October 1, 2018 nazflycasters
by Steve La Falce
What may be one of the best kept secrets about trout streams in Colorado is the quality of the fishing to be had in the Conejos River, a jewel of a stream which flows through the town of Antonito in the south central part of the state. Flowing out of the Platoro Reservoir, the Conejos features several types of water for the angler. In the reaches near the dam, called “The Meadows”, the braided nature of the river offers small stream kinds of challenges. Further downstream are rapid and plunge pools, succeeded by long and smooth glides interspersed with challenging faster flowing rocky sections.
In July of 2018 four of our intrepid anglers, Steve La Falce, Mac McIlwaine, John Fish and Neil Warner, spent three days sampling the fishing there. Basing out of Conejos River Anglers in Antonito, we tested our skill on several different locations along the river. Although the conditions were less than ideal, the result of an abnormally mild winter and unusually warm water teemperatures, we enjoyed what can only be called spectacular fishing. All of us caught several rainbows and browns, and all of us had more than a few fish approaching the twenty inch mark.
Surprisingly, almost no other anglers were encountered, the reason I call he Conejos one of the best kept secrets among Colorado trout streams. It has the most prolific and varied hatches of any stream in the state, it has numerous access points and campgrounds, it has beauty and relatively easy wading and generously provides all any angler can ask for in quantity and size of fish.
Mac’s photos will bear out what I’m saying. You can be there in abut eight hours out of Flagstaff. We’ve scheduled another trip for next July and the four of us would selfishly hope that it remains a well kept secret, but you’re in on it now, so go enjoy it!
The group of guys who went to Fisheads on The San Juan on Oct. 12th might be described in many different ways; Old Timers, Experienced Flyfishers, good friends, or, in some circles, by several less complimentary terms. However they might be classified or described, the group, consisting of Steve L., Clark D., Gary and Darren T., Sal C., John F., Dick H., Mac M., Neil W., Ray W. and Mike C. (last names omitted, but you can figure it out) were bent on having a good time, and did they ever! The two days of guided floats produced more than enough trout, both in quantity and size, to keep everyone happy. Several rainbows in the eighteen to twenty inch class happily took the tiny (22’s and 24’s) flies the skilled guides attached to the 6X leaders we used. The food provided by Fisheads was, as usual, copious and delicious, particularly the huge desserts that capped off the meals. Each day of fishing was concluded at the normal Story Swap and Libation Hour, always the happiest, best lubricated portion of the entire trip. One of these confabs featured an appearance of one of the anglers (he shall remain nameless here) appearing clad only in a snazzy fishing shirt and tighty whitey underpants, thus identifying this trip for all time as indicated by the title above. To top this, on a different night, another angler (also nameless), who, though slightly in his cups, delivered a story that concerned three Irishmen in a bar. The resolution of the story was somewhat uncertain due to the condition of the story teller, but hilarious for the combination of the punchline and the delivery thereof. Another of these trips is already planned for next April. Come to the meetings and read the newsletter for more details.
Steve La Falce