Flows on the Arkansas Pueblo Tailwater have declined steadily over the last few days and are currently sitting well below ideal levels. At one point, flows reached as low as 15 cfs which likely put many of the existing spawning beds (redds) at risk. While it is too soon to say what the impact will be on future generations of trout, this tailwater is in delicate shape and it is highly recommended that you avoid fishing here until flows return to normal levels. Regardless, expect it take a day or two for trout to recoup after returning to normal. Once this happens, trout will be skittish and selective so you will need to be persistent and do your best to sight fish. Again, the rainbows are spawning so please do your best to avoid fishing to trout that are in and around redds. Nymphing with smaller midge and baetis imitations will be the way to go most of the day, but don't hesitate to mix in some bigger attractor patterns at the lead. Focus on the deep and slow water and expect trout to stack up in numbers. With this in mind, you'll want to cover ever inch of the pool, run or pocket you are fishing. Otherwise, dry flies have been productive given an intensifying midge hatch and the up and coming BWO hatch.
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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.