Pueblo Tailwater

Arkansas River - Pueblo Tailwater

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 1/29, 1/30 & 2/1

Weekly Report

Report DateJan. 27, 2022

Flows at Pueblo have risen slightly in the last couple of days, but have largely held steady and sit well below the historical average for this time of year. While the winter months are generally less crowded, the river has been busy, particularly on weekends, but even on mild weekdays. Air temps are forecast to decline through Thurs (1/27), with a decent chance of snow. However, the weather will clear up on Fri (1/28) and air temps will rise through early next week before retreating again on Tues (2/1). At this point, nymphing with small and imitative midge and baetis rigs will produce the most consistent results. Trout are favoring the soft water (deep pools, slow runs, eddies, pocket water and slack water) most of the day so you’ll want to ensure plenty of weight so as to get your flies into the appropriate feeding lanes. Prior to the weekend, you’ll want to lead with smaller attractor patterns like a Rainbow Warrior, Frenchie, Flashback PT or Perdigon. However, starting on Sat (1/29) you’ll want to transition to smaller imitative bugs like a Zebra Midge, Perdi-Midge, Demon Midge or Neon Nightmare Midge. That being said, don’t hesitate to lead with something bigger like a Mini Leech or Pine Squirrel Leech as these flies will get the attention of the more opportunistic trout. Regardless, you’ll want to trail any of the aforementioned set-ups with one or more smaller larval patterns in the early hours and pupae during peak heat hours (12 pm to 3 pm). Surface action is dwindling, but you’ll likely find the occasional riser. The midge hatch is the most prominent right now and size, over likeness, is key.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region
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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.