Since dropping to winter storage levels, flows on the Arkansas Pueblo Tailwater have largely held steady and should continue to do so for the foreseeable future. At this point, water clarity is good and trout are fairly skittish so be sure to practice caution when moving about the water. Keep a low profile and stick with short and clean casts for the best results. Additionally, sight fishing will dramatically increase your odds of success. Seek out the deep and slow runs, pools and pockets as well as the slack water along the banks and remember that if you see one trout lurking around there are likely more in the vicinity. Hatch activity has been strong with consistent, yet, sporadic midge hatches in the early hours of the day. Soon to follow are the BWOs which are hatching in the late morning/early afternoon. With the exception of Thursday (11/24), which will be windy and comparatively cool, the next few days are looking good from a weather perspective. With this in mind, dry flies will be tough on Thursday and hatch activity will be sparse. Otherwise, be ready to fish those surface flies starting on Friday. Nymphing with a heavy lead fly to one or more smaller midge or baetis will do most of the heavy lifting, however. Really pick apart the slow stuff and be sure to adjust your weight if you are not seeing results. In general, you’ll want to fish the deepest column, but leading up to and following the hatch it will be a good idea to lighten the load and fish the mid to upper column. Lastly, streamers can be a good option, especially during the middle of the day and when hatch activity is quiet.
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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.