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edwardo 03-26-2013 08:32 AM

July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
My wife and I will make a camping trip to northern New Mexico and Colorado this July (early to mid month) and I plan to fly fish as much as possible; hint, most of the campgrounds I have chosen are on some nice rivers ;). We'll be at Cimarron Canyon State Park near Taos for 4 days; Conejos River at Mogote, CO for 2 days; Molas Lake, CO for 3 days; Ridgeway State Park in CO for 3 days; RMNP for 3 days; and Camp Dick on the Middle St Vrain for 3 days. So, the options for fishing is the Cimarron, Red, Rio Grande, Rio Hondo, Rio Costillo while at Cimarron; Conejos River while at Mogote; Animas while at Molas Lake; Uncompahgre and Cimarron rivers while at Ridgeway; and too numerous to list while at RMNP and Camp Dick.

I'm willing to do 2-3 days with a guide in various places. My question is: On what rivers near these places would I get the most bang for the buck in hiring a guide? I've only been fly fishing for 2 years so am still new to the addiction. What rivers are fairly easy fishing for newbies where I could do well on my own? One place I plan to hire a guide is while at RMNP since my son will meet us there and he will need more help than me.

Also (tongue-in-cheek) who would volunteer to meet me and give me some tips while there? :icon_lol:

cimarron 03-26-2013 09:14 AM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
Hi, Edwardo - I can help with fishing/camping near Cimarron. I Fish it every year in Sept. The Cimarron is very easy to get to as it runs along highway 64. I usually stay in the town of Cimarron and drive up to the Pallisades area and others. There is a small fee for parking in the turn-offs. Bring a short fly rod as the Cimarron is very brushy in most places. Go to U-Tube and type "fishing the Cimarron" to see some views. When driving up to the strean from Cimarron(town) you may want to stop in Ute park at Pine Ridge sta for licence and flies. Also, you can contact Doc Thompson for a guide. He can get you into private waters if so desired. Note that the Cimarron will be crowded in July but you can drive up and down the highway looking for solitude. You can camp at Gravel Pit lake, its just down the road from Palisades. Now if its solitude you want, drive up through Red River and Questa to Costilla and fish Rio Costilla for sure! Not hard to find, only one road in. Google Rio Costilla for more detailed directions. Also U-Tube has a few videos on the Valle Vidal area(Rio Costilla). You'll love this area, camp at Cimarron campground, 1/2 mile hike to Shuree ponds for some really nice trout. I'll be there in Sept so leave me a few fish! Good luck, Glen

jeepster II 03-26-2013 10:05 AM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
That's quite a trip. I wish I was doing that. The only place I would reconsider is Ridgway State Park. The campsites are on windy hillsides with no shade. The half mile tail water coming out of the dam is not a destination fishery. The beginning and end are okay but the rest is along the walkway of non fisher's. The fly shop in ridgway is great. They have guide trips that take you to whichever stream is on fire within a 45 minute drive. The koa is a better place to camp 6 miles away toward ouray.

dwtalso 03-26-2013 01:34 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
For the RMNP stop in at any or all of Kirk's Fly Shop, Estes Anglers, or Scot's Sporting Goods for reports or guides. My only experience with guides (many years ago) are through Scot's and I can highly recommend them and the folks in the shop are nice and friendly. I stop in and see them every year. I've shopped at Kirk's and Estes Anglers and they are nice too so I don't think you can go wrong. Scot's is a small shop with a mix low end gear, the other two are "boutique" fly shops with the higher end stuff and more selection.

Be prepared to be flexible up there this year. The Fern Lake Fire was finally put out in January and it burned a huge chunk of Big Thompson Valley and Moraine Park which may (probably will) adversely impact fishing on the Big Thompson drainage. I'm not sure what other drainages were affected so best to check it all out and plan accordingly :).

son_of_simon 03-26-2013 07:42 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
The Camp Dick area is one of my favorites to go camping in. We normally backpack in a mile or two and find some good sites to camp. Fishing is mostly small stream pocket water for small fish. They're usually willing to rise to a big dry, but can be surprisingly selective for a small stream. It's a lot of fun if you're not in search of big fish. I'd recommend taking a day to hike the areas instead of fishing. If you're traveling that far just to fish, I'd say there are better places to go, but if fishing isn't the main reason for the local, you picked some good spots.

alpobodog 03-28-2013 02:20 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
Drive a little farther west and fish the San Juan, best river in NM. Easy to fish, lots of big fish.You could fish it without a guide. I could also recommend several good guides.

edwardo 03-31-2013 01:13 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
"If you're traveling that far just to fish, I'd say there are better places to go, but if fishing isn't the main reason for the local, you picked some good spots."

This is definitely an all-around trip, not just fishing. If could get my wife interested in fly fishing, maybe I could get more time on the water. But until that time comes, I'll have to compromise and do other things also. Planning to do some hiking and back-road driving also.

rabbitriver 04-01-2013 02:30 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
Conejos River. Good and affordable (as guides go) guides. Jon Harp at Conejos River Anglers is the real deal. Google search them and check out the fishing reports. Just don't tell anyone else.
Planning to be up there most of July and can always use an excuse to fish.
Good luck with the trip.

jborn 04-01-2013 04:30 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
An excellent guide for Northern NM is Doc Thompson.

Doc Thompson

A great area is the rio costilla. Not on the way to anywhere but truly beautiful with lost of fish in the small stream.


jimmorgan 04-01-2013 05:35 PM

Re: July trip to New Mexico & Colorado
New guy here but used Kirk's once. Helpful people.

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