Local Reports

Pueblo Tailwater

Arkansas River Canon City to Salida




Conditions: Dec 9th

Current Flow: 96 cfs (with hatchery outflow)

Water Temp: 46F from the dam

Clarity: Good, 3 to 4 feet


December 9th:

The river is in great shape as we move into mid-December. Water clarity is up to 4 feet east of Pueblo Blvd and around 3 feet as you move closer to the dam. Water temps continue to gradually decline and are currently in the mid-40s. Fishing has been very good at times but you need to be doing a lot of things right to have consistent success. Hatches are becoming less predictable, so anglers who pay attention to which bugs are most active throughout the day will be rewarded.


December 2nd:

We are seeing a mix of midge and bwo hatches on most days and water temperatures are ranging from the mid-40s to upper 40s depending on weather and distance from the dam. There have been some very nice fish landed recently but overall the fishing has been technical. Finding the right size, color and silhouette is important during hatch periods.


I've fielded quite a few calls lately asking if water clarity has improved. Overall, clarity has been around 2 feet in the first couple miles below the dam and closer to 3 feet as you get further downstream. I think the combination of warm weather and a reservoir that is nearly full are causing Lake Turnover to last longer than normal. With that said, anytime you have water clarity that's a foot or better the fish can feed effectively on even the smallest of food items. Surface feeding will often increase as water clarity improves but I think nymphing is actually better when there is some stain. Fish aren't as spooky and you can generally fish up a size or two on tippet.


Cat and Connell will return on Tuesday and our guide availability will be much better at that time. If you'd like to book a trip please stop by the shop or give us a call at (719) 543-3900. Tight lines!




November 20th:

The tailwater has really turned on over the past few days. Flows have been running steady at 90 cfs since the start of winter water storage on the 15th and water clarity is steadily improving. The temporary cofferdam for the hydro power project is now complete, including installation of a perimeter liner. Unlike last year’s pipe replacement project, any water that does seep into the work area will first be pumped to a settling pond before flowing back into to the river.


Water temperatures are just starting to dip below 50F and the BWO hatches have definitely intensified. The surface feeding has improved with the lower flows and clearing water and should only get better over the coming weeks. If you get to the water early, you'll probably notice plenty of midge coming off and fish may be keyed in on them. However, by late morning, the BWO nymphs start to drift prior to emergence and by noon we've been seeing a steady flow of duns on top. Fish can often be found in fast riffle water feeding on nymphs and emergers throughout the hatch, while other fish will hold up in tail outs, eddies and slicks where they can sip duns of the top. Be observant and try fishing different water types until you find a winning fly/location/presentation combination.


The river is sure to be busy this holiday week so please be patient and considerate of your fellow anglers. Keep in mind that there are quality trout all the way down to the confluence of Fountain Creek. The number of fish per mile tends to decline the further downstream you go but so does the number of anglers. Parking access can be found at City Park (by the skate park), around Dutch Clark Stadium, immediately downstream of 4th St Bridge at Pillars Park, on the east side of Main Street just south of the bridge, and at Runyon SWA.


If you want to make the most of your time on the tailwater, as well as learn some of the lesser known spots to fish, we have a few remaining openings in our guide schedule this week. Thanks for checking in and we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!



November 15th:

The Winter Water Storage Program took effect on Lake Pueblo at 12am this morning. Flows were tapered down from 350 cfs to around 90 cfs over a three hour period and we expect flows to remain at this level for the foreseeable future.


If you've already been fishing the tailwater this fall, you know that water clarity has been quite poor due to Lake Turnover. There is also a construction project in progress for the installation of a small hydro-power station on the north side of the river, immediately downstream from the dam. At times, the construction activity has contributed to poor water clarity; however, those impacts have been infrequent and generally short lived. I attended a construction meeting this morning and the contractor expects to have the perimeter of the cofferdam lined by Thanksgiving. Once that is complete, the project should not significantly impact water clarity until it's time to remove the cofferdam in early spring. After the meeting I was able to get a good look at the river ABOVE the construction area and I have to say that Lake Turnover is still the main factor limiting water clarity.


For many folks, the combination of low, stable flows and consistent BWO hatches marks the start of the "winter" fishing season on the tailwater. Be prepared to fish through the hatch with a good assortment of patterns to imitate each stage. While BWO's are the main event right now, midge can also be prevalent and of greater importance on any given day. Most hatches will occur between 10am and 3pm this time of year. If you're fishing outside the peak "hatch window" you can often do well fishing streamers or nymphing with larger attractor patterns.


Unlike the mountain fisheries, the next five months is our peak season here on the tailwater. If you are interested in booking a trip, especially now through the holidays, we recommend you plan ahead to ensure availability. A $100, refundable deposit is all that's needed to reserve a date. Stop by the shop or give up a call at 719-543-3900 and we'll get you on the calendar. The Drift guide staff is comprised entirely of local experts who fish the tailwater every chance they get and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of this wonderful fishery. Thanks for reading and as always... "Tight lines!" from all of us at The Drift Fly Shop.



Current Flow for the Arkansas River Tailwater in Pueblo

Arkansas River Tailwater Flows

Arkansas River - Salida up to Headwaters

Please click the following link for current conditions on the upper Arkansas River: Ark Anglers

Current Flow for the Arkansas River near Wellsville

Arkansas River Near Wellsville Flows

Flow Charts are courtesy of the Colorado Division of Water Resources http://www.dwr.state.co.us