Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Beautiful Conejos River

well, the coffee shop in alamosa (milagros) is closed today as is the chinese restaurant where i get my "three meat" special (chicken, beef, and shrimp). mental note: don't come into town on Sundays! so, i find myself at the local library for free wi-fi and i am amazed it is open on sunday and quite busy.
the last few days on the Conejos River have been fantastic. the river is flowing perfectly and clear as gin. the fish have been cooperating too (somewhat). one never knows about the can catch 20 rainbows and browns...or, just as easily, get skunked and swear there aren't ANY fish in the river.
two days ago, i was fishing over at the Hamilton Ranch (where the daughter is building a nice new cabin over-looking one of my favorite runs), and i hadn't caught anything all morning. just as i made the bend of the river, an older man on the opposite bank put up his hand and gave me the STOP signal. learning a long time ago the wisdom of elderly fly-fisherman, i stopped and shrugged my shoulders as if to say "ok old-timer, what now?" he pointed to the river in a few yards in front of me, and sure enough, there was a huge brown drake hatch going on (which i would have had to of been blind not to spot it on my own, but hey, i liked the help). the flies bubbling up from the river were the size of quarters and the trout were just bangin the shit out of em! i didn't have a brown drake, but i have been known to use an orange stimulator with a green head in such cases - so i tied on a #12, and cast to the nearest rise. bam! hooked a nice brown. bam-bam!! another one. long story short, i caught 5 or 6 real nice, fat, Conejos browns - the smallest being 16" and the largest about 21". the latter took me downstream about 40 yards where i was able to land him before the white water started. i talked to the man later, from Solana Beach, and he was 65 and fished this river since he was 8 years old. man, did we have a time there for awhile. it lasted about 45 minutes, and when it was over, it was over. some pics are attached. cindy - the hat is special for you ;) not sure if any of the photos show it, but these browns had a slightly bluish tint right above the gills. never seen that before - but all all the hamilton ranch browns had it. click on the picture with Steve in the background to enlarge it..i think you can see the colouring in that one - beautiful.
also fished "Sander's Bridge", another of my favorite sections of the river, and did well there too. no rainbows yet though.. i miss em!
is there any place in the world as beautiful as the Conejos River the second week of July? answer: nope. ok, so, that's it for the lower river...time to head to the high country and Mount Conejos itself. we get away from all the people now...and i like the peace and solitude of the high country during the middle of the week. good for the soul, and i cherish these times alone on the upper Conejos. more when i get back ... which, good Lord willin and the creeks don't rise, will be in 4 or 5 days. peace.

1 comment:

Travis said...

I think beatiful barely describes the Conejos. I am only 16 now and have fished the river steadily now for 6 years. I go up there every summer for about a month to fly fish. If you come back up and are looking for a little bit better place to fish come by the Ponderosa campground.