After several days of sustained increases, flows on the Ark, below the Pueblo reservoir, were nearly cut in half and are now sitting at roughly 70 cfs. With this in mind, expect productivity to suffer over the next couple of days as trout will take some time to normalize to the new flow. Assuming flows hold steady, trout will hold idle most of the day in the deep and slow moving water through the early Friday (10/22). Otherwise, productivity will improve thereafter. Water temps have held below dangerous levels for the last week and you can now safely enjoy a full day on the water. Nymphing will garner the best results throughout the day, but the dry fly action has been superb as of late. Look for sporadic midge and trico activity mid morning and caddis in the afternoon. Additionally, we should start to see some BWOs make an appearance so keep an eye out for this hatch as trout will have a feast when it comes. When it comes to nymph rigs, you’ll want to stick with smaller attractor flies at the lead on Thurs (10/21) followed by smaller imitative midge, baetis or caddis pupa. Starting on Friday (10/22), air pressure will begin to drop making bigger nymph offerings the way to go. As such, leeches, stones and worms will be the most effective lead fly. Cloud cover will give trout a sense of protection and allow them to move about the water more freely. However, with lower flows expect trout to stack up in the deeper runs, pools and pockets.
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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.