Flows on the Ark have come down substantially since peaking at 2,800 cfs last week. This was a very brief runoff season, but things are looking great the rest of the month. At this point, you will continue to be limited to the banks as the water is still too high to wade through. That being said, trout are stacking up along the banks and through the slack water. Water clarity has improved and should continue to do so in the coming days. Nymphing with bigger lead flies followed by smaller searchers/attractors or midge, baetis and caddis imitations is the way to go right now. As far as lead flies go, Pat’s Rubber Legs (black or purple), Pine Squirrel Leeches, Mini Leeches and Worms are all effective options. Otherwise, Frenchies, Copper Johns (green or red), Barr’s Tungstones, Hare’s Ears or Flashback PTs will do the trick. Surface action is picking up with consistent mayfly and BWO action. Caddis are growing in numbers as well so if you see trout actively rising to the surface, don’t hesitate to rig up some dries.
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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.