I was going to try and fish the Arkansas and/or Tennessee Creek but the spot I had spotted on Google was private property. Since it wasn’t primarily a fishing trip I stuck with fishing the east side of Turquoise Lake. You can fish from shore easily and there were huge hatches of chironomids (midges) that the fish were absolutely gorging on. Midge pupa patterns worked well—small zebra, medallion midge, black beauties, etc. Use a small indicator and a No 6 split shot if the waves start coming in. Fish were cruising everywhere.
Post by thecroflys on Jul 10, 2020 15:13:20 GMT -6
I don' t know if you are aware that the headwaters of the Arkansas are just outside of Leadville and it has some of the best fishing right where the river is small and not so fast. There are several places that have public access and the first on the list is Hayden Meadows which is just south of town on 24. I fish there every year on the river and after I pickup my twin girls from sleep-away camp. On the way home to Dallas, we always stop by Hayden to fish for the stocked rainbows and browns in the pond. We wind up taking a few home but those are the only fish week keep.
However, in the Hayden Meadows parking lot, you will see a dirt road going East along a fence line to a small concrete bridge. Well right below it is the Arkansas River (it skirts around Hayden Meadows). There is a map by the bridge next to the river that shows you where the public/private lands are. Many great and wild browns in that river. This time of year they will literally explode out of the water like a ballistic missile attacking a Chubby Chernobyl. Its' an awesome sight and wonderful to experience! I never tire of it. Great nymphing water too and have had great luck with bead-head Pheasant Tails, GRHE's, and Rainbow Warriors. The river is fairly shallow and not to hard to wade. Last year was different and with 2-300% snow back it was blown out even in late-July. The river is usually not very wide...in some cases 20-25' across and at other sections about 30-40 feet. The area is mostly grassy fields with a few small trees lined along the banks.
You know you've reached Hayden when you are on a curved bridge over a railroad track and Hayden Lake is on your Left and the Arkansas is right below on the bridge. There is a left turn lane into the Hayden Lot. Also, if you want to fish another pond, about a mile before Hayden is Crystal Lake. The lake is used by float tubers mostly but I've seen them haul nice ones in. Other's fish/wade from the bank
Really appreciate the information. This will be our first trip to Leadville. I used to live in Colorado Springs (37 years ago) but I wasn’t fly fishing then. Hayden and Turquoise Lake should provide ample opportunities.
Might want to also check out Clear Creek just a few miles downstream on the Arkansas. The road up to Independence Pass runs along it for a good ways and there's a couple of pull-outs where I've caught fish in the past. On another note, there used to be a little Mexican restaurant in Leadville that had really good food and some of the best tamale's I've had (great margarita's too). Not sure if it's still open or what the dining situation is in Colorado right now, but worth checking out.
Post by golferjeff on Jul 15, 2020 12:13:30 GMT -6
I have been there dozens of times.... Hayden Meadows on the Arkansas is a must. about an hour downstream is Browns Canyon, just go there . As far as creeks..... Chalk, Cottonwood, and Lake all feed the Arkansas and are great fisheries in the own right. Snowpack this year was about normal up there. Runoff is over, but late summer should still be a good supply of water.
The Arkansas River can be fished with any method you want. You'll catch more on nymphs, but those 12" browns smashing hoppers and stimmy's is hard to beat. There are some lunkers too, but they generally want streamers. Lots of undercut banks if you like precise casting.
I am up there all summer basically..... I will try and update on this board as much as I can. SW colorado is gonna be skinny by August, so I might be up that way where the 14'ers feed the creeks.