Fishin' Pics

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Early Fall Fishing Update

As the season winds down, less people will be out on the water, allowing you more freedom to fish wherever you like.  We still have availability for guide trips so please let us know if you are interested.  

Currently we are having our best luck fishing small beatis patterns, both dries and emergers.  Most of our trips recently have focused below Platoro, as the fish are stacking up in the deeper slots and holes due to the low flows.  Now more than ever, delicate, precise casts are a MUST, as well as a drag-free drift.  Using annelids and midge larva as droppers has also been effective.  Here are some pics of recent guide trips:

The shop is now open from 8:00am-4:30pm, Monday-Saturday and 8:00am-2:00pm on Sundays.  See you soon!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A day in the life of a guide....well maybe on the Front Range...

Hope you enjoy.  Thankfully I don't think Jon, Troy, Randy, Jasmine, Josh, Paul, Isaac or myself guide this way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall is Here?!? Conejos Report 9/12/12

I can honestly say that this morning was the first morning convincing me that fall is starting to make it's appearance.  Yes leaves have been changing colors further upstream, but for some reason waking up  after hours of a drizzle last night, to fully overcast skies and temps around 50, I believe it is here.  Around here all of us have been waiting to say the word 'fall' as if it would curse us just like if you whisper the four-letter 'W' word (wind) on a peaceful day.  Thankfully, looking ahead to the next 10 day weather forecast, it will be welcomed by the fish and fisherman alike.  Highs merely reaching 70, but more like mid-60's will be perfect for fishing throughout the river in the weeks to come.  Nighttime lows are now dipping into the 30's and 40's around the lower river and dipping below freezing up high.  Here is Thursdays's forecast for Platoro from NOAA (note the first mention of snow):

  • A chance of rain and snow showers before 8am, then a chance of rain showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. East northeast wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
  • Thursday NightA chance of rain showers, mixing with snow after 9pm, then gradually ending. Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. East northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Flows are definitely lower, creating both advantages and disadvantages for anglers.  Some benefits are that you have a good idea where the fish will be sitting/holding throughout the river, as well as have the opportunity to make mental notes about the structure of the river for when you return during higher flows.  Some disadvantages include the fish becoming more aware of their surroundings, thus more spooky.  This time of year, anglers cannot afford to make sloppy casts, line fish or have their flies dragging.  Thankfully, most of the pocket water is easily accessible right now, and you can slowly work your way up the main river high-sticking with little to no line on the water.  Sight fishing is at its best right now too, which always makes the blood pressure increase as well.

Tributaries are still fishable, but they are losing some of the volume as well.  The same rules apply to perfect casts and/or finer and longer leaders if necessary.

Jon and Troy have both been out fishing for Pike and Carp with some success lately.  If you are into trying something new, definitely give it a shot just East of Antonito.  Stop in and we will get you set up for some hook-ups.

Overall bugs are much smaller so make sure you stop in to match your selection with the section of river you will be fishing.  In general, BWO's, beatis and midges make up the majority of the action.  Fishing small dries, #18-22 and emergers/nymphs will pay off.  You can still get them to come up to larger dries in the afternoons so having hoppers and stimmys is a must.

We hope to see you soon, enjoy the pics!


Bent Rod!

Piggy Carp

Kiss him Pat!
Trib Fishing

Dante already looking ahead to the next hookup

Fall Colors

Loving it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Funny video from the guys in Boulder

Thanks to the guys at Rocky Mountain Anglers!  Funny Video.

Conejos Update - 8/30/12

The nights are definitely getting a bit chilly, and the fish are responding well!  We have been thankful of the cooler temps lately, and fishing throughout the river has been great.  The temps are still heating up in the daytime, so focus on the lower river in the morning and plan to move up a little bit to find some cooler water in the afternoon.  Not only have we been fishing the main river, but we are taking advantage of lower water on the tribs as well as venturing out to check out some high alpine lakes.

We have been seeing plenty of BWO's and beatis on the river, so throwing small patterns such as Parawulff Dennis Adams and BWO's, Adams Superfly and hanging RS2s, Barrs emergers, or Juju Baetis underneath has been a good approach.  Having an assortment of small midge larvas will pay dividends too.  Flashbangs, zebras and double digits do the trick.  Some days the fish are even tuned into larger stonefly nymphs so don't put away those pat's and Jimmy legs just yet.

Throughout the river, attractor dries and terrestrials have been very effective in the late morning/afternoons.  Hoppers, beetles, ants, stimmys, PMX's are staples.

The tributaries are getting to be a little skinny, so get out there if you have the itch.  Attractor dries still turn fish consistently as well as small terrestrials.  Hunting season has started as well, so before we know it those leaves will be turning yellow, some snow will arrive and we will be remembering the glory days that were summer.

Here are some pictures justifying why you need to get out there!

Tributary fishing at its best!

Me with a MONSTER cutty!  Location:  Mountains in Southern CO

Nice brown on a dry in the meadows

Jasmine's guys after a double up

Another nice meadow brown!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Conejos Update: 7/31/12

Summer is here in full force and so is the realization that August is upon us.  Guide trips have been busy lately and the fishing has been good, so long as you target the right stretch of water.

With the lower flows and higher air temps, the water temperature has been rising quite a bit throughout the day.  As you are all aware, trout are cold water fish, so these rising temps play into your tactics quite a bit.  A good rule of thumb is to carry a pocket thermometer with with to check the temp while you are fishing.  Trout will typically eat as the temp gets closer to 68, and will occasionally eat when it is higher.  The problem that results is that with the higher temperatures, there is a lower dissolved oxygen concentrations which lead to very stressed trout.  Do everyone a favor and hang up to rod and move up river when the temperatures reach the 69-70 degree mark.  Not only will the fish will be much more active in lower temperatures, but you should increase the number of hookups as well.  If not, you may be releasing some floating fish.

That said, early the is the name of the game recently.  Plan your days so you can be on the water earlier rather than later, and you can get off the water during the heat of the late afternoon.  Also, think about the colors you are wearing before you head out.  You may have been able to get away with the red hat or orange fishing shirt while the water was higher, but those fish are boogieing as soon as they see something unnatural now.

On the lower river small mayflies, terrestrials and attractors have been the ticket for dries.  For nymphs use small stone imitations such as a Salvation #16, or Pat's Rubber Legs in lighter colors.  Mayfly nymphs such as a Iron Lotus and Oops have both been productive as well.  If you find the fish still refusing your offerings, throw some smaller emergers such as Barr's Emergers, and Flashbang Midges.

Below the Meadows:  This pocket water has been fishing fairly well recently.  We have been using a dry/dropper set up almost exclusively with the excepting of nymphing deep in the plunge pools.  There are many smaller adult mayflies that are hatching throughout the morning.  PMD and BWO patterns #16-20 are effective.  Yellow Sallies are also fluttering around and coaxing some fish to the surface.  For the nymphs, bring s wide selection of both attractors as well as natural imitations as the fish seem to change their minds often on which they prefer.

Meadows:  Fish early and break out the 6X.  These fish have earned some college credits this season and are onto the 5X game.  Precise, delicate casts and slow movement through the water will keep these spooky fish from fleeing.  Small mayflies and some small hoppers are taking fish on top.  Underneath try using some Zebra Midges, Flashbang Midges, Tailwater Tiny's, and other small midge larva.

Hope that helps, let me know here in the shop if you have other insights.  As always, I love getting reports from you all so stop in the shop after the trip and let me know how it went.   -Joe

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fishing 101: Info EVERY fisherman should know

Alright, it is that time to remind everyone of the unwritten rules you choose to abide while you are enjoying your day on the water.....Fishing Etiquette.  As more and more anglers get out there this summer, it is important for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to sharing the water.  Here are some thoughts to keep in mind from all of our guides who spend everyday out there:

  1. Be courteous!  Follow the golden (fishing) rule.  Treat other anglers the way you would like to be treated.  This means do not fish directly above others, intrude too closely to those who are already fishing, or be rude.  
  2. If you see a vehicle parked at a spot you were planning on fishing, move on to plan B (or C or D).  Our guides always have backup plans and you should as well.  Get out and explore a new stretch.  We have plenty of water here to share.  
  3. If you encounter another party on the water, go talk to them.  A brief conversation about sharing/splitting the water helps you maintain peace of mind and they go smoother than you think.  
  4. Do not turn any situation on the water into a confrontation.  Keep cool and simply explain that no one wants people fishing ahead of them. 

It is as simple as that, so remain courteous and you will be blessed with some good fishing karma.  If not, you will most likely get a flat tire in a rain storm after being skunked.  Tight lines!

This gentleman was really rude to others and jumped ahead of people on the river all day.


Fishing Report July 13th, 2012

So, here is the info you all have been calling about... The updated fishing report!  Jon and I have been busy both here in the shop as well as out on the river so we apologize for the delay.

Fishing is holding strong and we are still throwing big dries on our guide trips...well most of them.  As the hatches have moved upstream, so has our attention, but we are still having great luck on the middle and lower river with smaller dries and droppers.  There are still plenty of stonefly nymphs clinging to the rocks, so using them under a larger dry or in a double nymph rig has been paying off.

Also, with the almost daily rains, be sure to have an assortment of tungsten g-strings, two-toned san juans and our hot-spot SJ for when the water turns a little off color, regardless of the section you are fishing!

Lower River:
The action on the lower river has been good, but make sure you are getting an early start.  The warm days will also warm the water by mid-afternoon, forcing those fish to the bottom or into the middle of the fast water.  You can still catch them in the heat of the day, and nymphing for them is the most productive.  We have been getting some much needed moisture throughout the watershed almost each night which is also creating a nice little cool front in the late afternoons and evenings.  Even though the wind may be howling as a front rolls in, the fishing picks up dramatically as the cloud cover increases.  Swinging your favorite streamers during this time has coaxed some nice fish to eat as well.

  • Parachute Madam X - Peacock Body
  • Various Crystal Stimmy's
  • Black Hippy Stompers
  • Hoppers
  • PMDs - Extended body PMD and Crack Back PMD for a dropper
  • Golden Stone nymphs - Tungstone Golden and Tan/Brown Jimmy Legs
  • Salvations #12-16 in green and golden brown
  • Streamers - Slumpbusters, Sculpzillas (#4-8) and Boufaces (#8) in olive and black and Flashfry in olive #6
  • Marc with a nice football bow on the lower river
Another nice bow on the lower river
Middle River:
The middle of the river has been fishing well lately, as the water has dropped creating the obvious holding spots for the fish to ambush your dries (and droppers).  Always make sure you are fishing a dry dropper set up in the pocket water and riffles as plenty of fish will be taken on the dropper.    Work the water from the areas closest to you, out into the current as you pick your way up the river.  Make sure you cast to virtually all sections of water until you dial in where they are hanging out.  Do this before you take any steps up the river!  I have been reminding clients on recent trips to cover ALL water before we move and it pays off!  You will be surprised by the locations of some of the fish.  
  • Yeagers Tantrum #12 in both golden and tan
  • Parachute Madam X #8 with orange body
  • Parawulff Dennis Adams and Royal Wullfs to cover your general mayflies you will encounter
  • PMD's and Mahagony dries
  • Depth Charge Bird's Nest #12-14 in the olive and natural colors
  • Faux-Hawks #16
  • Little Green Machine PT #16 
  • Golden Stone nymphs
Hugh putting on a dry-dropper clinic on the middle river
Upper River:
The upper river has been experiencing some mood swings as of late going from virtually shooting fish in a barrel, to fishing like you were trying to buy a keg in Utah....tough.  Every day is a new one, and yesterdays epic fishing may be today's challenging but rewarding day to the most patient anglers.  As a general rule up there right now, have a 9' 5X leader and be willing to add sections of 6X to it to settle the nerves of the spooky trout.  You may have luck with large green and grey drakes, or you may result to flies that have you feeling like you are fishing the San Juan.  Regardless, the fishing has been great if you work at it enough to crack that day's code.  Better yet, hire a guide for a day and beat that learning curve.  Here are some flies to be stocked on:
  • Green and Grey Drakes - Adams Superfly #12-18, Green Paradrake #10, Killer Green Bug #10
  • Kern Emergers #12-14
  • Yellow Sallies - Mini Hot Yellow and Clown Shoe Sally #16
  • Baetis dries and droppers #18-22
  • Midge dries and droppers #20-24 in black, cream, red and brown
Great fishing when you put on the hiking boots!  The recent rains have helped out and are keeping the high country fish very happy.  Pack in your 7'6"-8' three weights and have at it.  Using 5X will increase your hook ups as the water drops a little.  
  • Yeagers Tantrum #12 in both golden and tan
  • Yeagers Neversink Trude Red #16
  • Various Beetles
  • Various small-medium hoppers
  • Droppers - Green hornet, yellow robbin, micromay electric yellow all #14-18
  • Stimulators on a trib!

Young Dante taking a rest during a taxing day in the shop - tough life getting love from EVERYONE coming through

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fishing is ON FIRE, Our Area IS NOT!!!

I have been fielding plenty of phone calls the last few days while the rest of the state seems to be up in flames.  We are very thankful that we are still fishing during this amazing hatch year seeing great numbers of many stoneflies, green and grey drakes, caddis and even spotting some PMDs and Yellow Sallies.  If you are in the right spot, a nice juicy grasshopper has paid off too.

If any of your plans have fallen through in other parts of the state or other western states, give us a ring and check out our guide and cabin availability.  Cabins are booking like hot cakes, but there are still some available spots for July.  Guide trips are quickly getting filled as well, so please call us sooner rather than later if you are considering a trip with one of our knowledgeable guides.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

THE Conejos Fishin' Update - 6/23/12

First, some recent pics since last time:
Kass with a nice brownie in the canyon

Another nice bow to the net

Count it

Nice colors!

My new fishin' partner, Dante

Kass working some pocket water

Lauren saying thanks to the fish

Her first fish on a dry!!!

One of about 7 from one hole....CRUSHING grey drakes

Nymphing the confluence

Eat it, eat it...
Ok, Ok, I know it has been too long since the last post and I apologize.  Things have really heated up here both on the river and the actual temperature itself.  Flows are now down to 150cfs or below from Platoro and around 200 for the lower river, meaning the fish have no choice but to look up for food and our flies floating by.  Fishing has been incredible lately from top to bottom, and many clients and customers alike are coming in and rushing out in order to get back on the water.  If you like casting large grey drakes, golden stones and caddis at rising fish, it is the time and place to get here.  Make sure you stop in and get the latest before you head out for the day and to make sure you are dialed in for the exact section of river you will be fishing.  As a quick, general overview, here goes:

Lower River: Grey Drakes!  They are hatching in great numbers in the morning and you should not miss this. Make sure you have plenty of patterns as they are sometimes picky, and carry an extra bottle of dry shake.  You can thank me later.  Once the drake action slows down, nymping with mayfly, caddis and stonefly patterns has been most effective.  Into the evening, look for great hatches of caddis while throwing an adult pattern with an emerger or pupa.  Crystal Rubberleg Stimmys, Parachute Madam X's in various colors and sizes and Grillo's Hippie Stompers have been great flies to use while probing for fish interested in looking up.

Middle River:  Golden Stones!  They seem to still be the ticket so Yeagers Tantrum, Yellow Stimmy's, Flushfloater goldens and cdc goldens are all catching fish.  Hang a dropper like an iron lotus, salvation, or small pat's and you will be rewarded.  

Upper River:  Early and late for the most consistent dry fly action.  Smaller parachute adams like the Dennis Parawulf Adams and BWO, small caddis and some stones, especially on the lower end will be the dries.  For the nymphs, count on using small mayflies and emergers as well as midge larva such as the ole trusty flashbang.

Hope this helps, go out and catch (and release) some fish!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Update - June 14th 2012

As of late, the fishing has picked up throughout the entire Conejos river.  Fishing in the meadow, the middle-river pocket water, and the lower river has all been incredibly productive over the last week.  Guide trips have focused primarilly on the lower river with the salmonflies and the goldens still fluttering around, but some trips have taken off up higher with good results.

Throughout the lower river, fishing has been most productive on the surface throughout the morning and into the early afternoon.  They are keyed in on the big stones, and will take droppers throughout that time as well.   Some sporadic hatches of PMDs have been seen, as well as yellow sallies and the caddis are beginning to come off in heavy numbers in the late afternoon.  So far the fish are taking the cautious route with eating the adults, but more and more reports are coming in with epic afternoon/evening outings casting adult caddis.  The most productive sizes have been #14 through #18's in Mini Hot in tan, Goddard and Egg Layer caddis.  Using caddis emergers and pupa has been working really well, particularly the Hot Butt Emerger and beadhead caddis pupa.

Heading upstream, the fishing has been great, but more productive using nymphs.  Look for surface action to increase daily as the flows drop and the temps increase.  Our guides are out in various spots throughout the river each day, so make sure to stop in and get the most recent advice and tips as well as pick up some of the necessary bugs.

Here are some recent pics:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Can It Get Any Better?

The big bugs are out and the fish know it!  Christmas has arrived here on the Conejos, as Golden Stoneflies and Salmonflies are crawling out from the depths onto the rocky shores to hatch at night and the flows remain at amazing levels.  They are sticking around close to the shore mostly until early afternoon on most days, and the fishing has been incredible from early morning into the afternoons.  For all of you dry fly enthusiasts (I mean who isn't a fan of throwing massive dries), the time has come and will be here for some time as the emergence makes it way up the river.

Currently the bugs have been emerging on the lower river, making their way up toward the Bear Creek and Sheep creek developments, and will only move upstream as these warm, sunny days continue.  It seems with all of the activity, we have been finding fish in virtually all places of the river, from the typical holding spots, to dead-middle of the fast runs.  On recent guide trips, Jon, Troy, Randy and myself have been focusing on the lower river in order to find more fish that have already figured out that the big bugs floating by are food.  Using Salmonfly patterns such as the Designated Hitter, M's Fluttering, FlushFloater and the CDC Salmonfly have all been great for the different circumstances.  Some of the patterns tend to "splay out" a bit when wet which really turns the fish on when the naturals are fluttering on the surface.  Other patterns tend to have a slimmer profile which really work well when the adults seem to land on the water and not flutter as much.  Stop in to make sure you grab a few of each so you are prepared for a great day on the water.

For the Golden Stones, using patterns such as Yeagers Tantrum, Karnopps Freestone, Designated Hitter, the Flush Floater and large yellow Crystal Stimulators have all been helping fish find our nets.

In addition to the large stone flies, the caddis have also made their arrival in full force.  So far the fish are not keying in on them wholeheartedly, but once the stones move upstream expect to find many eager rising fish for adult caddis.  We picked out some great new adult caddis patterns to take advantage of the low water year so make sure you check those out as well.

Nymphing large stonefly patterns teamed with smaller versions of mayfly nymphs is still the best way to get the large trout to strike in the deep pools and seams.  Tungsten Goldens, large, dark Pat's Rubber Legs, Hot Belly Pheasant Tails, Ruby Micro Mays and olive Depth Charge Birds Nests have been catching fish as nymphs.  Everyday we find out some new bit of info from our guides so make sure to stop in for the latest scoop and location for the best action.  Here are a few pics to wet your palate from recent guide trips:

Jon and Mike with a NICE Bow!

Fishing After Work

Nice Brown to the Net

Munchin on Pat's

Richard With a Nice Bow

One More Brown for Richard

The Fight!