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Fishing: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Conejos River



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General Description

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The Conejos River runs through the district from its northwest boundary to its eastern boundary. The river provides more than 30 stream miles of high quality wild trout fishing. The Conejos River has more public fishing access along its length than any other major river in Colorado. Although much of the river flows through private land, access to the river is provided through cooperative efforts of the Forest Service, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the private landowners. Such areas are well marked with official signs. Any area that is fenced but not signed is to be considered private land and anglers are urged to secure permission from the landowner prior to using such lands.

One major stretch of the Conejos River (about 4 miles) from Aspen Glade Campground upstream to Menkhaven Lodge is restricted to artificial fly fishing only. This area is managed as a wild trout fishery and is considered one of the finest in the nation. No stocking is done in this area.

The Lake Fork of the Conejos from the Rock Lake outlet upstream to the headwaters including Big Lake is restricted to artificial fly fishing only and all cutthroat must be returned immediately to the water. This restriction is in force to protect the Rio Grande cutthroat.

The rest of the Conejos River is open to anglers using legal rod and reel method. Be sure to check current regulations for any other restrictions.

Directions from Forest Road 250: Forest Road 250 provides access from the Pinnacles to Platoro Reservoir. Forest Road 247 and Trail 712 provide access from Platoro to the headwaters.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend (NOTE: Fluctuates with seasonal weather) .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: JMC (Littleton, co)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My chiropractor who has property in the area knew my passion for fly fishing. After several visits and many discussions we decided to take a weekend trip to fish and to survey his property for building a cabin. The fishing trip started with a visit to the local fly shop 'Cottonwood Meadows' in Mogote, CO. Randy the owner, and a pretty nice guy too, suggested several flies- both blue and red BH copperjohns sz 14, sz 10 peacock hearl BH stoneflies, rubber legged hares ears in sz 14 along with BH prince nymphs in sz 14. Armed with this information we proceeded to the Aspenglade quality water around 10AM. The water was low {but being a So. Platte boy the water was huge to me} and mostly clear in all but the deepest holes, because of low snowpack the water was only slightly murky. The river in that area, if you've never been there is a beautiful mix of every conceivable type of water, from long runs to pocket water to nice flat riffly water with a meandering way about it. Now about the fishing, unfortunately my friend got skunked but I was able to catch 6 browns, the smallest was about 4 inches and the biggest was 13 inches, it was 50/50 on the blue copperjohns and stonefly. In adiititon I foul hooked 1 brown and lost another, making it a total of 8 fish that I got to play in about 5 hours of fishing. The reason it was only 5 hrs was we wanted to watch The Avalanche playoff hockey game at the local restaurant which was at the turnoff to Platoro. The burgers, fries and beers were awsome but we should have fished as the Avs lost the first game of the series against Detroit. We are planning more trips to the area because of the solitude, beauty but mostly the fishing. So, as they say 'Tight Lines Folks'.

Filed By: JMC (Littleton, co)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My chiropractor who has property in the area knew my passion for fly fishing. After several visits and many discussions we decided to take a weekend trip to fish and to survey the property for building a cabin. The fishing trip started with a visit to the local fly shop 'Cottonwood Meadows' in Mogote, CO. Randy the owner, and a pretty nice guy too, suggested several flies- both blue and red BH copperjohns sz 14, sz 12 peacock hearl BH stoneflies, rubber legged hares ears in sz 14 along with BH prince nymphs in sz 14. Armed with this information we proceeded to the Aspenglade quality water. The water was low {but being a So. Platte boy the water was huge to me} and mostly clear in all but the deepest holes because of low snowpack. The river in that area, if you've never been there is a beautiful mix of every conceivable type of water, from long runs to pocket water to nice flat riffly water with a meandering way about it.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping Developed sites along Highway 17 and Forest Road 250
Yes
ICON Cold Water Fishing Considered to be some of the best fishing in the state
Yes
ICON Fishing Conejos River
Yes



Related Activities
Aspen Glade Campground - Aspen Glade Campground has 34 sites with picnic tables and fireplaces. There is public access to the Conejos River.

Conejos Campground - Conejos Campground has 16 campsites with picnic tables and fireplaces. There is public access to the Conejos River. Both day and overnight use is permitted.

Conejos River Road - FR 250 Scenic Drive - Forest Road 250 is a graded dirt road that follows the Conejos River from Highway 17 to Platoro, crosses Stunner Pass, and then descends to the San Luis Valley along the Alamosa River.

El Rito Azul, North Fork Conejos, Middle Fork Cone - All three drainages begin below the Continental Divide and converge in Three Forks Park to form the Conejos River. The creeks lie in the South San Juan Wilderness.

Elk Creek Campground - Elk Creek Campground has 31 sites with picnic tables and fireplaces and 14 overflow campsites (no picnic tables or fireplaces). There is public access to the Conejos River and Elk Creek.

Lake Fork - Lake Fork Campground offers easy access to the stream.

Lake Fork Campground - Lake Fork Campground is 7 miles south of Platoro on the Conejos River. There are 17 campsites with tables and grates.

Lake Fork Creek Trail - The trail is a gentle hike along the Lake Fork Creek to Big Lake. The trail then climbs steeply to a saddle between Forest King Mountain and Mammoth Mountain and drops steeply into the community of Platoro.

Middle Fork Conejos River Trail - The trail follows the edge of an alpine meadow and offers a spectacular view of the Continental Divide with a glacial valley in the foreground.

Mix Lake - 90% of the shoreline is rated easy to fish. Due to its proximity to the Platoro and Mix Lake Campground, this lake is heavily fished. It is stocked regularly with rainbow trout.

Mix Lake Campground - Mix Lake Campground is located one mile west of Platoro in the Conejos River drainage. Many bodies of water provide fishing and there is access to the South San Juan Wilderness nearby.

Mix Lake Day Use Area - Heavily fished, stocked lake.

Mogote Campground - There is public access to the Conejos River and PiƱon and Juniper Group Picnic Areas are nearby. Reservations are accepted at this campground.

North Fork Conejos River Trail - This trail is entirely within the boundaries of the South San Juan Wilderness Area. The trail rises steeply through several switchbacks and then back into a meadow, eventually viewing the Continental Divide.

Notch Trail - The Notch Trail is a fairly strenuous hike as it climbs steeply out of the Conejos River valley.

Platoro Reservoir - Platoro Reservoir lies a short distance west of the tourist-mining village Platoro. The lake is 990 acres, the highest man-made lake in North America.

Platoro Documentary Site - Platoro, lying in the Conejos Valley, was prospected in the 1870's by Summitville miners. Platoro, a combination of the Spanish word for silver, "plata", and the word for gold, "oro", mined both ores.

Rio Grande Reservoir Road 520 Scenic Drive - Beautiful mountain scenery and numerous recreation facilities are found along the Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520.

Ruybalid Trail - Spectacular views of the Conejos Canyon can be seen from many vantage points along the trail.

Sawmill Gulch Trail (Conejos Peak Ranger District) - A pleasant day hike which offers spectacular views along the way. An excellent area for picnics and mountain scenery exists at the trail's end.

South Fork Conejos River Trail - The South Fork Trail is a well traveled and easily followed trail providing access to the spectacular South Fork Conejos Canyon.

Spectacle Lake Campground - Spectacle Lake Campground has 24 sites with picnic tables and fireplaces. There is access to the Conejos River and Spectacle Lake.

Spectacle Lake Trail - The Spectacle Lake trail provides an ideal day hike for those camping at the Spectacle Lake and Conejos Campgrounds.

Upper Conejos River - Upper Conejos River is easily accessible and heavily fished, but remains excellent fishing.

Valdez Trail - This is a lightly used trail. Water is not available along this trail.



More Information

Visitor Information:

South Fork Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 12 , South Fork, CO, 81154, Phone: 719-873-5512

Rio Grande County - South Fork, Del Norte, Monte Vista, P.O. Box 577 , South Fork, CO, 81154, Phone: 800-571-0881 or 719-873-5512, Fax: 719-873-5693, www.southfork.org

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