore has been good, with anglers reported 16 to 20 inch trout being caught around the lake using worms and PowerBait. Boaters have just started, but worm harnesses and jigs have been working well.
Trinidad Lake State Park