Guest blog provided by Jimmy Largent
As an obsessed fly fisherman and fly fishing guide, I get asked frequently about the Gold King Mine accident and how it has affected us and our business. The truth is, it affects us personally more than anything. I have lived here all of my life and the spill made myself, and many others, realize that these waters can't be taken for granted. The great thing about this part of the state is our endless options for fly fishing all year round!
1. Pine River
The Pine River runs from Vallecito Lake down, through the town of Bayfield and ends up in the Navajo Reservoir. Much of it is private water but there is a section through Bayfield that is public. It is also accessible on Southern Ute tribal waters. A special permit is required to fish this section. The Pine is a special place with special trout. Hoppers, stonefly nymphs, and caddis larvae patterns produce great brown and rainbow trout. It is a very fast river so the fish have serious muscle. They are not afraid to rip line off your drag and get into fast current!
2. Piedra River
Located about an hour from Durango, the Piedra offers pretty trout as well as stunning views. I prefer fishing stone fly patterns (wet or dry). We have seen plenty of fish get over twenty inches in the Piedra so hold on!!
3. High-Country Streams
Summertime fishing is always exciting because you can get into the high country and chase giant Cutthroat and Brook Trout. When I'm in the high country, fishing is just a bonus to the landscape you’re surrounded by. Some of my favorite places to fish in the high country include: Cascade Creek, Lime Creek, Vallecito Creek, Upper Pine River and Bear Creek. There is something about putting on one dry-fly for the entire day and catching fifty fish, each one as beautiful as the last.
4. Vallecito Lake
Home of real-life dragons. Vallecito is 45 minutes out of Durango and offers world-class Northern Pike fishing. Near state-record trout have been found as well. Walleye and Smallmouth Bass have been known to hammer big flies. This lake can be tricky at times but when it happens, it really happens.
5. Electra Lake
Located 20 minutes North of Durango, this lake produces some serious trout that have no problems with eating all day and getting fat. There is a small fee to access the lake but I assure you, it’s well worth it. The crayfish population in Electra is astronomical so the go-to fly, you guessed it, a crayfish pattern.
The local fishing community is friendly and knowledgable. There are some excellent guide services in town and we all are dedicated to our home waters. If you decide to take a guided trip, I am confident that you will be treated like a friend and fellow fisherman. You can find me at The San Juan Angler. Stop by and chat sometime. We would be happy to take you out or just point you in the right direction!
Other great area attractions: