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Fishing the Pagosa Springs Area

Capt. Scott Taylor
April 30, 2010
Pagosa Springs - Freshwater Fishing Report


We are now permitted in the San Juan National Forest

The streams of the upper San Juan are not at ALL like the San Juan in New Mexico. These unspoiled rivers and creeks start just miles above where we will be fishing. The 10,000-foot peaks that are still packed with snow in July feed these intimate rivers on their way to the Navajo Reservoir and then the Tail water section of the San Juan that everyone knows. Some of the many streams that we are permitted on through the San Juan National Forest are the West Fork and East Fork of the San Juan, Quartz Creek, Wolf Creek, Turkey Creek, The Upper Piedra, and the Rio Blanco. These streams are great for beginners and experienced anglers alike. We will access most of the fishing areas on foot or on a 4 wheeler. The fish average 8 15 inches and are eager for dry flies and dropper rigs. Small steams will often give the beginner fly fisherman many more opportunities to hook fish on the dry fly.

One of my favorites - Wolf Creek!

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Turkey Creek: This is one of my favorites, of the small creeks that we guide. We can fish this section of river most of the summer and into the fall, and almost never see anyone all day. It is a small creek 4-8 feet wide in most places and a little over grown in some sections and wide open in others. It is a freestone river (no dam) lots of big boulders and pocket water mixed with plunge pools and fast drops. This great little river offers one of the better shots at a big fish then any of the other creeks in the area. We see fish in the 12-15" class often on this creek. It is easy to access there is a short down hill hike to the river about mile. This wonderful little river is full of bookies, browns, bows, and a few cuts and run from 8-15". Most fish on this river are suckers for dry flies and a #16 yellow stone or a caddis are some of the best bugs. A small beadhead dropper is sometimes fished in the deeper runs but we MUCH prefer to fish all dry flies here. The setting is Breathtaking 10,000 foot peaks all around you and nothing but miles and miles of pines, aspen, and unspoiled wilderness. All the small creeks in this area are truly solitary angling at it best; after all you came here to get away form it all right!

A Turkey Creek Cutt.

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Piedra Creek: This river is one of the easiest to access in the areas that we guide near Pagosa. It is also one of the prettiest rivers I have ever fished. Open meadows, deep dark alpine forest all set in one of the most beautiful valleys in the area. 10,000-foot peaks surround you as you're on the hunt for brook, browns and a few cut bows. The trout are eager on dry flies and rise well all summer. If you are willing to hike for a little bit you'll get away from the water that other people fish and find willing fish in wonderful soundings. Fish on the Piedra are 8-12" and willing, dry fly-fishing at its very best in a high country setting.

Wolf Creek: This is a great small stream, not as easy to get to as many of the other's but often that is what makes the fishing better. This is a small creek 2-5 feet wide in most area and a little over grown. Brook, browns, and bows will more then make the hike well worth it, as the lack of pressure makes for over eager fish and lots of them! Small pools and pocket water with on your hands and knees approach and all dry fly action makes for a memorable day! Fish on this river are going to be 6-10" on average but every cast could yield a small stream trophy. If seeing no one on your fishing trip is what you like this is YOUR River. Unspoiled wilderness, 1,500-foot cliffs and 10,000-foot peaks everywhere you look, after your day you might have a little better idea of what heaven looks like!

Rio Blanco: This is probably the most under fished river in our area, this river is a true adventure every time. Because of the limited amount of time even our guides spend on this river it's a wonderful challenge every time. This river is the most southern of the rivers that we guide in Colorado and will fish well right at the end of runoff season, and get to low for fishing as early as Aug 1st. This river falls in the truest southwestern setting of all the southern Colorado Rivers we guide. Mesa's to the south 10,000 foot peaks of wolf creek pass to the north and a wonderful mixed setting of high dessert and mountain fertility.. Fish are eager and willing to take dry flies all season. Caddis and small stones are the main stay for this river so stimmys and peacock caddis are the normal bugs. Solitary angling at its best, unexplored, under fished, seldom seen and impossible to forget! Un-chain your self, form the day to day and jump into the unexplored and re-find your self on the Rio Blanco.

A 50 minute hike to some awesome fishing. The Rio fishes good throught run-off.

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This one fell for a Stone Fly.

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High Country Fishing Charters is an equal opportunity employer and service provider operating under special use permit on the San Juan National forest.

Pagosa Springs Fishing Forecast:

Snow pack is very good, there will be excellent condintions later in the year. Run-off is starting. Streams like the Rio Blanco, Lower San Juan and Navajo lake will fish very well during run-off

Target Species:

trout, pike, bass

More Fishing Reports:


Join a Pagosa Springs Fishing Guide for a great day fishing on Southwest CO's high mountain streams and Northern NM on Navajo Lake and the " Quality Waters" of the San Juan River. Species fished on a guided fly fishing trip, include Bass, Pike, Trout, Crappie, Salmon and more while Fly Fishing Pagosa Springs, CO. Fly fishing and spin fishing trips with artificial lures and flys are offered on Navajo Lake, and fly fishing only trips are offered on the "Quality Waters" of the San Juan River.

Contact Info:

High Country Fishing Charters
558 Ginger Cir.
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Phone: 970-946-5229
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