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Where to Go Arkansas River – Pueblo

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WINTER HOURS: 9AM TO 6PM DAILY

 


Photo by Covey Guide Brian Hilbert

 

Report Date: 4/19/2024

Current Conditions: 

  The current flows have come up a bit again because of downstream water demand. Flows are currently at 552 cfs. Despite these flows, the river is flowing nice and clear.  These flows are still on the high side for most tailwater enthusiasts, but that doesnt mean dont try! In my opinion these flows are some of the best conditions you will see on the tailwater. This opens up a ton of pockets and slots you normally would be inclined to fish. Its like a whole new river!  Fish have become very comfortable and are occupying all parts of the river. Focus your efforts in different areas that have been the focus through the winter. As always with this area, the flows can be incredibly volatile and change rather abruptly. ALWAYS check the flows before heading to this area. If you suddenly see a lot of debris floating down the river it may signify an increase in flows. The fishing has been good, and the traffic has slowed down a bit as well. The river is still fishing a bit technical and this will require anglers to continue to bring their "A Game".

It looks like most of the rainbows are done spawning, but you will still encounter some smaller fish occupying redds here and there. Please do not wade through or otherwise disturb these redds. They are all likely holding eggs. We are seeing typical early spring conditions on the tailwater. The water temps are warming nicely and that has supported some great BWO activity.  The fishing has been great and the river has been fairly busy. The prime fishing window has shifted to about 9:00 am to 5pm. The river is clear and sight fishing has been a ton of fun.

 The fish are taking full advantage of the  hatches happening now. Midges are hatching consistently and we are also in the midst of the spring BWO's. The BWO hatches have been pretty short lived.   Some days have afforded great dry fly fishing earlier in the morning. These insects will be targeted in all of their life stages when active.

Hatches: 

 Midges are the primary insect right now.  Baetis (Blue winged olive mayflies) are hatching but the hatches have been fairly short lived.  BWO activity should be increasing and especially prevalent on cloudier days. Midges are hatching throughout the day and providing a consistent food option for the trout.  Most of the focus has been on nymphing, but the dry fly fishing can be very good in the slower side pockets and edges of the river. 

Tactics: 

 The fish have spread out nicely with the flow increases. They are happy and feeding comfortably all day long. Pay attention to the hatches and even if you dont see fish rising, you can bet they are feeding heavy subsurface. During hatches, fish are moving into riffles to take advantage.  Nymphing has been the most productive and consistent. The streamer fishing has been good in the mornings and late afternoons. Dont be afraid to add some leech or worm patterns to your rig. 

Weather: 

Short Term-  Today we could see some rain later in the day. Right now it does not look to be all that impactful. Saturday will be cool (by Pueblo standards) with highs in the 50's. Starting on Sunday, we will return to some pretty warm temperatures in the area. Highs will be in the 70's and 80's all next week.

Long Term-  We could see some precipitation chances starting next weekend (4/26) as a weather system looks to make an impact statewide. Longer range forecasts are pointing at some pretty high chances of precipitation, which in this area will likely be in the form of rain. Temps wont vary too much from seasonal averages and even with this disturbance entering the area, will still be around the mid 70 degree mark. As always, we will have to wait and see how that pans out. The Arkansas river  basin peaked about 2 weeks ago and should be decreasing now. Still, the basin is anywhere from 93% to 115% of average.  While there is still some time to add to the snowpack at higher elevations in this basin, it does look like for the most part that will be tough.

*Seasonal snowpack update*

Most SNOTEL basins are reporting very positive results for snow/water equivalent. The basin is above average and should provide great water conditions heading into the summer. Most reservoirs are a bit higher than they were last year, particularly reservoirs out east in the Arkansas basin.

 

Tips: 

The river has not been as busy, but that can change on a day to day basis. Remember that the entire river fishes well.

PARKING NOTE- If you do fish in here, we recommend you don't leave anything in your car. Only take what you will have on your person. Thieves have been breaking into cars all over the place. 

This is an area we offer guided walk/wade and float trips, please give us a call if you are interested! 

RECOMMENDED PATTERNS 

For a custom fly assortment for this location, click here! 

Our top 6 nymphs for today- 

  • Stalcups baetis, olive, sizes 20-22
  • Blindside midge,  grey. purple, sizes 18-22.
  • Cranefly larva, size 10
  • Barrs emerger, BWO, sizes 20-22
  • SJ worm, red, brown.. size 16
  • Mini leach, brown-black, Sizes 14-18

Our top Dry flies for today- 

  • Matts midge, black-size 22
  • Mole Fly, all colors, sizes 18-22
  • Parachute adams, sizes 20-26

Our top Streamer patterns for today- 

  • Laser legal, Natural. Size 4
  • Double Gonga, yellow. Size 4
  • Meat whistle, brown. Size 8

 

Standard nymph rig set up. 

 

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR “WHERE TO GO” PAGE FOR DETAILED INFORMATION ON OTHER AREAS! 

The tailwater on the Arkansas River has blossomed into one of the best fisheries in the state, and it's a short distance from town. Fish populations are very healthy here and even hold some truly goliath trout. The technical angler will be perfectly at home here. If you go further into town, you will also find many other different species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, and even carp.

This area is oftentimes best fished in the shoulder seasons or winter due to high flows in the summer. But don't let bigger flows stop you! We are the only outfitter on the front range that offers both guided walk/wade and float trips here.

This is an area we specialize and are permitted to guide in, so give us a shout if you have any question or if you are interested in allowing one of our Orvis Endorsed Guides show you how best to conquer the Arkansas River – Pueblo.

Interested in Booking a Trip?

Directions - 50 miles - 50 Minutes

  1. From Anglers Covey: take I-25 south to Pueblo
  2. Get off on the highway 50 exit and go right
  3. Take highway 50 to Pueblo Blvd. and turn left
  4.  Turn right on Thatcher and take Thatcher to Valco Ponds.