November 26, 2020:
Fishing at the Pueblo tailwater has been great in recent days with stable flows, mild temps and increasing water clarity. While flows are low, you can expect them to hold fairly steady. Trout are stacking up in the deeper runs and pools, but will venture out into the more shallow runs and riffles in the late morning and afternoon. Nymphing will produce the best results. Start by fishing midge and baetis pupa/larva through the deep and slow water ensuring plenty of weight. As the day progresses and hatch activity materializes, lighten the load and focus on the mid to upper water columns with an emerger. Surface action has been great with an abundance of midge and BWOs. If you see trout actively rising, rig up a double or single dry fly and hit the slow water near the banks. Parachute Adams or Parachute BWOs as well as Griffith’s Gnats have been a deadly combo. Fluorocarbon tippet will improve your odds as well given that these trout can often be picky when it comes to surface flies.
Ideal Days to Fish: 11/26 & 11/28
Sub-surface: RS2 (#20 - 22), Barr's Emerger (#22), Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger (#20 - 22), Stalcup's Baetis (#20 - 22), JuJu Baetis (#20 - 22), WD 40 (#20 - 22), Caddis Candy(#18-22), Prince Nymph (#18 - 22), Pheasant Tail (#18 - 20), Hare's Ear (#18 - 22), red Copper John (#18 - 20), Black Beauty (#22 - 24), Zebra Midge (#18 - 20), Top Secret Midge (#22 - 24), Miracle Midge (#24-26), Red Midge Larva (#24-26), Electric Caddis (#16 - 18), Pats Rubber Legs (#10 - 12), Rainbow Warrior (#20 - 22), Pine Squirrel Leech(#10-14) and Squirmy Wormy(#10-14).
Surface: Parachute Adams (#20 - #22), Griffiths Gnat (#24 - 26), Elk Hair Caddis (#16 - 18), PMD Thorax Dun (#20-22), Parachute PMD (#20-22), Resting Caddis (#16-18), X2 Caddis (#16-18)
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Detailed River Info:
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.