Flowing out of Pueblo Reservoir, the Arkansas Tailwater meanders through vast cottonwood groves in the Lake Pueblo State Park and through the City of Pueblo. The upper 4 miles of this tailwater was featured in the top 50 tailwaters in North America and is featured in the book, "50 Best Tailwaters to Fly Fish," by Wendy and Terry Gunn. Our very own Taylor Edrington wrote the chapter on the Arkansas Tailwater, during which he describes the vast bio diversity, strong structural habitat, and high fish populations that make this tailwater one of North America's Premier Tailwater fisheries. Our Arkansas River Guided Fly Fishing can show you the ropes, if you truly want to learn how to be productive on the Arkansas.
Please enjoy our in depth reports on the Arkansas Freestone and Tailwater, and we look forward to seeing you in the flyshop! Toll Free (888) 994-6743
The Arkansas River (Freestone)
February 8th, 2016
I get to post this once....GO BRONCOS! For all of the fans in Bronco's Country...CONGRATS SuperBowl 50 Champs!
Now, for the real important stuff..the fishing. All of us here at the flyshop are putting money on Stonefly Molt activity this week with the crazy warm weather headed our way. Monday and Tuesday show highs in the mid 50's, but Wednesday through the end of the week is expecting highs in the mid to upper 60's! Remember, we always see Stonefly Molt activity in Canon City and lower Bighorn Canyon by the 3rd week of February, and it could most definitely come early with this out of the ordinary weather. Expect ice flow to be zero in Canon City, and minimal by the middle of the week in the Canyon.
We are now moving into the early portion of the Stonefly Molt time period. Warmer weather in February triggers a large portion of the Arkansas River's Stonefly population to begin what is termed a "New Star Phase" of their lifecycle. This phase features the stonefly changing the composition and color of it's exoskeleton, and the entire Stonefly population becomes much more active throughout the water column. This activity also triggers heavy feeding within the trout population, and what we term a "coming out of winter" party.
The Midge Lifecycle will also be a focal point in February on the Freestone River. There are also a ton of Caddis Larva in the substrate, so expect fish to key on them heavily. Our guides will cover on a variety of methods, but will focus on Triple Nymph rigs, and Euro Nymphing, based on water temperature and other variables for best success.
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Flows are now stabilized around 550 CFS with the first flow increase for the winter flow program. This is a typical winter flow, and will be helpful for maintaining a bit higher water temps (36-42 degrees) during the cold winter months while also making room for snow melt in June.
Arkansas River Video Fly Fishing Report
Triple Nymph rigs are the name of the game right now on the Ark. It definitely behooves you to have a good selection of hatch matching dries the Midge Hatch activity that can be found in Bighorn Canyon right now. Anglers will be successful covering the lifecycle of the Midge along with Stonefly nymphs and Cranefly Larva, as well as Caddis Larva...and have the ability to change depth regularly.
With the Brown Trout population is now post-spawn and the majority of fish will be found in middle to low turbulent water. Look for deep tailouts to hold the majority of the trout population throughout the Winter months.
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The Arkansas Tailwater below Pueblo Reservior
Things have been mediocre at best on the Tailwater. Pressure is a major piece of the pie, as angler numbers have been very high and fish are stressed. In addition, flows in the 50-75 cfs range are not exactly ideal for heavy activity. However, our guides have been hooking some very nice fish with clients, so that is a plus! Regardless, you're aren't going to find a much better option considering the beautiful weather in pueblo throughout February!
Royal Gorge Anglers happens to hold the oldest permit on the Arkansas Tailwater, and our very experienced tailwater guides grew up fishing this section. Ready to learn this section the right way? Give us a call Toll Free (888) 994-6743, to book your tailwater guide today! Prebook for fantastic Winter Fishing Online Now
The tailwater is a technical nymphing fishery for the most part. However, BWO and Midge activity will have fish up for several hours a day. Our emphasis is placed on czech nymphing and high stick nymphing, using many methods similar to the Upper Arkansas, however, with different bugs. Focus on a heavy attractor nymph, i.e. San Juan Worm, Pig Sticker, Crane Fly Larva, etc. And, depending on your rigging (Std, or Czech), drop or lead with a bright (orange/ red/ chartreuse) Midge Larva, or dark BWO Nymph (Purple, Black, Dk. Brown). When fish key to a hatch, anglers will need to focus on very long leaders and small tippet, especially on the bigger fish. 12 ft- 7x leader rigs with size 20-26 BWO Adults, and size 20-26 Midge Adults will be the ticket. Of course emergers in the subsurface film will also be productive. With lower flows, hatches may become quite productive again….