River Whitman Fork near Jasper
Jara Creek at Gallegos Ranch
Pinos at Ortiz
at Platoro Reservoir
Grande at Wagon Wheel Gap
Grande at Del Norte
March 30, 2014 Wanted to give everyone a brief update for the
Superfly and talk fishing a bit. Water is still clear, low and perfect for this
time of year. The active feeding window is continuing to grow as the water
temps warm and more bug life is beginning to happen on the rocks of the
Conejos. Same bugs as below would be my starters however there are no rules on
the Conejos and have 5 or 10 choices of bugs you think they might eat. The shop
and cabins will be opening this next week and the guides are ready to go to
work. A lot of new fly patterns are arriving now and we are excited to explore
with these. Below is a list of teams for the 2014 Superfly and their start day.
If you think you are in and don’t see your name please contact us.
20. Curtis/ TBA
21. Banegas/ ??
33. Terry/Alldrich TU
34. Paul Brooks/TBD
For information and
reservations please call the shop at (719) 376-5660
March 24, 2014 Loving the mild temps that are coming back and
looking forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks. I will post the Superfly
Teams on the bottom. Water is classic low and clear. The fish are beginning to
have larger feeding windows and that trend should continue for the next several
weeks till true warm air and traditional fishing days appear in June. Fish have
been on a steady diet of midges throughout winter and now some stones are in
the mix. I believe that as stoneflies go thru molting periods that they have a
very light yellowish color and so not sure if it is just goldens the fish focus
on this time of the year or the molting. Either way a good option is to have a
few colors and sizes of stoneflies as anchor flies and experiment with the
point flies. The Shop and cabins will open the April 4.
2. Tolliver 3. Gomez/Gomes 4. Walton/Walton 5. Lewis/Garza 6. Lewis/Flores 7.
Kevin Terry/Alldrich - ]TU Team 8. Pat and David Blankenship 9. Paul Brooks 10.
Patagonia/Dave Allen 11. Smith/Dean 12. Derik Drinnen/Ramy 13. Jeff Banegas/
Toby 14. Harp/Scott 15. Jones/Jones 16. Fellows/ Dunbar 17. Caldwell/Wade 18.
Wade/Davis 19. McCall/Griego 20. Goldston/Sherwood 21. Troudt/Troudt 22.
Moran/Troudt 23. Stone/Cooper 24. Johnston 25. Marsh/McKay 26. Josh Curtis 27.
Gentry 28. Lewbre/Dickinson 29. Quintana/Romero 30. Ruybalid/Ruybalid 31.
Steinzig/Newman 32. Lingbeck 33. Pauly/Buchanan 34. Pacheco/Martinez 35.
Blankenship #2 36 My Choice!
I will be holding the field to no more than 38. If you are sending
an entry in please call or email first. A very fun bunch on the way and we will
do our best to be a memorable year for the FLY! So look forward to a great
March 3, 2014 Yes it is getting warmer! Makes me get the fishing
bug and realize I don’t have to freeze to death to fish! For those that were
waiting for the Superfly entry to be posted. It is. I will also add that we
will only take 30 teams and there are close to 20 in now. We splurged this year
and everyone will get a hoodie, hat, and Patagonia shirt! Sage is doing some
custom rods right now for us and we hope to have an awesome event. The USFS
told me that #250 will be open earlier than normal so we should have lots of
good water. And that also means I will qualify most if not all of the teams for
Sunday! The store and cabins will open early April and for those wanting to get
in some time with the guides early April is a great time of solitude and hungry
fish. The snowpack is below average but not the crisis we had last year so
expect May to be better than normal as well as June. These below average
snowpack years allow us to fish the early hatches without worrying about
February 12, 2013 Hello my fly fishing friends! Several things to
let you know about so stick with me for the entire post. For the Superfly bunch
we are planning on the weekend before Easter. April 11-13. We will likely limit
the field due to the unknown on opening Forest Service Road 250. Likely 36
teams. I just fished the Frostbite Fishoff in Pueblo and that was fun and it
also reminded me how spoiled we are on the Conejos. Just a lot of river we have.
Fishing was so tough that weekend that last years champions did not land a
trout for the tourney and about half the teams did not land a single trout. There
were a lot of fantastic anglers there and I think Rob Scott and I got 5th
or 6th place with 5 fish! Ouch! Incredible how much work has been
accomplished there on that river and it motivates me for us to press on.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and Kevin Terry of TU sent me
the summary of the river samples we did last October and they were blown away.
Again not just Gold Medal status but WAY above. In order for a river to be
eligible for that designation it needs to exceed 60 lbs of trout per surface
acre with a certain number of larger fish.
We sampled a marginal section of the Hidden Mile and had a problem with
the equipment for a few hours and still got 75 lbs of trout! The next day up
higher a shocking 115 lbs of trout per surface acre! The biologist and everyone
were just blown away! Almost all wild brown trout in each sample. I will look
at posting that research on the website for those that would like more details.
There has been talk for years of the Conejos being classified as the next
Colorado Gold Medal Fishery but now I think it will happen. I have been on the
fence on this for quite some time. I think it will bring extra money for
habitat work, help with regulations and enforcement, additional focus from
groups like TU and a large host of other positives. Will it bring more anglers?
Probably but since the Conejos is a long way from large population centers I
think it will always be that haven away from the crowds.
I would also like to let all of you know that Isaac Dean (one of
our guides) was signed to compete in the new US Pro Fly Fishing Tour. The
events will be televised on ESPN2 (I think) and we are very proud to have him
represent the Conejos and the shop in his travels. He is a very gifted,
intelligent, and exceptional human! When I know more details I will pass them
on to you. This is a very expensive
travel schedule for him and the shop is going to be involved in supporting him
as well as a few fly fishing companies but if any of you would like to help in
any way I will set up a meeting with you to speak with him.
I hope that this news does not rattle to many fillings but most of
you know that I went thru an extreme health ordeal for the last 15 months now.
I am better but I am not myself yet. My wife has an opportunity to be one of the national
directors for the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation and needed to be closer to an
airport. With all of those variables working on us we have decided to put the
shop for sale. I know there has been a lot of interest over the last several
years from people looking to get into the business but I have not pursued any
of those. It has been a great business for us and allowed us to meet some
incredible people, live a life with freedom from time and money, travel, spend
days and weeks on the river I love, I could go on and on but it is time for me to SHIFT. Either way I
will likely be involved on the Conejos working with the guides and doing some
guiding myself but it is time for my wife to take this opportunity and for me
to try and get healthy and strong again. Right now we are going full steam
ahead to open in April but I would imagine that once this news hits that things
could change. I will let everyone know if there is any changes but until then
Troy, Isaac, Randy, Paul, Ed, Rob, Scott, and myself will be getting ready for
warmer weather and lots of bugs and wild fish!
If you would like to reach me for more info about anything please
email me at email@example.com
October 22, 2013 Wow! A year to remember! Almost over but not
over! Plenty of fishing to do this last few weeks and looking forward to some
time out! Who would have thought that after a 25% snowpack year we would be in
the beautiful water position we are in now. Recent snows up high are already supplementing
flows on the Conejos and the tributaries. I was on the water for a bit a couple
of days ago getting my butt kicked by the Conejos till I began to be more
observant. Small baetis were beginning to pop. Tied on an RS2 in about a #20
and bang. Nice browns coming from the water I had just frothed! I love this
river! Makes you better or crazy sometimes!
From now till the end of October we will be closing out the rental
waders and boots at crazy prices and getting rid of all the demo rods and
Simms Waders - $95!
Simms Boots - $25!
Sage One 9’ 5 weight demo barely used. $400
Sage One 9’ 6 weight demo like new. $400
Sage Circa 8’9” 4 weight demo like new $400
Sage Circa 8’9” 5 weight demo like new $400.
Rental rods $100. Come with Lamson Konic reel, fly line, and a
Redington Voyant or Ross Essence ($229 rod). May or may not have a case. 5 or 6
weight. Call for details.
If you are interested you must call soon. They will all go very
quickly and I am happy to ship them to you.
Isaac Dean and myself will guide into November so get a chance
spend a day with us! The fishing at times has been incredible. Fish are needing
to put some weight on before winter and we have a few more weeks where they
will be active. The cabins have some slots from not till the end of the month
and the store will be open in the mornings from today thru Saturday and we will
close the store for regular hours for the season. I really appreciate all of
you and your support for us on a very difficult year healthwise. Many of you
have become close friends and it was great to see the concern and support for
Troy and myself. Thank You!
****We will be hosting the Conejos Cup which is a two man one day
golf one day fishing tournament September 28-29. This year we will be using
this as a benefit for Troy Smith who lost a large chunk of his season and has thousands in medical
bills. Winner gets a guided fly fishing trip with Troy! Cost is $150 per person
and that goes to Troy. Golf – Two man Scramble. Fishing – Superfly format.
Please call and reserve a spot. Last year was as much fun as I have had in two
days in a long time. Come and join us! For those that cannot come and have sent
dontations, thank you. You can write them to Troy Smith and send them here.
September 17, 2013
A few days ago I was in a hotel in Cortez, Co and came down early
for breakfast and picked up a USA Today. The headlines read “Rains of Biblical
Proportion Destroy Colorado”. I turned around and there were the TV’s feasting
on the disaster and I could not believe what I saw or read. We are so sorry to
hear what so many in Colorado are going thru. Truly amazing to realize what too
much water can do and I hope that when the waters settle there will be less
damage than what it looks like initially. Bill Long and I had a chance to fish
the tiny thread of water left in the Dolores below McPhee Reservoir and caught
some nice fish and had a fun trip but every river we drove over was enormous.
(16’ of rain has fallen in much of Colorado) We were curious to see what our area
would look like and as we headed out of Chama and crossed the Los Pinos it was
clear and perfect. The Conejos. Same. Amazing that we were totally surrounded
by flooding but missed it. The Conejos has begun to come alive with the cool
air and we are having some beautiful hatches of Red Quills, BWO’s, and even
some Drakes. Some of these fish are moving to spawning habitat, some still
feeding hard, some pairing up. The tributaries are fishing great and
expect chances to see fish larger than
you would normally see due to the time of the year and the bigger browns
exposing themselves more due to the spawn.
The Conejos Cup is fast approaching and it looks like there will
be some really awesome people here having fun, fishing, golfing, and making
Troy’s summer better! If you have a chance to come please call me and I can
make sure we have the appropriate reservations for you. I am also going to
throw a curve ball in there this year! I am going to make our guides available
for a full day trip for $220 for the event! The normal cost is $350 but for any
team who wishes to hire a guide let me know and I will set it up! The cabins
will be discounted for that weekend and so please come!
Soon October will be here and all of our demo, rental equipment,
and a few other items will be closed out. Also don’t forget that all of our
fishing packages are discounted till the end of the season. The fishing is
truly incredible in the fall and the tourist traffic goes away so it gives you
a chance to come and spend some time with some great guides, take your fishing
to a new level and put a little fat on these guides as they head towards
September 7, 2013 Yes that is indeed the date! However it has felt
a lot like August this past week with some warmer than normal temps for
September! Forecast says things should be returning to normal with nice cool
air soon! Some of the browns are already acting like it’s that time already.
Some pairing, some chasing, and some moving to water more conducive to
spawning. Expect this activity to increase over the next month and for fish to
be on spawning beds from end of September thru some time in October.
Fortunately trout spawn over a broader time period and so there are always fish
that are eating hard this time of year whether pre or post spawn. This last
week I took two guide trips and it was a joy to be able to be on the water
again wearing waders and trying to figure out these wild fish! This next week
will have the opportunity to try out some new rods, reels, and lines travel to
new water and spend a couple days on the water with a good friend, Bill Long on
the Dolores River west of us. Tomorrow the family is hiking up to the
headwaters of the Los Pinos and I am excited to see a stretch I have not seen.
The Conejos should get really nice and happy in the coming days as the temps
cool and fish no longer get stressed with the higher water temps we have had
this week. Expect Terrestrials, Baetis, small midges, and October caddis adults
and nymphs to be on the menu.
From now til the end of the season we will be putting all of the
Fish-Eat-Sleep Packages on sale. Save 15% on what started as the best bargain
to begin with. We also have the Hamilton Ranch and Rainbow Trout Ranch back on
the menu for guide days so give us a call and let us show you our river! Look
forward to seeing you all this fall!
August 19,2013 Hello my
friends. Is it really the middle of August?! Last night we got out of a
restaurant and walked out expecting warm summer air and it was cool. It hit me
that fall will be here soon and this wonderful fishing season is not going to
last as long as I would like. Yesterday I had to make a few casts and caught a
nice fish but there was a nice fish rising on the other bank about 75’ away and
I had no back cast. I began making some monster roll casts with my son watching
but could not get the drift. A few minutes later he was shedding his pants and
standing in the middle of the river with his underwear and sticking the fish I
could not with a bright blue beetle! I wish I would have had a camera but he
has no fear of cold or water and had to hook that fish.
The river and the tributaries are just happy. We had a large group
here the last week with guides each day and it was just wonderful. The
tributaries kept reminding us of what fly fishing can really be like natural,
beautiful, and wild fish eating dry flies. Lots of flies eating terrestrials
and in the Conejos fish are midging. The big stoneflies of August are still
here and we have done well with a variety of bigger patterns. Fishing small
tube midges, flashbangs, and even some caddis nymphs have done well. Fish have
eaten some larger attractor patterns. Sometimes obnoxiously large and they have
crushed them?????????????????? I think it is because there are enough of the
bigger stones around on the water that the fish are willing to go big
sometimes. Anyway the flows are good and the 6 weeks of rains seem to be
settling into a more consistent weather
pattern. It should be fantastic for a couple more months and you can fish for
pike, carp, trout, tribs, meadow, lake, etc. Give us a call we will be happy to
set up a trip you will not forget. Troy, Isaac, Randy, Scott, and hopefully
soon myself are working almost every day but we still have slots to fish with
them this fall.
August 2, 2013 Good to be home and breathing the cool air of the
Conejos again! (I have been gone from the shop for almost 20 days!) The river
continues to be happy and we have been fortunate to see lots of clouds some
rain and some cooler air. We hope to see more of the same for August. The flows
are low but the woods and grass are lush with the monsoon moisture. The river
continues to morph thru all of its phases. The caterpillers are gone, the big
stones of summer are here. There are some stones, some red quills, some baetis,
droves of hoppers, ants, beetles, and a few caddis. Presentation will become important as well as
many other variables this late summer and fall. Many of the tributaries that
seemed to have a tough couple years like Elk Creek and Los Pinos are fishing
beautifully. Many have been seeking big fish in the high mountain lakes and
finding them. Some of the hikes are not bad and there is nothing that beats the
serenity of a gorgeous high mountain lake and I would encourage you to break
the typical trout day and go! We have selected some of the best lake patterns
to help you be able to make your days up high successful. We have also added
many new Euro Jig style nymphs and some Conejos specific patterns. At this time
we still have plenty of windows of availability for cabins and guide trips so
please call us. We have also added about 15 different Patagonia items that are
super functional, look great and are timeless additions to a fly fishing
closet. We have also added a lot of new patterns from Umpqua and Solitude that
we are excited to try. They are the new patterns from this new generation of
fly tiers. Devan Ence who guided and worked here for years now has about 6
patterns that were developed right here on the Conejos and now have a large
following worldwide. Isaac Dean, Troy Smith and Scott Davis are now working on
the next generation of the Euro nymphs that will cross over well for the
traditional nympher. I am convinced that after studying their boxes that their
patterns will very soon be in the new catalogs.
The guides have been spending a lot of time on the tribs and the
upper river. Seems like any part of any stream or part of the Conejos that is
close to a meadow with plenty of grass is loaded with hoppers. Normally we
don’t get that fired up about hoppers here but the fish even on the lower river
are eating them. A red Humpy, Royal Wulff, smaller Royal Stimmy, or a red foam
beetle for some reason are pulling lots of fish.
I want to thank all of you
for your thoughts, prayers, and support for Troy and I. Happy to say that Troy
is guiding as I write this! He is a bit weak but back on his feet and on the
river dressed like a digi camo ninja guide! I was told that the infection is
now in the bone in my lower leg so I am taking a much more aggressive personal
view of it and pursuing solutions other than the western medicine path I have
been on with no results. Already having my pain level come down. Hope to join all of you soon on the water!
July 17, 2013 Rain! Yes the beautiful summer rains are here and
the grass has become green. The rivers cooler and the fish are loving the
cooler temps. It has been a big relief for everyone here in Colorado and I am
sure for those over by South Fork and Creede. I think the rain has finally
gotten those fires under control. We
hope that the damage to the river systems there will be minimal and that the
forest will now regenerate for those in New Mexico and Colorado.
Releases here on the Conejos I saw went to almost 100 cfs and I
don’t have to be there to know that the fishing and hatches are incredible
right now. We are guiding all over the drainage and have had guides on the
Rancho Del Oso ranch on the Chama River this week and I am anxious to be able
to talk to the and here about the Chama and some of the ridiculous fish in the
lakes there. One of our favorite combos at the lakes for the clients that can
load a rod is to fish a mouse to a streamer on 1x! Red Quills, Yellow sallies,
a few caddis, assorted stones, green drakes, and baetis make a day on the upper
river now exciting and sometimes a puzzle to figure out what the fish are
looking for. The g-string is back on the menu now with all of the heavy rains
and the tributaries have all been freshened by the change in weather pattern. Looking
forward to seeing you all and if you have any questions or need to call for a
guide Kari is doing a great job, in fact I am realizing again she is far more
organized than the rest of us! Maybe we needed her more involved all along!
On a side note about 12 days ago not our head guide, Troy Smith
was guiding and hit suddenly by intense stomach pain, cramps and nausea. Since
then he has lost 35 lbs and he has been taken to New Mexico to be with his
family to be closer to a bigger hospital. Please send your prayers and if you
have any connection in the medical community to a specialist that may be able
to get him in please contact me immediately. He is having a very difficult time
getting any help at all. I am still in the hospital and have been all week
after battling the staph infection for several months. Just completed surgery
number 5 and one more Thursday morning and I hope to be sent home for good and
forgot this ever happened. So for now you all have had a chance to meet my
beautiful wife for the first time as she is trying to keep a band aid on til we
get back to full strength! The other guides have done a great job and I look
forward to being back soon. I hope Troy is able to rejoin us soon.
June 27, 2013 The Conejos today is one crazy buggy river! Because
the flows are down the dry fly fishing has been really special. Each day even
though I am banned from being in waders or getting wet I go to see some fish
feed on adults. Grey Drakes, PMD’s, Caddis, Golden’s, BWO’s (up high), Green
Drakes (just starting), and caterpillars! Yes that is correct! Caterpillars!
There are some sections of the river that there are millions of them falling in
the water column and fish are really gorging! We finally are beginning to have
some rain as an option and cooler weather so we hope that we get the weather
pattern to get wet soon! For those concerned about the fires we feel terrible
for what the people around Wolf Creek and South Fork are dealing with but at
this time we do not have any smoke here or fire. We understand that New Mexico
is in a dry hot smoking mess and we only hope that for them and the fish that
the monsoon cycle will kick in soon and put the chapter to bed. Anyway just
thought I would give a brief update for those concerned and those making plans.
We still have some days with some slots for guide trips and cabins so give us a
call. We will be happy to help or answer questions about anything you need to
June 9, 2013 Hello my long rod friends! For those of you that are
waiting to see bugs flying, mating, hatching, crawling your time has begun! The
last several nights on the lower river we have seen the big stones exit the
river and begin their short life above water. A few nights ago the guides had
our annual midnight party to watch and although at that time it was a light
number they did not disappoint. Most years I would call June 9 or so the night
of the stone but with the slightly lower water it is a bit early. Flows
throughout the drainage on almost every mile of river or stream are at or close
to optimal. We had a beautiful rain recently and we will hope to continue that
trend once the monsoon season begins. Storage in Platoro has risen for a while
now and looks like they are allowing some storage and I think that will come in
handy for the fish later.
The fish on the lower river are fat and big and healthy! Some very
big! I went out with Isaac to show him our lower Sandoval Lease just below the
shop and wow. In the couple days we have fished it we have landed or almost
landed many fish over 22” including a very large 24” male brown two days ago.
That water will continue to just fish better as the Conejos turns into its
annual bug factory. Small and large caddis, yellow sallies, goldens, and big
salmonflies will be the main feature for ten or 15 days before we shift into
more Drakes, Red Quills, and PMD’s. Of course in the meadow today there is
probably a mad hatch of BWO’s and who knows what else but it is hard to know
what is happening on every mile. Right now the bottom 30 miles will be the
For those wanting to make plans July still has plenty of slots and
we have some slots available now in the cabins as well guides. We have an
incredible bunch of guides this year who are not only accomplished anglers and
tiers but patient, knowledgeable and gifted teachers! They are deeply
passionate about what they do and I have had so much enjoyment and fun fishing
with them learning from them and guiding with them. Do yourself a favor and
spend some time with them.
I really appreciate all of the prayers and support I have received
from so many! I saw the Dr. Trippi a few days ago and after three cycles of
antibiotics the staph infection was not responding and my pain level thru the
roof I had surgery Friday to scrub it, treat it, and take some biopsy’s. I am
desperately wanting to skip the 6 weeks of IV antibiotics I was told would
happen if the labs came back sideways so right now being a good boy and just
listening to fishing stories and not making any new ones on my own! (I did
sneak out with Isaac and land a 23” pig on Sandoval Euro Style before surgery!)
Hope to change all that soon! Again thank you and hope to be on the river with
May 30, 2013 For weeks I was told there would be no runoff! That
the mountains had no snow up high! Well there is some snow up there and we did
have a nice little runoff that we fished hard all the way through. Had someone
tell me they were headed to Bear Lake and could not make it because of the
large snowfields across the trail. The reality is we had some nice cool cloudy
weather during the time the runoff normally starts and pushed it back a few
weeks. The snow levels are low and we certainly are cheering for a wet summer
again but this will provide some incredible early season opportunities. For one
when the water levels are lower in early June it allows us to actually take
advantage of the biggest bug/hatch of the year – the Salmonfly! We normally see
then crawling out of the river June 9 or so and this year I think this may come
early. Joe Montoya said he saw some shucks on the rocks at his place in Mogote
a couple days ago. I will be looking the next several nights to see what it
going. For the planner in you this next 60 days should be some electric fishing
throughout the drainage. It has been amazing to me to see such an incredible
river this last few months that has fished so well have no one fishing it?!?!
Weird. Rivers like the Arkansas and San Juan crawling with people and the
Conejos for the most part nothing but solitude! So sorry back to the planning.
There are some big hatches coming soon and here are my guesses as to when we
will expect them: Salmonflies June 2-June 9. Goldens June 12. Caddid June 12.
Drakes June 27. PMD’s June 30. Red Quills Interspersed for a while starting end
of June. The meadow will be on a slightly different schedule and has been
spitting out Baetis and will have a host of hatches throughout the next months.
I am sorry you have been without info for a while. I had another
surgery on the ankle to remove hardware and then it went south. I got a staff
infection a week later and am still battling to be able to walk and function. I
am banned from the river for two weeks! We will be bringing the blog back to
life and be posting pics and stories from guide trips regularly for some fun
and color! We are also looking at gutting the whole website and hopefully will
be able to bring video and more dimension and connection to you. As always we
are here as lovers of this rivershed and feel great responsibility to treat it
right and help others be able to enjoy it and respect it as and learn about it
as we have! There is still room on many days to spend it with a guide and we
have had some cancellations in some cabins for June so please come and join us.
We have an incredible guide staff right now I am very proud of. Isaac Dean and
Scott Davis have joined us full time and with Troy Smith, Randy Keys, Paul
White, Josh Curtis, Rob Scott and myself are prepared to really help you learn
and have some incredible days on the water.
We have been spending a lot of time learning, tweaking, and
experimenting with the new Euro techniques for the Conejos and it is deadly! We
can teach you this intuitive Zen like method that it a fun and a great feather
to put in your quiver!
I got a rare brand new Sage SLT 8’3” 2 weight that is an
incredible stream rod that I just don’t need. $290
April 24, 2013 Another Superfly in the books and we managed to
have a lot of fun and catch quite a few fish in some brutal spring winds. I
want to thank all of you that came and supported the river and the event. You
were an incredible bunch! Some of you gave above and beyond to TU! The TU
Banquet/Auction is this Saturday and we will be able to go with a smile and a
very nice donation to continue to support the projects of the Conejos. A lot of
very good anglers showed up and caught more fish the last day of the Superfly
than any other previous day. About 500! Water that was supposed to be fantastic
was harder. Water in the middle of public lands fished better and two of our
guides, Troy Smith and Isaac Dean took the cake! Landed 47 browns the last day!
Even with their handicap they rolled a smooth 197.5 point total and had plenty
people shaking their heads! I knew I had to net atleast 40 browns the last day
and when we could only reach 26 fish knew it was over for me and Rob. We drew
Mogote CG and were a little to slow in figuring out what the fish wanted and
where not able to get on a big enough roll to make a run. The teams that
qualified in the bottom six were sent to to fish up high above the Pinnacles
and did so well almost went from last to first. Three came from bottom six to
top six the last day. Some new faces did well and a local team that met the
morning of did a great job of catching brown trout and came in second. (Hood –
Steinzig) Rob and I were pretty psyched about our first days beat until we got
to our beat and heavy equipment had been moved in for a habitat project and
once the big machines started working in the river our day was done. There were
several teams using the new Euro nymphing techniques and they took four of the first 11 spots. A very deadly method, one
in which I plan on learning, tweaking, and experimenting with this season.
Troy, Isaac, and Josh (our Euro guides) are truly so on the cutting edge of
these techniques and are doing a great job of teaching it on guide trips.
Amazing how quickly people are catching onto the method.
For those that have considered a Conejos getaway I know of a condo
that is not listed but will be this summer. I have seen it and it is super
clean, great view, two bedroom. $82,500. Call me if you want some info. Jon
Harp (719) 376-5660 or (719) 250-7122.
The River! It has been cool, especially the nights and we have
gotten some snow up high this last few weeks and the river has remained very
low for this time of year. The snowfields although on the low side have not
broken loose of their spring bounty. The releases have been low as well and I
am glad that the water we do have is being delayed. The lower river is 130 ish
and up high 18 cfs makes every mile of the river fishable. Seems up high or
down low are the better choices and the water from Spectacle Lake thru the base
of the Pinnacles has not fished as well this spring as most years. My guess is
that because of the lower than normal flows those fish are more exposed and
have not shown themselves as much. The fish up high?! What can I say for them.
They are happy! There is a code each day that one must break but when you do,
this river has been giving it up! The last few days the mayfly nymph has been a
bigger deal and we are seeing adult Skwala’s. I was hanging a couple nymphs off
the back of a #12 Peacock Madam X and I had a fish take my breath away when it
blitzed then rejected the dry. It was a fish in the 25” range and almost came out
of the water and instead of inhaling the dry rejected it last minute. A couple
deep breaths later I fished to that fish for 15 minutes with several patterns
and not a single flash to anything else. Worms, midges, baetis nymphs,
Skwala’s, and stonefly patterns should be a big deal the next few weeks. Just
know that if you are making plans that we are spoiled here during runoff. The
reservoir insures we don’t miss days on the water so look for some incredible
times in May!
April 9, 2013 Hey hey my SuperFly friends! I just got in from
marking all but the last beat and the river looks great. Each year I get
curve balled and this year is not exception. We will skip all of those but
today there was a black wall of snow over the mountains which I thought certainly
doomed any chance of the upper river opening. An hour later the USFS comes into
the shop and told me they had just opened the upper gate!!! Wow! There was a
foot of snow and plenty more coming and they opened it. Will that help us? I
drove up the lower river tonight and no problem. Ground to warm but the melting
from the upper river could put a twist to all of the fishing and fly selections
so all I can say is just go armed for all trout moods. Could get wormy if it
melts fast or they could stay on there midge/stonefly/assorted Conejos moody
diet! I can say the fish from here to below the Pinnacles are healthy and on
average bigger then last year. Excited to see all of you this weekend for some
live music, fishing, food, some good stories and laughing, a calcutta saturday,
and some great memories. This snow was badly needed and a couple more will put
us right where we need to be. Here is a breakdown of the teams and there start
FRIDAY: 1. Marrufo/Gomez 2. Moran/Troudt 3. Long/Davis 4.
Harp/Scott 5. Troudt/Troudt 6. Lingbeck/Sequra 7. Stone/Cooper 8.
Pauly/Buchanan 9. Silver/Widgren 10. Shuster/Arterburn 11. Gentry/Gentry 12.
Sorenson/Mueller 13. Stutz/Nagle 14. Downey/Downey 15. Flores/Lewis 16.
Flores/Lewis 17. Walton/Tolliver 18. Goldston/Goldston.
SATURDAY: 1. Quintana/Collins 2. Curtis/TBA 3. Steinzig/Hood 4.
Johnston/McCormick 5. Banegas/Collins 6. Smith/Dean 7. Jones/Jones 8.
Blankenship/Blankenship 9. Slover/Slover 10. Lewis/Foster 11. Snyder/TBA 12.
Beasley/McVay 13. Wade/Caldwell 14. Wade/Davis 15. Drinnen/Armstrong 16.
McCall/Stevens 17. Webb/Hanson.
If you have any questions about any of it please contact me. I
will qualify approximately 13 teams from Friday. 12 from Saturday. The bottom
two qualifiers from each of the first two days will be pre-drawn for Sunday. I
could explain but how about just trusting me on this. In order for it to
be fair and give more teams the chance to fish on Sunday. I snuck a few casts
in while marking beats and the fish depending on the time of day and who knows
what else went from really fast riffles, hanging under lazy foam lines to half
sleeping in the really slow water before dark. I can say that stoneflies were
the biggest producer with several others that were good but deciding dark or
yellow seemed to matter. Clouds helped most of the time and finding where the
fish are can be tricky but trust yourself and begin to search with your eyes
and creative casts. If you are not having success then make a change. If you
watch our guides they will constantly adjust something. It could be water,
depth, pattern, color, size, length of cast, etc. It all matters and sometimes
it indeed may be better to take a break. The browns are not going to gorge all
day so just know that it can go from a ghost town to a bustling foam line
March 20, 2013 Yes the trout are beginning to get their bite
on! I would like to brag that I have caught the first fish on the river each
year but reality this year says that I might have missed it by a few days! I
had a chance to go out with one of our guides this last week and make a few
casts. I thought I would let Rob do a few early recon casts while I slow played
stringing a rod and getting some gear on and not a fish to be seen or hooked
early. I procrastinated further till it was time for me to give it a swing and
the same thing?! Hmm. After both of us
working over the bottom end of a gorgeous stretch it was clear the fish were
still hiding under the ice ledges. “Time to burn our first cigar of the year
Rob” I said. Twenty minutes later with the same flies same water same setup it
was hard core fish gorging time. Several times I went 3 cast 3 fish and landed
about 20 fish in that run alone. They were loving anything that was yellow and looked like a stonefly! Fun to get the
rod bent and see how the fish had wintered. Amazing they don’t starve to death
under the ice but they looked good and were just happy! Troy had been out
earlier and done really well and we are seeing a few other anglers around. I
would say the window is short this time of year but the river looks great and
the snowpack is up around 90%. I looked at the entries for the Superfly today
and was surprised to see about 28 teams paid already and I know there are about
6 other teams committed with entries on the way not including the several teams
from CRA that will be here. In other words if you want in this year please move
soon because I will be cutting it off around 40 teams.
Here is a list of teams in for the 2013 Superfly:
1.Gomez/Marrufo 2. Moran/Troudt 3. Jones/Jones 4. Long/Davis 5. Smith/TBD 6. 7. Harp/Scott 8. Blankenship 2X 9. Troudt 2X 10. Lingbeck/Segura 11. Slover 2X 12. Lewis/Foster 13. Casarez/Snyder 14. Stone/Cooper 15. Pauly/Buchanan 16. Silver/Widgren 17. Beasley/McVay 18. Shuster/Arterburn 19. Wade/Caldwell 20. Wade/Davis 21. Gentry 2X
22. Sorenson/Mueller 23. Drinnen/Armstrong 24. Stutz/Nagle 25. McCall/Stephens
26. Downey 2X 27. Quintana/Collins 28. Flores/Lewis 29. Walton/Tolliver 30. Goldston 2X
31. Webb/Hanson 32. Dean/TBD
As I look over the bunch what a fun bunch we will have back
and some new faces and as usual some great anglers. Can’t help but notice how
many husband/wife, brother, father son teams this year. Just how we were hoping
this would work from the beginning. As far as start days we have 20 requests
for Friday and 12 for Saturday. If you registered early you will get your
requested Friday if not a few will be switched to Saturday and all entries
forward will all be Saturday start days. I will have this info by the end of
March. Normally the requests are very equal so no problem but hopefully we will
get 8 more teams so as to not switch anyone.
Store opens on April 4 at 8:00 but we are already going to
be doing guide trips in March. If you would like to book a day before the
Superfly with us please call us and be happy to set something up. Troy Smith
and myself will be doing most of the really early trips.
April Hours: 8:00 to 4:00 Tuesday thru Saturday. Sunday 8:00
to 12:00. Closed Monday.
February 8, 2013 I am sorry I have not connected with you
for some time. I got a pretty bad curve ball in the fall but am on the mend and
looking forward to getting back on the horse! A lot to cover here so let’s get started.
First of all I am getting a lot of calls and emails about
the 2013 Conejos Superfly. April 12-14. There will be no radical change in the
format and so plan away and I assure you I am looking forward as you to warm
air and casting a fly again. I will post entries on the home page within the
The store will open April 4. We will likely have cabins open
earlier than that and will begin work in March to remodel some cabins and add
carpet, fixtures, and some new furniture. We should have a new sign up, fences,
store fixtures, new inventory, lighting, landscaping, entrance, and nick nack
You may have wondered where I had gone, I do not normally
disappear for this long. Well I spent almost the entire winter on crutches, in
a cast, or limping severly. On October 2 I tore almost every ligament I had in
my ankle. October 30 a major back surgery and January 2 because the ankle would
not respond to therapy had cables and plates inserted into my ankle to keep the
bones in the ankle in place. I hope to be able to walk again normally by the
time the store is open. Not exactly how I had planned the off season but I
assure you that day wont be here soon enough.
The snowpack today is on the light side and I try to stay
out of the daily drama of that this early in winter but am cheering on March
and April to be nasty and white! Regardless we will begin guiding by April 1
and if you are wanting something sooner let me know. The website will get a
facelift over the next six weeks and hope to make it more visual, add video,
more user friendly and be more descriptive of what we do here. If you have
suggestions would love to hear from you.
I would also like to put this out there. I am looking for
two deserving people to add to our team. Most of the team will be back but Joe
Montoya has taken a job with Chipotle in Denver and I am beginning to look for
the right addition to our team. If you are interested please send a resume to
the website and call me.
October 2, 2012 The Conejos Cup has come and gone but what a
great weekend. We had great weather some incredible colors and caught a lot of
fish and made some birdies and an eagle. I am asked frequently what is a good
day on the Conejos. I tell people sometimes the guides regularly hook 50 or 100
fish a day and I get the eyes rolling. I do rarely anymore get to focus on
fishing hard all day so I was interested to see how many fish Rob Scott and I
would hook in a day. Well we fished up at the very bottom of the meadow and
hooked over 150 fish in 7 hours. It was the highest ever one day total for a
Superfly format. (only one angler fishing at a time) Kyle Beasley and Dave
Spradlin chose Mogote CG and hooked 50 fish and netted 25! (A 77 point day in
Mogote CG! Impressive!)So when I hear people come in the shop and tell me there
are no fish in the river or they did not eat the flies I got from you I know
that there is more to the story. At the end of the day my knees were sore (
from crawling on them) and my shoulder was exhausted (from sticking in straight
in the air) but the presentation and drift have to be right. I know that if
people watched us fish that day they would likely be surprised. Very little fancy
River Runs Through It sort of casting but a lot of close up high stick very
little line on the water sort of stalking. A lot of doing everything we could
to get the right drift thru the right seam the right pocket the right depth
etc. There are times to put some line on the water and show off a little but
more often time to nail the right drift with some shorter presentations and extra
effort to be in the right spot with a low profile to get it. Right now we still
have colors blasting on the lower river
and some color left up high just starting
to fade a little. The fish for the most part do not seem to be on the
reds yet. I would be curious to have time to go up rivers like the South and
Middle and La Jara but most of the Conejos fish are not spawning yet. We had a
beautiful Baetis hatch Saturday and caught a lot of fish in that window on a #20 BWO patterns. Worms, eggs, Barr’s
emergers, annelids, and scud patterns
have been good up high. On the lower river I would fish Jimmy legs, eggs,
flashbangs, and then #12 orange stimmies and baetis patterns on top. We are
starting to see the big October Caddis and should be able to throw dries in the
form of BWO’s and the big Caddis for a while. Expect fishing to remain good for
quite a while. We will continue to guide until early November. The shop will
have regular hours thru October 18. After that we will be here with cabins open
(thru October) and guiding but not regular hours in the store the last of
October. I will be having back surgery October 31 so all guide trips after that
will be Randy Keys or Troy Smith. For those of you wanting to have a river to
yourself and see some active fish call us and set up a day with us. Would love
to show you the river in the fall.
For those wanting to pick up some equipment we are closing
out a lot of gear. I am also going to be selling my Sage One 9’ 5 wt rod with a
Lamson Litespeed and a brand new Rio
Grande line on it. $700.00. The price for the new Sage One’s is $795 so this is
a bangin’ deal for someone. The reel has a
scratch on it. The Simms boots that were rentals this year are $35 so
for those that bought the waders you can call us and add a pair of boots if you
like. They are the 2012 model Simms Freestone’s.
September 24, 2012 Yes the colors now are peaking and the
weather and fish all seem to be happy. I had a chance to guide a lot the last
few weeks and maybe the best run of trips I have had this year. If you look at
the number that is coming out of Platoro it may seem daunting but the reality
is the fish are stuffed in up there and have been very catchable. Small baetis,
scuds, sowbugs, annelids, and even hoppers
and stimulators moved a lot of
fish. I would expect it to stay good for another month or 6 weeks based on the
weather and flows. This next few days the guides schedules are full but we will
have some slots for me and Troy and Joe in October. Hope you can join us for a
day. This weekend is the Conejos Cup and we are one team short. Any of you that
golf and fish call me. It is going to be a lot of fun. You do not have to have
a handicap. It is a two person team event. Fishing on Saturday and Golf Sunday.
Party/Dinner/Calcutta is Friday night. We will have the Ryder Cup recorded at
the house for you die hard golf fans.
We will be having a pretty outrageous sale starting this
weekend and will be closing out some great gear. If you have a need of
something specific give Joe or I a call.
September 7, 2012 The
cool air of spring is coming and the cool nights have begun to bring color to
the Aspens and Cottonwoods. My favorite time of the year with low water and the
feeling like the fish are living in an environment with very few of us
disturbing their day. The guides get to
know each other again and catch up on
some days on the water together fishing laughing and exploring. Yes
fall! So beautiful and so short! If you get a chance you should take the
opportunity come and experience it . This journey we are on is full of have
to’s and should’s but not enough of really experiencing it all. As far as the fishing
right now? I have had the chance to fish recently more and have had a blast.
Got the new Sage Circa in and fished it yesterday and what a gem. Much slower
action than the ONE but so light, so responsive, and even though much slower it
I was fishing 60 plus feet with a 12’ leader and 3 flies. Absolutely loved it.
For those that thought the ONE was to fast and it is for many, you should cast
this rod. The old Sage SLT was a great rod. This is just taking that thought
and using the new technology and making it even better. We will have a few in
the shop if you are interested. Simms and Sage will very soon be making large
price increases so this fall might be a good time to add some fun gear. The
fishing – Mostly terrestrials mayflies and attractors on the surface and small
baetis and midge nymphs underneath. In the meadow below Platoro same stuff plus
For years we have talked about doing an informal fun weekend
that included a day of golf and a day of fishing. Well this year we are doing
it! The first annual Conejos Cup will be September 29,30. Two man teams, fish
first day (Superfly Format), golf second (scramble), Calcutta Friday night . We
will have a meal and beverages here Friday night and watch some Ryder Cup which we will record and have
the Calcutta that night. Tee times at Cattails GC start at 9:30 Sunday. We have
3 slots left . If you are interested please call me. Jon Harp 719 376 5660. I
know if this got out it would become huge but we do not want it to get big and
we don’t want it just about winning. There is an incredible group of guys that
are already in and so it is quite a bunch and should be a lot of fun which is
all we are trying to have happen that weekend. If you are calling to ask how it
will be handicapped then don’t. There are some great golfers coming, some great
anglers, and some guys just coming to have fun. Having it all perfectly equal
by adding and subtracting points based on how many fish we think someone could
catch? To tricky.
We will be selling all
of our Simms Rental waders which are G3 Guide waders with 5 to 20 days on each
pair. The G3 next year will be around 500 so you can save a chunk on a great
quality pair of waders. $125! We will ship at the end of the month as well as
selling all of the rental and demo rods.
July 25, 2012 Seems very
strange to look down read below and realize we are now seeing big bugs again on
the river. There are stonefly cases everywhere on the rocks and the big stone
that normally comes out in August is here now. So a weird variety of very large
bugs with some itty bitty stuff. The river is low and we are either fishing up
high on warmer days or going early and quitting early on the lower river. Very
sorry for being delinquent in my writing but I hope you have enjoyed Joe’s
blog. I have been on the river a lot and some in the store and have not been
able to keep up with it all but things
are slowing down a bit so I will be able to be more transparent and be able to
share what is happening on a more regular basis. We have spent some time
guiding on some lakes for some large fish and that was a lot of fun. Troy went
hunting for pike and found some normal pike and was cleaned off a few times by
some very large pike and decided to make some casts to some of the larger carp
in the Rio. Yes, they ate! The high mountain streams right now have been
fantastic. I guided one last week and saw 108 fish netted in a day. With some regular rain and afternoon clouds most
days have been perfect but if we do get a few warm days please know that
fishing the fish after the river hits 70 or so is hard on fish.
With the lower river
level fish seem much more opportunistic to dry flies so we are seeing a lot of
fish eat dries. Baetis, Ants, Hoppers, Stones, and some unique attractors have
been consistent. The nymphs seem to be the same big spread between larger
stoneflies and #20 and smaller Don Kings, Flashbangs, and Sparkle RS2’s.
know that with the lower streamflows the amount of traffic here will be less so
we so appreciate all of your support for this small business. Please if you
have anything fly fishing related that you need call us and we will be happy