Royal Gorge Anglers operate as a full-service operation 12 months a year. Due to the extremely temperate weather, and variety of tailwater options within a short distance of Canon City, our guides see some of their best productivity even in the winter months. We guarantee there is a great option for any angler through our service 365 days a year!
Royal Gorge Anglers offers a wide variety of high-end Orvis gear for clients. All gear is included in a guided adventure. Royal Gorge Anglers includes the following for clients for their day on the water: Orvis fly rod/reel outfits, Orvis bootfoot waders, Orvis wet wading gear, all flies, and all terminal tackle.
Royal Gorge Anglers, located in the banana belt of Colorado at around 6,000 ft. elevation, focuses on the 102 Gold Medal Miles of the mighty Arkansas River. Along with the Arkansas, over 2 dozen other rivers and streams are accessible within 45 minutes of the flyshop, along with gold-medal stillwater fishing. While the guides here focus on the magnificent hatches and wild brown trout of the Arkansas River, they are also tried-and-true experts on world famous fisheries such as the South Platte and the South Park Reservoirs. The guide staff approaches these fisheries in a variety of mindsets, taking advantage of floating, walk wading, and/or running skiffs depending on the watershed and its conditions. As icing on the cake, Royal Gorge Anglers also offers a variety of trophy predator trips within close proximity of Canon City. From native cutthroat trout to 50" tiger musky, and high gradient freestone rivers to world-class still water; Royal Gorge Anglers and their staff have Colorado fisheries on lock down!
Colorado weather is highly variable; clients should expect anything. However, Canon City and the surrounding banana belt experiences over 300 days of sunny weather and very temperate conditions even in the winter. In fact, one of the most magnificent fisheries in the state, the Arkansas tailwater, regularly averages 50-degree weather from November through February. The following is what anglers can expect seasonally for the region:
March-April: 60-70 degrees/spring wind/spring rain showers
May-June: 75-85 degrees/calm
July-September 15: 80 degrees/scattered monsoon showers
September 15-November: 50-70 degrees/calm
December-February: 30-55 degrees/light snow/calm
Itineraries depend entirely on customer demands and expectations; however, Royal Gorge Anglers strives to offer the premium on-the-water time based on seasonal conditions. Generally, half-day walk/wade and float trips run 5 hours and begin at 8am from the fly shop. Full-day walk/wade and float trips run 9-10 hours and begin at 8am from the fly shop. The guide service suggests departure time changes during the hotter months due to increased water temperature and direct sunlight. In those cases, Royal Gorge Anglers most often suggests half-day trips with departure times from the fly shop at 6am, or evening trips with departures at 4pm.
Species and hatch timelines focus on individual drainages. Although there are many waters including small streams, reservoirs and some hidden gems that Royal Gorge Anglers takes advantage of throughout the year, these are the focused and more well-known waters:
The Arkansas River is known as one of the most prolific hatch-producing rivers in the world. With the famed caddis hatch in the spring, dry-fly fishing bumps to productivity levels unseen by any other watershed. Throughout the summer, this river experiences strong mayfly influence with great days on BWOs, PMDs and red quills; with a nice touch of stonefly and salmonfly activity in the post-runoff stage. Throughout the fall we encourage anglers to focus on streamer activity, with great chances for large brown trout against the thousands of cut banks. The winter months on the Arkansas offer a serenity that is truly enjoyable with great stonefly nymph and caddis larvae activity, even on the cold days. Trout populations in the Arkansas are unmatched by any river in Colorado with a true average of over 3,000 fish per mile. Sustained as a strong brown trout fishery, there is still a great rainbow trout niche on this freestone. Anglers should look to catch fish at an average size range of 14"-17" with the occasional fish over 20."
The Arkansas Tailwater
The Arkansas tailwater below Pueblo Reservoir has turned into one of the most magnificent fisheries in the Southern Rockies. Known for its winter fishing, the tailwater offers anglers shots at two-foot-long trout 12 months a year, and many times on a dry fly. With prolific midge and BWO hatches during the winter months, and tremendous PMD, BWO and trico action in the summer, there is always a topwater selection. Add in the strong population of large rainbow, cuttbow, and brown trout, and this fishery pushes for one of the best variety fisheries in the state!
South Platte River- Charlie Meyers SWA
The South Platte River below Spinney Mountain Reservoir in the Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area is one of the most famed tailwater fisheries in the state of Colorado. Located about 2 hours southwest of Denver in the area known as South Park, this relatively short meadow stretch of the Platte is a year-round fishery and produces some of the largest trout in the state during annual spring (rainbow and cutthroat trout) and fall (brown trout and kokanee salmon) spawning runs out of Elevenmile Reservoir. The resident fish are no joke either, consistently reaching sizes over 18 inches. This is an amazing stretch to fish when the action is good, but it is also fairly technical water and can be a real challenge at times, even for a fairly experienced angler. This fishery offers the angler great nymphing throughout the spring and fall and a tremendous trico hatch in the late summer, with some great terrestrial and caddis activity sprinkled in between.
Spinney Reservoir has become one of the premier stillwater locations in the Rocky Mountains. Not only trophy fish into the double-digit range can be possible, but also a higher average size range than any other reservoir in the state. Nestled in the heart of South Park, this gold-medal fishery not only has extremely productive trout fishing but also some of the best views of the beautiful Collegiate Peaks Range. Focusing on the early summer callibaetis hatches with emergers and dries can offer anglers days of over 100 fish to the boat. Damsel and chironomid activity on both ends of the callibaetis activity offers great productivity, and the odd streamer thrown in can get anglers into the fish of a lifetime. Spinney holds strong rainbow trout numbers into the mid 20" size range, but there are also some giant browns to be had, and even a few pike for the predator hunter.
While most guides on staff at Royal Gorge Anglers carry more than enough extra gear to make your experience perfect, we suggest that clients have the following on hand for their trip: appropriate undergarments for wading (based on season), waterproof rain jacket, UPF 40 sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, fishing hat (sun coverage), sun gloves/winter fishing gloves, guide staff gratuity.
Founded in 1990 in Canon City, Royal Gorge Anglers is the oldest fly shop and guide service on the Arkansas River. Founders, Bill Edrington and Jan Carson opened the doors to a world of fly fishing for anglers around the nation; and year by year, the business grew into something much more, a fly fishing tradition in Colorado.
Bill Edrington literally wrote the book on fly fishing the Arkansas, "Fly Fishing the Arkansas," published in 2000, and Royal Gorge Anglers has since been the authority on fly fishing the rivers, streams and stillwater of Southern and South-central Colorado.
In 2011, Taylor Edrington, Bill's son returned from 8 years guiding the rivers of Southwest Alaska to take the helm and completed purchase of the flyshop. The following year, Taylor transformed the flyshop into what it is today, moving the flyshop 2 miles west of Canon City to a private 50 acre property boasting a new 3000 square foot log flyshop and 5 room lodge. Royal Gorge Anglers, however, maintains today the tradition that was instilled in 1990; focusing on top level service, education, and superior quality in guides and products.
Royal Gorge Angler's is now the premier Orvis Endorsed Outfitter of the Southern Rockies, offering the most experienced and talented fly fishing guides on the Arkansas River, South Platte River, and numerous other watersheds. The Royal Gorge Anglers Guide Service offers over 35 different angling adventures, now featuring pack trips to high mountain lakes as well as multi-day high mountain stream trips.
The Royal Gorge Anglers flyshop offers the shopper a low stress, highly educational experience. Our staff are here to ensure that every angler or non-angler alike, understand the intricacies of every product they may be interested in. Every flyshop staff member also guides or instructs, so you can be assured that you are receiving the best advice on gear, clothing and flies, straight from the experts. Royal Gorge Anglers' ultimate goal is to offer the finest quality products shop-wide at the best possible price point. There is something for every shopper at Royal Gorge Anglers!
We are proud to offer THE FINEST QUALITY BRANDS in the industry, including: Orvis Fly & Tackle, Sage Fly Rods/ Reels, Hatch Reels, Patagonia, Simms Fishing, Umpqua Feather Merchants, Montana Fly Company, Beulah Fly Rods, Redington, Natures Spirit Tying Materials, Loon Outdoors, Yeti Coolers, Northwest River Supply, and much more!
Q. What type of shore lunches do your guides prepare?
A. The guide staff at Royal Gorge Anglers prides itself not only with its on-the-water capability, but also its culinary pursuits. It is their pleasure to offer clients requested dietary compliments, but also to think outside the traditional boxed lunch. Typical lunches consist of steak, cheeseburgers, hearty chipotle chicken wraps, etc; and a variety of snacks including fine cheeses, fruit, and granola.
Q. What is a typical gratuity for your guide staff?
A. Guide gratuity is always left up to the discretion of the client based on the overall satisfaction from the trip. However, it is typical to see the clients’ average gratuity at around 25% of total trip cost, or $75-100 per full day/per guide.
Q. Do you offer lodging packages with your guided adventures?
A. In fact we own and operate an angler’s lodge on the Arkansas River. The lodge is extremely comfortable with a common kitchen and large living area with a beautiful rock fireplace. We offer both single and double suites as well as entire lodge rentals. Booked with a guided trip, clients receive discounts on lodging at a seasonal rate.