Water Conditions Rio Grande Basin

Today we took a drive up the Rio Grande to Antlers Lodge near Creede.  Paula had some work there and I got to see the lodge with the Rio Grande passing by the deck of the restaurant. It was a beautiful day and The sun felt good on my face.

I had discussed previously about the ash problems in the water. There are many problems this can cause including, warmer water, loss of insect life, change in the pH of the water and large amounts of sediment in the stream and others.  

The water in the main river was better than I recall last week and I think this is due to the number of clear streams which flow into the Rio, diluting the ash flows.  

After Paula's meeting, we drove on up the valley to Road Canyon Reservoir to inspect the conditions there. The water, while green with algae and maybe turning over some with the summer heat, looked normal to me. A man fishing on the dock with a rapala said he had been having good luck there after work and both he and the kids had caught plenty of fish over the weekend.  

The fires near there really stayed away from the lake and the shorelines remain clear and clean of any fire damage. There was one fold a boat on the lake fishing at the time but I didn't see them catch anything in the time we were there. We didn't have our poles due to being on a working trip and the water was full of too much algae for me to fish anyway. In all the years I have been fishing here, I can honestly say that Road Canyon didn't look any different that in other years. Having said that, the ash flows may still be coming down and will eventually reach the lake but for now, fishing is still very active there.

The Rio Grande is murky with the runoff from the streams to the south of the river. But the other feeder creeks such as Deep Creek and others feed in clean water to the river from the west and north and this helps dilute the dirty water from the affected areas. So while it is dirty, its not to the point where the fish are going to start suffering or dying.

I look for fishing to get better than its been in a long time as soon as the monsoon rains stop. The fish will not have been fished for in the river for a month or more by then and it should be fantastic as the water clears somewhat.  

I was also at Big Meadows but only for about 30 minutes. People were catching fish and the boaters who were trolling seemed to be catching fish on a regular basis. My dad and I had gone into Million Reservoir and found it so full of algae that it was just no fun. We had no bites there and so went on up the road to Beaver Lake. Its getting lower now and in a week or so will be down where it was last October.  

The access there is too hard for my dad and I so we just had a good look around, enjoyed the sunshine and the lake view and came on home. Its not always about catching fish but about the journey.  

We are all on that journey in life and if you miss out on the sights along the way, you end up without memories to tide you over in later years. Go out and enjoy the mountains while you can as they are all here for our enjoyment.  

Fishing up toward Creede Today

Today brought about more welcome showers in the mountains around South Fork and Creede and it was a nice cool day to be outdoors. I drove up toward Creede and did some target practice on the public land in that direction. I had bought a new .22 rifle and wanted to see how it shot and get the scope sighted in.

On the way back, I stopped in some Gold Medal Water and fished for about an hour. As I exited the truck I was surprised to see a large number of Green Drake flies buzzing around me and landing on my shirt sleeve. Stepping into the water I immediately was into fish and had fun with the browns that came to my hand. Most were in the 14 inch range and just a tad too large to keep if a person was fishing for supper. In that section the limit is two fish, twelve inches and shorter. I have talked about this before in a previous blog but if you are wanting some good eating trout, I suggest the local area lakes or the brook trout from the small streams high up in the mountain. I have learned to get a huge amount of pleasure from catch and release fishing now and most of the time its all about the strike and not actually keeping fish.  

The picture was taken from one of the bridges along the river and it shows the low water levels being experienced at this time. This section is usually a great raft ride with white water and as you can see, there isn't much there now. There are rumors that the Rio Grande Reservoir is under some kind of construction or repairs and maybe they are holding water for that activity. That and the drought is sure to have had an impact.  

However, the fish are still in the river and streams even if they are low. The low levels allows a person to wade much easier but takes a lot smaller fly and more careful presentation. The water is gin clear and the fish can see a long ways and will spot you if you are not careful.  

Today the size 14 Green Drake on top with a Pheasant Tail nymph in a size 10 did the job and 7 gorgeous browns graced my attempts, being released to fight another day.  

The fires continue to be a concern no doubt, but if you are wanting some first rate fishing, don't be afraid to come out and enjoy it. The activity is far from town and from the best parts of the river and you will be safe if you choose to fish here. I can connect you with motels or lodges and some good fishing spots if you want to contact me.  


Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River

South Fork, Colorado Fires, June 21, 2013

This morning dawned with extreme winds rattling the windows and the reverse 911 calls went out very early advising people to evacuate the town of South Fork south of Hwy 149 by 9 am. Both of the highways thru town are now closed for safety reasons and to allow both emergency responders safe access to the fire areas and to prevent looting.

It is so sad that following a disaster that looters would take advantage of other people and their losses.

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Creede Colorado and Papoose Fire

Last night I had a chance to catch up with a businessman from creede and it was a welcome meeting as his was the first house threatened by that fire and saved by a miracle.

The firefighters had already foamed the house in preparation for the fire moving thru and he said it was no more than 200 feet from the door when miraculously, the wind switched and drove the flames back. There are many stories like that and we can only thank providence for those kinds of salvations from disaster. While I do not understand why some are saved and others not, I am always thankful for the ones that are.  

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Fishing the Rio Grande Today

The smoke has cleared out some and being tired of sitting around waiting for the next emergency announcement, I decided it was time to get back to my routine of fishing. I have a great place to fish on the Rio Grande close to town. The night began with strikes almost immediately but I could not seem to hang a fish. I was fishing with a Royal Coachman number 12 on top and a size 10 Prince Bead head nymph on the bottom on a 24 inch dropper

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West Fork Fires, South Fork, Co. June 25, 2013

Morning dawned bright and sunny with little wind. We attended the briefing meeting at the Red Cross Shelter in Del Norte, Colorado this morning and learned about the progress of the firefighters with the inferno. The fire continues to burn of course but at a much slower rate at least near South Fork. A wind change direction is anticipated today and that may cause increased risks.

I am sitting out under the awning today under blue skies on the western side of town. I realize that many people want to come to their homes but so far the sheriff has only allowed the people north of hyw 149 access into and out of south fork. This is due to the dangers to the other areas posed by huge old pine and spruce trees in those areas that are not found here along the river. This is all open short grass areas with no trees to burn.  

We still need prayers about the wind and also need the summer monsoons to cone in and soak up this country. Normal conditions for July are daily showers and you dare not go anywhere without a rain suit during those times. An early start to that would be a godsend.

Last summer, my girlfriend Paula and I decided to walk in to a small lake seen on the map. it took us three times to find it but its the second time I want to share about. We normall carry a small pack with survival equipment and raincoats in it. I had taken mine out to use the day before and forgot to put it back in.  

After walking a short distance, it began to rain and when I reached into my pack, no rain suit. It was cold and dreary and the rain coming down steady. I got out my space blanket and improvised a poncho and sat there in the rain. Looking over to my girlfriend she was just standing there in the pouring rain lips pursed, upset that I forgot my coat. Not because I didn't have it but she has been on Mt. Everest and knows the dangers of hypothermia. I have seen the elephant however and all I could do was giggle at her. OF course that didn't help matters. We were a short hike back to the truck and I arrived there wet and cold and grinning. I had been wet before and needed a bath anyway. lol.  

The funniest part of this is that when we got to looking, she had an EXTRA rain suit in her back pack. Now that's funny.  

We finally found the lake and that's another blog for another time. Its pristine, hard to find and the fish bit every cast. .......kevin

West Fork Fire, South Fork Colorado

We are back in the RV park in South Fork, Colorado. There are about 20 people still in town and we seem to be safe since we are north of HWY 149, and there are no trees on this side of the Hwy. We are under a watchful condition tonight and will get up and check during the night for any new happenings so we are not surprised.

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Wolf Creek Pass Fire Update

West Fork Fire Complex Update -- June 19, 2013, 6:30 PM

When the Red Flag conditions developed this afternoon, both fires in the West Fork Complex became very active. The West Fork fire demonstrated extreme fire behavior and moved deeper into the Weminuche Wilderness.  As of 6:30, the fire had not crossed the Continental Divide. This fire generated the majority of smoke that was seen today.

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