November 1st, 2018
Flow: 130 cfs from the dam (Arkansas River Above Pueblo Gauge)
Water Temp: 54F from the dam, ranging from 50 – 56F downstream
Clarity: 12″ to 24″, Variable due to lake turnover
Hatches: BWO’s and Midge, with light Trico and Caddis on warmer days
Flows are back up in the normal range and overall conditions very good. Water temperatures are ranging from the upper 40’s to mid 50’s and BWO hatches are really starting to intensify. The next 6 – 8 weeks generally offer up some of the best fishing of the year. Keep in mind that the fish will still feed selectively and GOOD fishing doesn’t necessarily mean EASY fishing. Being observant and figuring out where fish are feeding and what they are feeding on is always paramount to having a good day on the water.
If you are looking for a guide to help you explore this unique, urban fishery, The Drift has the most experienced and knowledgeable fly fishing guides on the Pueblo Tailwater. We are always happy to answer your questions and assist in arranging a trip that is sure to exceed your expectations. Thanks for checking in and as always “Tight Lines!”
The tailwater has been offering up some excellent fishing of late. Water temperatures are in the ideal range and fish continue to feed opportunistically between hatches of midge and BWO’s. The browns are still in pre-spawn mode and are starting to push into shallow water lies. What they lack in number they make up for in size and beauty and if you are lucky enough to hook AND land one of them you will be a changed person! The will eat the usual small stuff as well as true bloods, wooly buggers and egg patterns. If you want a decent chance of landing a big brown we recommend sticking to 5x tippet and stronger. The browns (and rainbows) have put on some extra weight this summer and now that the water temperatures are back down in the 50’s they are prime condition.
The BWO hatches becoming stronger in the afternoon and with the low flows we should start seeing good surface feeding, especially further downstream from the dam where the water clarity is better. So far they’ve mostly been in the sz 20 – 22 range and the hatch has started between 1 and 2pm. Midge can be found hatching at any time of day and are mostly sz 20 and smaller. If you are fishing in the state park and the water clarity is limited you should stick to dark patterns with a touch of flash.
The extended weather forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies with highs in the upper 60’s and low 70’s. Perfect fall weather to get out and do some fishing! The current weather pattern is also keeping water temperatures in the mid 50’s which is the ideal range for trout.
With that said, the fishing has not exactly been easy. The hatches have been varied and not particularly consistent. This is to be expected as we transition out of the summer mode and into fall mode. There are still tricos, caddis and aquatic moths coming off in decent numbers and the BWO’s are just getting started. With this shift in bugs we are also seeing a shift in the timing of hatches, with peak bug activity starting in the late morning and going into late afternoon. As water temps continue to drop, blue-winged olive mayfly hatches will become more consistent, intense, and longer in duration. We usually see strong, consistent BWO hatches by late October and extending well into December. One benefit to having a mix of bugs present, but no single mega hatch, is that fish will spend more time feeding opportunistically throughout the day, rather than binge feeding for a short period of time. This is a good time of year to play around with some larger flies like various “rubber legs” patterns, annelids, leeches and egg patterns, combined with a small mayfly or midge pattern in sizes 18 – 22.
Along with the cooler water temperatures, lake turnover also brings with it a temporary reduction in water clarity as fine sediment gets stirred up in the reservoir as the water column mixes. This drop in visibility certainly limits sight fishing opportunities and to a lessor extent, surface feeding, but it also has some benefits. The stained water allows for the use of stronger tippet and also gives fish a sense of protection, making them less likely to spook. Keep in mind that lake turnover is a dynamic process that is weather driven and does not have a clearly defined start and end. Water clarity will often vary throughout the day and generally improves the further downstream you go.
ARKANSAS RIVER – CANON CITY TO BUENA VISTA
Flow: 200 cfs at Wellsville
Water Temp: Buena Vista to Wellsville 38-48F, downstream of Wellsville 40-50F
Clarity: Good above Wellsville
Hatches: Blue Winged Olives (BWOs) and Midge
BWO’s are hatching consistently throughout Bighorn Sheep Canyon but the recent cold spell dropped water temperatures drastically and put the fish in a bit of a funk. Slightly warmer, and consistently sunny weather is forecast the week ahead and should have a stabilizing effect on on water temps. Nymphing has been the most effective and egg patterns are becoming increasingly effective in addition to tiny BWO and midge imitations.
Current Flow for the Arkansas River Tailwater in Pueblo
Current Flow for the Arkansas River near Wellsville
Flow Charts are courtesy of the Colorado Division of Water Resources http://www.dwr.state.co.us/