Flows on the Arkansas Pueblo Tailwater have been somewhat variable over the last couple of weeks with a number of upward and downward swings. In recent days, flows have risen by a decent clip, but in a manageable fashion. At this point, there is some color to the water. However, visibility is generally good. In times of stained water, trout tend to be less selective and feed more opportunistically so use this to your advantage. With the exception of Friday (7/1) and Saturday (7/2), the next few days will be warm so be prepared to fish the early and evening hours for the best results. Trout will continue to favor the soft water like the deep pools and runs. However, they will be prone to hug the banks and sit in the slack water as well. At this point, nymphing will produce the most consistent results. However, surface action is really picking up so come prepared to fish some dries. Depending on where in the water you are fishing you’ll want to adjust your depth accordingly so as to reach the deepest columns. However, during the late morning and afternoon make sure to lighten the load and fish the mid to upper water columns. As far as hatches go, expect midges to be present sporadically throughout the day. Additionally, PMDs and caddis will make an appearance starting in the late morning and early afternoon. When nymphing, leeches, stoneflies and worms will be effective in the lead position while smaller searchers/attractors like a Flashback PT, Hare’s Ear or Rainbow Warrior will be productive trailers. Regardless, the mid morning and early afternoon hours will be the most productive given peak hatch activity and bug life. That being said, expect fairly consistent results between 9 am and 4 pm.
Need flies for your trip? FlyCast has collaborated with our friends at Anglers All to package a dozen flies that are hot on the Arkansas River, right now - Click here for hand selected flies
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.