A local fly-fishing shop owner found dead fish and disappointed anglers on the Arkansas River last week after flows from Pueblo Dam were cut back.
The problems have more to do with how fish were transferred and their adjustment to new conditions than lower flows, state wildlife officials say. In addition, a water lease with the Pueblo Board of Water Works will protect the habitat for fish in coming weeks, they say.
“The fishing is horrible,” said Ron Van Valkenburg, who opened Anglers Addiction, a fly fishing shop, with Ben Olson about four months ago. “People come here to fish and can’t catch anything. It makes the whole town look stupid.”
With a healthy snowpack, large flows coming in above the reservoir and reservoirs throughout the valley filling with water, Van Valkenburg can’t understand why only a trickle of water is being released from Pueblo Dam.
Winter fishing conditions on the Arkansas River through Pueblo were lauded in the March issue of Fly Fisherman magazine, which described it as the best new winter tailwater fishery, bringing at least 100 fishermen through his fly-fishing shop last weekend, Van Valkenburg said.
“We had people from Denver, Colorado Springs, Montrose and as far away as Texas,” he said. “We had about 30 people in after fishing a few hours who said no one caught a single fish.”Read the rest of the article...