Fished the Rio Grande from South Fork to Del Norte for three days. Wonderful experience. Dawn and I joined Ron and Fritz in their rafts. We caught many large browns and some rainbows. Caddis dry flys like Elkhorn Caddis, Stimulaor, Goddard’s Caddis and Humpy worked well on the surface for the first two days. Gray or yellow, sizes 14 to 18. The third day, nymphs ruled. The #14 Beadhead Prince Nymph with Legs was very effective. Various caddis nymph patterns also worked. There were a lot of Green Drakes hatching, but our Green Drake patterns were not particularly effective.
The flow from the reservoir decreased each day and the water level declined accordingly. By the third day, the insects and fish seemed to be hunkering down in the remaining water.
Fritz has a B&B, Riverside Meadows about three miles downstream from the town of South Fork. It is very upscale, comfortable and friendly. As you lie in bed, you can hear the river flowing. The cabins are private with dining in the main lodge. Fritz and Paula prepare wonderful food. For fishing, you can put in or take out a raft at their property.
Ron is an expert fly-fisherman that knows Colorado and the West inside out.
Fishing from a moving raft takes some getting used to if you typically wade the riverbanks. When I wade, I try to stalk the fish by slowly wading upstream to prime holding areas and watch before I cast. When rafting, you move briskly downstream and cast rapid fire to the next holding spot. If you wait to see a fish rise, you will typically float by the spot before you can position your cast; you can’t wait for the fish to rise again. I like to spread out from my friends and leapfrog fishing spots when I wade. Everyone is compressed in a raft; only two people can fish at a time. You need to be attentive not to cross lines or cast at the same time.
The Rio Grande flows from the Rockies near Creede and ultimately forms the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Most of the land along the prime fishing water is private so wading is impractical. South Fork is located in southern Colorado west of Alamosa. Don’t confuse it with south Park of TV cartoon fame.
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