Flows on the Arkansas Pueblo Tailwater increased substantially over the last couple of days and while the change threw trout for a loop initially, it has been highly beneficial since. As it stands, flows are within the ideal range for this time of year and the river is really starting to come to life. There is still some color to the water, but visibility is good and should improve as things settle down. Trout are feeding actively throughout the day and at various depths and locations. The rainbows are spawning so please be wary of redds and avoid fishing to trout that are paired up or sitting on or near spawning beds. Otherwise, take advantage of eager trout as they are more opportunistic this time of year. The mornings will continue to be slow before 10 am. However, as air temps moderate through the weekend and into early next week productivity should improve earlier in the day. Nymphing with smaller midge and baetis imitations continues to produce the most consistent results. That said, bigger offerings in the leech, stonefly, worm and egg variety have all been effective as well. When it comes to midge and baetis patterns, simple is better, but you’ll want to start with something that is darker colored like red, purple or brown. Surface feeding has been consistent and is improving with intensifying midge hatches and emerging BWOs. Otherwise, streamers have been really effective, especially during the middle of the day when hatch activity is slower and trout are more keen to bigger bites.
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The Arkansas River below Pueblo Reservoir is a tailwater that flows through the town of Pueblo. The city of Pueblo has made significant river improvements over the last several years, making this stretch of the Arkansas a productive and highly sought after fly fishing destination, especially in the winter. The river consists of deep pools, slow runs and riffles. The insertion of rock weirs created additional pools where trout of various sizes feed and hold. Compared to other tailwaters in Colorado, the Pueblo tailwater is generally more off colored throughout most of the year. This makes sight fishing more difficult, requiring anglers to diligently fish deep pools and runs. Anglers will have the opportunity to catch brown and rainbow trout ranging from 8 – 20 + inches”.
This stretch of the Arkansas River is best fished with a nymph setup but does provide for exceptional dry fly opportunities. During the winter, anglers itching to fish a hatch and toss dry flies should check out this stretch as the warmer weather in Pueblo aids in more consistent hatch activity compared to the other tailwaters in Colorado. This stretch experiences all the major Colorado hatches including midges, baetis, caddis and stoneflies. Terrestrials are also present during the summer and early fall. Trout primarily hold and feed in the deep pools and runs making a heavy nymph setup an ideal tactic. Along with nymphs, leech and worm patterns are highly effective. In the presence of a hatch, trout will rise in the tailouts of deep pools as well as the slow riffles. Throughout most of the year, 4x and 5x tippet is sufficient. However, during periods with low flows (30 cfs – 100 cfs) and/or high water clarity, 6x and 7x tippet may be necessary.
Located only 2 hours from Denver, the Arkansas River below Pueblo Reservoir is an easy trip to make. Once in Pueblo, drive west through downtown and continue west for a few miles. Multiple parking lots along this stretch of river make parking easy and provide a good opportunity to bounce around to different sections throughout the day. If you’re not interested in getting in and out of the car, there is a bike path along the river that makes exploring the river easy. Be aware, a $7 entrance fee is required if you access the river near the dam.