Overall River Rating:


Arkansas River below Pueblo Reservoir

River Information

This tailwater section of the Arkansas River, located below Pueblo Reservoir, has quickly become a popular destination for anglers near and far. Over the past several years, the city of Pueblo has undergone major stream restoration efforts on this piece of water. The results of this work has created a truly fantastic fishery where fish over 20 inches are common. The upper 4 miles of this tailwater, which flows through the town of Pueblo, is the most popular stretch of this river and was even featured in the book "The 50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish" by Wendy and Terry Gunn. This river is home to a healthy population of rainbow and brown trout eager to take a well presented fly.

In true tailwater fashion, the fishing here can get quite technical at times so be prepared to fish long leaders, 6x or 7x tippet, and flies into the size 22-24 range. 

Match the Hatch

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Winter/Spring: Midges. Some sporadic Baetis activity can be seen as well.

Summer: Baetis, Caddis, Terrestrials, Tricos, Streamers

Fall: Midges, Caddis, Trico, Baetis, Streamers

Seasonal Conditions

One of the undeniable highlights of fishing this tailwater is the true 12-month season it provides. Pueblo, CO experiences wintertime temperatures that average higher than anywhere else in the state. It's not uncommon to leave Denver and experience a 20 degree increase in temperature by the time you reach the river. Wintertime also provides the most stable flows of any season for this river, providing a consistent (although at times crowded) refuge for any angler dealing with a case of cabin fever.

Spring, summer and fall can also be great times to fish here, however checking river flows is more advisable. River flows, especially from April through June, can get quite high making wading difficult. 

River Access

After making the short 2 hour drive to Pueblo, river access is quite abundant. Pueblo Reservoir is located just a few miles west of town. Anglers have the option of approaching the river from several locations. You can park near the reservoir dam and hike downriver, midriver- near the Raptor Center (on Nature Center Road), or downstream- just north of the intersection of N. Pueblo Blvd and Hwy 96 (Thatcher Rd.). Once at the river, parking is abundant and there is a bike path running the majority of the river. Picnic tables are also abundant along the river.