Colorado – Day 6
Moved camp over the mountain to a National Forest Campground and went looking for the trailhead for another Rio Grande Cutthroat stream. Chris’ information said “50 yards past entrance to ranch is trailhead”. There was a Nat. Forest road, then a T in the road. To the left led to top of mountain, to the right was the “entrance” to the ranch. We didn’t see any trailhead, but our feeble minds didn’t think through the process and realize that the 50 yards from entrance meant on the OTHER side of the locked gate, not on our side. DUH! We would soon pay for this mistake.
We drove for what seemed like an hour to the top of the mountain. The topos showed a National Forest trail crossing our road, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. So we drove until the road ended which crossed the headwaters of our stream. We started hiking down along the stream until we noticed an old unmaintained FS trail which we decided to hike. It was a tough hike, climbing over fallen trees. At one point we saw a Golden Eagle and the pause it gave us reminded Chris that he’d left his rod laying back up the trail a good chunk. Yeah, it was ugly.
We hiked way way down to the first lake where we saw some dandy cutts cruising the banks. We worked them for a bit, but didn’t catch any. We proceeded to the outlet of the lake where if you could get a fly into the water you were sure to move fish. I moved about twenty cutts and landed three. These were without a doubt Rio Grande Cutthroat. SLAM!!! We fished about 45 minutes to an hour and we both started to get nervous about being so far into the wilderness with no trail so we chickened out and bailed. There were so many blowdowns in the stream anyway that it was a tough place to fish. The hike out was pure pain.
After coming out we bushwhacked into a nearby stream where we didn’t move a single fish in 15 minutes of fishing. So we again beat it out of there and headed back to camp. After a freeze dried dinner we drove over to the upper meadow section of the Conejos River for the evening hatch. There were caddis everywhere and no fish rising at all. I saw a total of two rises and nothing moved for my offerings.