Pueblo Tailwater

Arkansas River - Pueblo Tailwater

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 3/8 & 3/11

Weekly Report

Report DateMarch 4, 2021
Mild weather and increased bug life have made for some great days on the water! Flows remain below historical averages for this time of year and water clarity is high so stealth and presentation will be imperative to success. Use high water clarity to your advantage by sight fishing. Look for trout to stack up in the deeper pools, slow runs, transition areas and near structure. Water temps are on the rise given warmer overnight temps and the trout have been more active as a result. That said, the mornings will be slow, but look for productivity to pick up starting at about 9:30 am. Nymphing with small and imitative midge and baetis continue to be the most effective mode of fishing. However, we’re seeing increased surface action with stronger hatch activity. When nymphing, we recommend leading with something more sizeable like a size #18 Flashback PT, Pine Squirrel Leech or Mini Leech followed by one or more smaller midge and/or baetis larva/pupa. Go with a larva pattern as your second fly followed by an emerger like a Mercury Black Beauty or Mercury RS2 as your third fly. Depth will be a determining factor in the coming days as varying sun exposure, water temps and air pressure will signal trout to hold different positions in the water. In the early hours, focus on getting your flies deep, but as the day progresses, lighten the load and hit the mid to upper water columns.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region

Detailed River Info

Background:

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”.  

Angling:

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. 

River Access

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.