Pueblo Tailwater

Arkansas River - Pueblo Tailwater

Difficulty Intermediate
Ideal Days To Fish 4/9, 4/11 & 4/13

Weekly Report

Report DateApril 8, 2021
The Pueblo tailwater is in great shape. Flows continue to rise at a manageable rate and while clarity worsens briefly with each bump, it has been clearing up quickly. Warm weather, increased bug life and plenty of water have made for some great days on the water. Trout here are feeding activity throughout the day and at various depths. In the early hours, nymphing through the deep and slow water has been the most productive. As the day progresses and water temps rise, look for trout to spread out into the faster moving runs, seams, transitions and slow riffles. During this time, we recommend reducing the amount of split shot you are using and focus on the mid water column with a midge or baetis emerger. Starting at about 10 am, you can expect to see some surface action and an abundance of midges. Otherwise, BWOs have been very apparent starting in the early afternoon. The next few days (4/8 through 4/11) will be a bit of a challenge given frequent fluctuations in air pressure. However, conditions will begin to normalize early next week. Air pressure will hold on the lower end most of the weekend, but meaningful overnight swings will make for a slow start to the day. During this time, think big and messy bugs like stoneflies, leeches, worms and small baitfish imitations. Nymphing will produce the best results. However, streamers will be effective as well. Regardless, you’re going to want to focus on the slow and deep pools and runs as this is where trout will hold most of the day. Starting on Mon (4/12), trout will resume feeding at normal rates and spread out across the water.

Recommended Flies

River Flow

Flow Region

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.