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)
August 23rd, 2016
**Clarity: Clear (Off-Color Cell moving through Lower Bighorn Canyon)
Conditions are great above Coaldale this morning. There was a major rain event on the middle basin on Tuesday night, and evidence of slight flash flooding from Castle Gardens, Cottonwood, and Badger Creek are evident. The forecast for the week features daytime highs in the high 70's along with slight chances for showers in the evenings. The past few weeks we have seen heavier monsoon conditions in the evenings, and it seems we may be moving out of that pattern soon into more Fall conditions. Expect great conditions, lots of bugs, and happy fish!
The flow augmentation portion of the voluntary flow management program has ended, and we have seen a 250cfs decrease from our contributing tailraces. The river has stabilized at just under 400cfs at Wellsville, and just over 200cfs at Granite. Flows don't get any easier for wading, however fish get a bit more technical out of the boat. All in all, fishing has been lights out during the flow step-down, and with cooling weather in the long term forecast, that excellent fishing will continue!
Early Fall hatches are really underway in a big way at this point in time. We've got residual Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, Olive & Tan Caddis, Hoppers, and Flying Ants; along with daily hatches of Pale Morning Duns, Red Quills and Tricos from stem to stern. Fish are definitely still in that opportunistic feeding mode, so our guides are still taking advantage of great Dry/ Dropper and Dry/ Copper/ Dropper activity along with great streamer productivity. It's Summer Primetime on the Arkansas...plan a day soon!
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We have now moved out the Voluntary Flow Management Program time period, and will see contributing releases step-down out of our contributing upstream tailraces. Native flows should stabilize the river in the 200-300cfs window and the Upper Basin and 400-500cfs window in Bighorn Sheep Canyon once the releases have been stepped down. These are excellent wading conditions, and very floatable, but fish will become much more technical out of the boat.
Arkansas River Video Fly Fishing Report (Updated August 17th)
Fish are still very opportunistic feeders during Summer Primetime. While it is early in the hatch, we are seeing a few large Golden Stones up and down the river corridor. In addition, there are a ton of Yellow Sallies, Hoppers, Fly Ants, Tricos, Caddis, Red Quills and PMDs. Our guides focus on Medium size Dry/ Dropper Rigs and Streamers...while carrying a variety of hatch matching patterns. Rigging a large foam Hopper or Stonefly Dry with a Yellow Sally nymph, Caddis Larva or PMD nymph dropper will be your best route for overall success. Working the afore mentioned dry/ dropper rig up a shoreline, and then throwing a streamer on to work back is a method that will be very productive for you. It is always crucial to have Caddis, PMDs, Red Quills, Yellow Sallys and Golden Stone hatch matching dries in your box in case you find a pocket of rising fish feeding on a specific hatch. For the most part, cherry picking good shorelines with plenty of slack water/ pocket water and working them with the big dry/ dropper rig and streamers will be your best method.
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The Arkansas Tailwater below Pueblo Reservior
Flows have been stepped up again, and clarity is tough! If flows can drop and hold in the 500-600cfs range, we will see fish stabilize in feeding lies and this section will become very, very productive again. Expect strong caddis activity throughout the water column, along with PMDs, BWOs and Midges.
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, Caddis, 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, Caddis Larva or PMD Nymph. When fish key to a hatch, anglers will need to focus on very long leaders and small tippet, especially on the bigger fish. Of course emergers in the subsurface film will also be productive. With lower flows, hatches may become quite productive again….