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)
July 23rd, 2016
The river is in incredible condition, and while flows are lower than average...fishing is excellent from stem to stern! Flows are currently in the 650-750 Range in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and 450cfs at Granite, presenting both excellent wading and floating options in every section. With the excellent clarity, lower than average flows and bright sunny weather can come a bit more technical fishing than we're used to this time of year, so our guides have been running longer leaders and a bit lighter tippet diameters with great success. Mornings and evenings (low light time periods) are lights out dry fly fishing time periods with more focus on dry/ droppers and nymphing as the day progresses.
Summer hatches are really underway in a big way at this point in time. We've got Golden Stones, Yellow Sallies, Olive & Tan Caddis, Hoppers, Flying Ants, Pale Morning Duns, Red Quills and Tricos from stem to stern and even some Slate Drakes starting up. Fish are definitely still in that post-runoff/ 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 are now in the prime Summer Flow window, with flows in the 650-700cfs range in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and 400cfs range at Granite. These are excellent wading or floating conditions. We expect flows to maintain in the 600-750cfs range in Bighorn and 350-500cfs range at Granite for the remainder of the month, barring any unexpected changes at our upstream tailrace tributaries.
Arkansas River Video Fly Fishing Report
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 are getting very close to great fishability on the tailwater, currently just over 800 cfs. Our guides typically see best productivity when the river drops below 600cfs in the Summer months, so most of our focus will be on the upper river until that time. However, you can definitely approach the tailwater with an attractor nymph rig, and you will witness some Caddis and PMD hatches that might have fish in softer water up feeding.
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, 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….