Background Autologous arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are the first choice for vascular access but have a high risk of non-maturation due to insufficient vessel adaptation, a process dependent on nitric oxide (NO)-signaling. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with oxidative stress that can disturb NO-signaling. Here, we evaluated the influence of CKD on AV fistula maturation and NO-signaling. Methods CKD was established in rats by a 5/6th nephrectomy and after 6 weeks, an AV fistula was created between the carotid artery and jugular vein, which was followed up at 3 weeks with ultrasound and flow assessments. Vessel wall histology was assessed afterwards and vasoreactivity of carotid arteries was studied in a wire myograph. The soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) activator BAY 60-2770 was administered daily to CKD animals for 3 weeks to enhance fistula maturation. Results CKD animals showed lower flow rates, smaller fistula diameters and increased oxidative stress levels in the vessel wall. Endothelium-dependent relaxation was comparable but vasorelaxation after sodium nitroprusside was diminished in CKD vessels, indicating NO resistance of the NO-receptor sGC. This was confirmed by stimulation with BAY 60-2770 resulting in increased vasorelaxation in CKD vessels. Oral administration of BAY 60-2770 to CKD animals induced larger fistula diameters, however; flow was not significantly different from vehicle-treated CKD animals. Conclusions CKD induces oxidative stress resulting in NO resistance that can hamper AV fistula maturation. sGC activators like BAY 60-2770 could offer therapeutic potential to increase AV fistula maturation.