November 11, 2019:
In true form, the Ark below the Pueblo Reservoir is keeping us on our toes. Flows below the dam rose over the last several days allowing for trout to spread out. Given the recent increase, bigger bugs like worms and leeches will be productive lead flies when nymphing. Water clarity is still slightly off colored so make sure to go with bigger flashy bugs. This week will start off slow with freezing temps and high air pressure on Monday, but look for improvements with mild weather the rest of the week. The heavy nymph rig with bigger lead flies will produce the best results. Focus on the deeper and slower moving runs as well as areas with structure. When nymphing we like to lead with a Pine Squirrel Leech or Egg Sucking Leech followed by a Rainbow Warrior (#18-22), Mercury Midge (#20-22) or Zebra Midge (#20-22). However, most smaller midge and baetis variations should suffice. You can expect to see some strong afternoon BWO hatches this week so be prepared to fish some dries. That said, trout will be hesitant to rise to surface flies early in the week.
Ideal Days to Fish: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday
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), 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, Wooly Buggers, and Squirmy Wormy.
Surface: Parachute Adams (#20 - #22), Griffiths Gnat (#24 - 26), Elk Hair Caddis (#16 - 18), and Amy's Ant (#10).
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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.