Major improvements get underway in Arkansas River below Pueblo Dam

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Here’s the release from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife:

Heavy equipment operators will be placing large rocks and boulders in the Arkansas River the next couple of months as part of a habitat improvement project below Pueblo Dam. Work is set to begin Feb. 11.

“There will be a temporary inconvenience to anglers in the first three miles below the dam during construction, but the long-term impact will improve fishing,” said Doug Krieger, a senior aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“Anglers may encounter front-end loaders and heavy equipment during the construction portion of the project, but the long-term implications are that there will be more structures that hold fish,” said Krieger.

The work is part of Phase II of a project that originally began in 2004. Since completion of Phase I in 2005, the Arkansas River through Pueblo has gained a reputation as a premier fishing location.

The Phase II portion of the project consists of improving fish habitat structures along approximately seven miles of the river from the dam to Dutch Clark Stadium. Sixty percent of the work will be modifications to existing structures that were installed in 2004 and 2005. The remaining 40 percent will be the installation of additional rock and log structures. Approximately 3,000 additional boulders will be added.

A hiking trail and bike path runs along the entire stretch of river through the city, making it accessible by foot. There are several access points where anglers can park right next to the river.

Because Pueblo Reservoir creates clear, cool water and stable outflows from November until the middle of March, anglers have an opportunity to enjoy stream fishing during times of the year when most streams are locked in winter conditions.

The project will significantly increase available fishable water through the city of Pueblo, thereby providing more angling opportunity, less crowding and greater angler satisfaction.

Partners in the project include the City of Pueblo, The Pueblo Conservancy District, The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Trout Unlimited, Xcel Energy, the Packard Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.

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