Fall on the Arkansas Tailwater below Pueblo Reservoir can provide some of the best fishing around the state. This fishery generally begins to turn on later in the year for a few reasons. 1) Its location in Pueblo is unique compared to the majority of other tailwaters around the state because of the weather patterns. While temperatures around the state plunge, Pueblo has a very mild climate generally 10-20 degrees warmer on the daily average compared to Denver. 2) Another big factor here are the flows. Average summer flows here make it a very difficult to wade. As Fall and Winter approach the flows will drop giving anglers great access to the river.
There is an abundance of species in this tailwater from Bass to Rainbow Trout, however the upper few miles below the dam are where most people focus their efforts targeting trout. This stretch of river is home to some of the most vibrant Rainbow Trout in the state thanks to the never-ending food supply created by the dam. Fish size here ranges from small to very large with Rainbows pushing the two-foot mark never out of the question. Along with the Rainbows, there is a very healthy Brown trout population. The Browns are fairly elusive here given the abundance of structure these fish have to hold in, however streamers and nymphs are a great way to move these fish. Annual reports of very large Brown Trout are not uncommon.
Bug life here is superabundant with everything from Caddis to various Mayflies to Midges being present in good numbers. Given Pueblo’s mild climate there are great Baetis and Midge hatches almost daily from October-March. Fish will eagerly feed on the surface during these hatches, keying in on both emergers and adults. This is easily one of the best rivers for anglers to catch fish on fall/winter dry flies. Lastly, there are also a ton of streamer options here throughout the fall/winter. Focus on deep runs and structure with dead drifts or quick strips. Keep experimenting until you get results. You may be surprised at what winds up on the other end of the line.
Fly Recommendations- Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, Adams, Purple Haze, Film Critic, Griffiths Gnat, Scuds, Sowbugs, Sprout Baetis, Sprout Midge, Bucksins, Barr’s BWO emerger, Juju Baetis, Rojo Midges, Brassies, Red/Black Copper John’s, Mercury Black Beauty, Zebra Midge, Jujubee Midges, Bling midges, RS2s, Pheasant Tails, Wooly Buggers, Sculpzillas, Pine Squirrel Leeches, Sparkle Minnows, Slumpbusters.