Rio Grande @ Lobatos Bridge - Great Beginner Float! - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 07-06-2015   #1
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Rio Grande @ Lobatos Bridge - Great Beginner Float!

Hey Gang, I just wanted to do a quick write-up on the Rio Grande just north of the New Mexico Boarder. It is a BEAUTIFUL stretch of river and perfect for beginners! There is not much info available out there on this stretch and not much traffic on the water either.

We own a piece of property on the Rio Grande just south of the Lobatos Bridge that is one of the only pieces of "beach" for miles. This is our "Base Camp" & the Take Out.

The Float: From: Hwy 142 Bridge east of Manassa To: Lobatos Bridge on 'G' Road east of Antonito. Apx 11 Miles. 4-6 hours @ 600-800 CFS. Almost all slow flat water with only 2 sets of "riffles".

Put-In: The easiest place to Put-In is on the North-West side of the 142 bridge. There is a little 'road' on the NW corner of the bridge that takes you a few hundred yards up river. There is a fence between the 'road' and river, but a few hundred yards up there is a gate that can be opened and you can drive right to the water. We were able to literately slide our boats off the trailer into the water! The west side of the river is all BLM so there are no access worries.

Take-Out(s): There are several good & easy take outs just downstream of the Lobatos Bridge. There is a 2-track road the heads south on the west side of the Lobatos Bridge with 3-4 places that you can drive right to the water's edge within the first mile. The East side is all private property but this is where "our property" is. (our property is the last piece of 'beach' before you go into the "Real Canyon")

The Shuttle: Pretty much a straight shot on the east side of the river. The road is called Rio Grande Ave @ the 142 end and called Road 28 @ the 'G' Road end. We had friends and a second rig so it was a cinch, but this would be a perfect shuttle for a mountain bike or even dirt bike if you didn't have the second rig. (The Dirt Bike was our plan B if we went without a second car) It's all dirt roads in the middle of nowhere so really Mountain Bike, Dirt Bike, or ATV would be perfect.

Hazards: None to speak of! There are always concerns of FENCES when floating a lonely stretch of river through agricultural land, but we didn't encounter any. There are a few spots where fences come down to the water's edge, but the had nice corner braces near the water and the fences ended. There is also a thin cable that sometimes hangs from the LEFT SIDE of the Lobatos Bridge and trails down the river. The cable was not hanging in the water this time, but I noticed it up on the bridge as I crossed on our way out. Not really a hazard, even if it is in the water, just pay attention or stay RIGHT of the single bridge abutment.

We ran laps on this stretch on July 2nd & 3rd and had a blast. My wife had only rowed for an hour at the lake before this trip. She was on the oars from the minute we launched with no difficulty, and after running the float twice she has enough 'oar time' that she should be able to row most of the BV Milk Run unassisted now.

The wildlife was awesome.....but the fishing was slow, maybe due to the high water and heat. We saw beavers, muskrats, Red Tail Hawks, a bunch of Great Horned Owls, Mule Deer, & TONS of cool small birds. There is also a heard of Wild Horses the live down there, but we didn't see them on this trip.

All-in-all a great family float! Perfect for the dogs & kids.

Next trip we will put in farther north @ Rd "Z" near Lasauses and do the longer float.

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Old 07-06-2015   #2
El Chupanibre
 
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ERIE, Colorado
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 132
What is the length of the float?

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Old 07-06-2015   #3
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soot Buster View Post
The Float: From: Hwy 142 Bridge east of Manassa To: Lobatos Bridge on 'G' Road east of Antonito. Apx 11 Miles. 4-6 hours @ 600-800 CFS. Almost all slow flat water with only 2 sets of "riffles".
About 11 Miles give or take
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Old 07-06-2015   #4
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 11
Oops....I forgot to mention Camping!

Camping: The entire West side of the river is BLM and there are plenty of spots that a camp can be set mid float. The best bet however would to just set up camp at either the Put-In or Take-Out. Setting up camp at the Put-In is doable but the camping at the Take-Out is better. A tent/car camp can be made at any of the Take-Out spots below the bridge on the West side, even an RV or Camper Trailer would work if you are adventurous. We camp on the East side on "Our Beach". If a person were to camp over on "Our Beach", I can't grant "Permission" because the access is through other private property, but I can say that there is a 'relatively little chance' of getting run off. Be respectful, don't leave a mess.........and if you find a 9' Carlisle Oar with a faded red/pink blade in the shallow water just off our beach I'd like it back.
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Old 07-06-2015   #5
El Chupanibre
 
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ERIE, Colorado
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Went to Adams State, got into boating because of the outdoor program, and never realized that float was there.

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Old 07-06-2015   #6
 
Dolores, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
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Great information. Thank you so much. I love having easy flat water options for the fam...thanks again.

-Will


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Old 07-08-2015   #7
$5 shower
 
Historic Montrose, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
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Maybe a silly question but what was the fishing like? I read 'slow', were you fly fishing or gear?

This could be a fantastic float for stone fly hatch. Maybe too late for this year.

Ken
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Old 07-08-2015   #8
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Great write up - I looked briefly at this section a while ago; I'll put it on the list for family floats. Thanks~
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Old 07-09-2015   #9
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Ken,

By "slow" fishing I mean "Really Slow!" Two of us fished pretty hard for 2 days and didn't boat a single fish. Had 1 confirmed Pike Hook-up (confirmed 'cuz he ripped all but a few wraps of thread off the fly).

We were fishing both fly & spin. Lots of different Flys, from big to little & many colors. Spinning we tried Rapalas & some other spin/crank baits.

My Dad, Brothers, & I have fished this stretch several times a year for at least 10 years. We aren't "Pros" or anything, but I would say that the Arnold Boys fish with the best of 'em, and we have never "hammered" them down there. If you catch 2 Pike in a day you did good, and if you can pull out even 1 Brown you are doing good. Best luck has always been in the winter or early spring, when the water is still cold & running 200-400ish CFS.

I've never floated it in the winter, just worked the banks. This year we will try a winter float and see if we can figure out those Pike!
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