Pueblo Tailwater

Arkansas River - Pueblo Tailwater

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 9/24 through 9/26

Weekly Report

Report DateSept. 21, 2023

Flows on the Arkansas Pueblo Tailwater remain somewhat unpredictable and have come down in recent days but remain within the ideal range for this time of year. Visibility is good, making sight fishing a viable option. That said, it goes both ways so be sure to keep a low profile and practice a finesse when it comes to your approach so as to refrain from spooking trout. Lower flows have led to dangerous water temps in the afternoon so be sure to hit the water early and call it a day when things get too warm. Comparatively mild weather through the end of the week should help keep things in check, however. While trout are able to spread out, they are favoring the soft water where they are offered the most protection. During the various hatches, however, trout are moving in and out their typical feeding lies. Hatch activity has been fairly consistent with tricos stealing the show in the early morning. Come prepared to fish both dun and spinner trico patterns. Midges are hatching sporadically throughout the day with a growing presence of BWOs as well. Lastly, caddis are making a regular appearance and are most prominent in the afternoon. If you are not seeing results on your dry fly set ups, heavy nymph rigs or hopper droppers have been effective as well.

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.