- The Conejos River is an absolutely gorgeous stream that drains the Platoro Reservoir in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The lack of crowds, beautiful canyon and pine covered mountains and pristine setting, create a magical experience. The fishing on this river is very consistent although it normally doesn't produce huge numbers or trophies and the Pinnacle Gorge section is a very scenic Class III whitewater run.
Recreation - This trout stream may not yield the numbers and large fish of years gone by, but the scenery combined with 60 miles of public water make it well worth the trip. Recent habitat improvements and designations of many areas as "wild trout" water have greatly improved the fishery. This river averages 60 feet in width and most of it is wade-able with miles of public access.
The river opens and is fishable in April, but heavy snows can make access difficult. The best fishing is after runoff, which is generally late June through September. The best dry fly fishing occurs mid-July through September. After Labor Day the fishing pressure relaxes and the changing seasons make the trip even more worthwhile.
As for boating, the Pinnacle Gorge run of the Conejos is a gorgeous Class III that can have a surprising amount of water even in August, due to late season releases. From the road above the gorge, you can inspect the entire run below. There is one drop below the Pinnacles which is Class IV. Below the takeout at the South Fork of the Conejos there are miles of pretty Class II boating with lots of room for fishing and camping.
Climate - The Conejos River is situated in high mountainous altitudes. Persons coming from lower elevations should be aware that time is needed to adjust to the higher elevations.
Warm days and cool to freezing nights can be expected in the mountains during the summer. July and August are usually the warmest months. During this time afternoon thunderstorms are common. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather, as well as for rain showers.
Being at high elevation and fueled mainly by melting snow, the Conejos is a rather cold river. During the spring runoff the river is full of freshly melted snow, and the temperature of the water is especially cold.
Please make sure that you dress appropriately when participating in whitewater sports. Wear shoes that can protect feet if you bounce off rocks or walk out of a canyon in the event of an accident. Wet suits are mandatory when air and water temperature added together total 100 degrees or less. If total is less than 80 degrees, a full set of waterproof or wool garments on top of the wet suit should be worn.
To find the Conejos head to the south central city of Alamosa and then take Highway 285 to the town of Antonito. In Antonito turn west on Highway 17 just south of town. The river parallels this road for 35 miles until you get to a right hand turn at Forest Road 250. Take 250, it parallels the river for 25 miles, all the way to the Platoro Reservoir.