Flows on the Ark, below the Pueblo Dam, have been fairly volatile in the last few days, as a result of heavy rain. However, they have since come down to a productive level. Hatch activity remains strong with tricos, midges, PMDs and caddi. However, slightly off-colored water has limited surface action as of late. While we expect flows to remain relatively stable in the coming days, air temps are making their way back into the mid to high 90 deg F range. Water temps are cool and won't be a concern, but the mornings and evenings will continue to produce the best results. In the early hours, expect to see midges and tricos on the water. Whereas in the afternoon, look for caddis and PMDs. If you see trout actively rising, don’t hesitate to rig up some dries or a dry to an emerger. Parachute Adams, Parachute PMDs, Elk Hair Caddis, Resting Caddis and Griffith’s Gnats are a few of our favorite dun patterns. Otherwise, nymphing will produce the most consistent results. Off-colored water and low air pressure in the coming days will justify bigger lead flies as trout will need some convincing and will feed opportunistically on bigger bugs. Pat’s Rubber Legs, Pine Squirrel Leeches, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ears and Flashback PTs are all great options. Trail any of the aforementioned lead flies with one or more smaller midge, baetis or caddis nymphs. Patterns that are dark in profile and have a little flash will get the most attention. In general, trout will favor the soft water like the deep pools, slow runs and pockets. However, don’t discount the riffles and tailouts in the late morning and afternoon.
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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.