Monday, June 4, 2012

The Conejos River: Where Stoneflies Rule

Just across the Colorado/ New Mexico  state line the little town of Antonito serves as the gateway to the Conejos River Valley while also playing host to the historic Cumbres Toltec scenic railway. 
Stoneflies are monster insects whose presence on a river is a key indicator of  its good health. They make for amazing fishing as they begin to hatch and fly around which draws many fish to the surface to feed.   
The Conejos is a big river spanning many miles after its release from Platoro Reservoir with unheard of public access which is why the annual stonefly hatch is so beneficial to anglers new to the river. 

A good stonefly imitation is the "Foamulator " that can be found at local fly shops like Fox Creek. It floats high and long even with a bedhead nymph dangling beneath it. 
Brown trout are the predominant species found in the Conejos these days as the state ceased stocking Rainbows after whirling disease was discovered many years ago. Cutthroat and Brook trout  might occasionally be caught too.
An angler can log many miles fishing the Conejos where adequate protection from the sun, rain and other  outdoor hazards is an absolute must. 
Stoneflies with a splash of Tabasco make for a tasty midday treat! 
Good trout habitat can be found all along the Conejos River but many times a great fish will be found in the most overlooked of places. 
The Conejos River harbors a very slippery streambed but luckily the medical clinic at nearby La Jara, Co. can have you back on the water in near record time due to their highly competent and well equipped staff.