After several weeks of erratic water levels, flows on the Ark below the Pueblo dam have sustained an upward trend for the last few days. While it looks as though we could see flow’s continue to rise, it is very possible that they reverse trend again. At this point water clarity is lower than previous days, but still has plenty of visibility. In times like this, we like to fish bigger bugs in the worm, stonefly larva, caddis larva and leech variety. Regardless, smaller (#18-20) midge and baetis nymphs remain the primary food source, but we’re starting to see a growing number of caddis larva and stonefly larva in the water as well. With the exception of Thurs (5/6), air pressure is set to remain on the lower end for the next few days. The weekend, in particular, will be especially low and will leave trout feeling sluggish and feeding at lower rates. That said, streamers and bigger nymph offerings should turn some heads. Sunday (5/9) and Monday (5/10) bring a chance of rain and cloud cover. As such, expect to see an uptick in hatch activity and some surface action. Otherwise, nymphing with small midge and baetis larva/pupa trailed by bigger bugs will be effective options as well. Think midge larva in the early hours and baetis pupa in the late morning and afternoons. Regardless of when you fish, surface action has been relatively strong as trout are continually looking up. The midge and BWO hatch has been strong, but we’re also starting to see some caddis come off the water as well. In this case, single/double dry or dry droppers will be effective.
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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.