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Has anyone been float fishing below Platoro Dam on the Conejos in recent years? I'm wanting to check it out with a 10.5fter set up for fishing but not sure of which sections are feasible. Tight lines
 

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I have been whitewater kayaking on it in recent years, and I wouldn't suggest the upper sections for float fishing.... I assume your referring to the lower stretches, but I would not suggest taking a raft above the confluence of the Conejos and it's south fork. That's where we usually hike out with kayaks, and it's not a good launch. Hopefully someone can provide you with better beta for the lower reaches, but I have heard people talk about barb wire down there....
 

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Conejos in IKs ?

I'd also like to check out any reach of the Conejos with IKs, and maybe a 12' baby-cat. I don't mind portaging a few fences but do need to confirm access points.
The lower stretch along the highway looks to be easily navigable, but at least one diversion dam shows up on Google maps.
 

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I've paddled the Conejos from where it crosses CO17 down to the Mogote campground. First couple of miles is a float, then things pick up about half way thru the run with wave trains, blind corners, and a slot/drop rapid just above the Aspen Glade campground. It was fun. (1100 cfs) No dams or wire, a few avoidable strainers and lots of private property.

Put in is at the Ponderosa Campground RV park on CO17, take out is the fisherman's parking at the Mogote campground. Easy bicycle shuttle.

Have you tried the Rio Grande by Creede through Wagon Wheel Gap and the Palisades CG? Lots of fishing rigs on that stretch.
 

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Thanks Southbound!
That's just what I needed to commit to setting up a Conejos trip this spring.
I've not done the upper Rio Grande yet, but did set the bar high after a 2014 trip on the Gunnison from Chucker trail during the hatch.
I'd just looking for something closer with easier logistics.
 

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Scott, I am definitely interested in checking out the pinnacle gorge section. its only @ 3 hrs from santa fe. also EF San juan is same region too, maybe as a quick two day. Apparently I have less time for paddling then i used to but I have been wanting to hit it for a while.
 

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May14-15

I plan to set something up for May 14-15 and will keep you posted Abron.
Probably Piedra, maybe Conejos, depending on flows and group.
I have only done a portion of the East Fork SJ and would like to continue on down to the confluence, maybe even on into Pagosa.
SYOTR.
 

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hey Rojo, we have a small group of Ik's out of Montrose, Co. that plans on coming that way first part of May also, to run the upper Piedra, upper SanJuan, and Pinnacle Gorge of Conejos all three. They are all close enough to enjoy and make the trip so memorable, getting a triple dose of new runs for all of us. Keep us updated on exact dates maybe we could hook up. Gunther at 970-497-6512. Thanks
 

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Scott, I am definitely interested in checking out the pinnacle gorge section. its only @ 3 hrs from santa fe. also EF San juan is same region too, maybe as a quick two day. Apparently I have less time for paddling then i used to but I have been wanting to hit it for a while.
Although the Conejos and EF San Juan are extremely close as the crow flies, Elwood Pass is very rough and even if your vehicle could make it, I'm not sure it's actually going to be any faster than going around. It ends up being a couple hours between the 2. I would enjoy another trip to both drainages this season.

Strainers amidst whitewater is why I would not recommend the Pinnacle Gorge (or sections above) to rafts.



The hike in and out at the South Fork confluence is probably a 1/2 mile and a few hundred feet of elevation....but the meadow at the river access is a special place, and right on the border of the South San Juan Wilderness.

 

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Although the Conejos and EF San Juan are extremely close as the crow flies, Elwood Pass is very rough and even if your vehicle could make it, I'm not sure it's actually going to be any faster than going around. It ends up being a couple hours between the 2. I would enjoy another trip to both drainages this season.

Strainers amidst whitewater is why I would not recommend the Pinnacle Gorge (or sections above) to rafts.



The hike in and out at the South Fork confluence is probably a 1/2 mile and a few hundred feet of elevation....but the meadow at the river access is a special place, and right on the border of the South San Juan Wilderness.

That was a wonderful weekend. Mighty handsome guy in those pics. :)
 

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hey Rojo, we have a small group of Ik's out of Montrose, Co. that plans on coming that way first part of May also, to run the upper Piedra, upper SanJuan, and Pinnacle Gorge of Conejos all three. They are all close enough to enjoy and make the trip so memorable, getting a triple dose of new runs for all of us. Keep us updated on exact dates maybe we could hook up. Gunther at 970-497-6512. Thanks
Gunther, I can only make the dates of May 14-15 and will post any plans.
We also have a similar mission up to your area June 7-12 to explore new-to-us rivers with one of your locals on the San Miguel, Upper Gunnison, Taylor,...

Logan, Those pictures partly inspired my interest in running the Conejos this year. Thanks for sharing. The video here also makes me want to see the middle section near Aspen Glade Campground. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv15-qwM1Sk
 

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May 13-15 paddle weekend

Shoot me a pm with your e-mail to get on the distro list for plans this weekend on Lower Conejos or East Fork San Juan and Piedra. The Platoro release looks to be turned off again, ruling out the upper reach.
http://www.dwr.state.co.us/SurfaceWater/data/detail_graph.aspx?ID=CONPLACO&MTYPE=DISCHRG

The current storm passing through Southern CO has gages dropping, but we will see how things shape up on Wed/Thur and determine final camping and put-in locations based on cfs and responses of those committed to joining us.

Rojo
 

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Yo, Rojo did you forget to hit the reply tab,or are we suppose to upgrade our psychic abilities to figure out this post. Our group is definitely headed out of Montrose for a weekend gig somewhere just quite haven't narrowed it down yet. MY preference is leaning towards Piedra and Upper SanJuan for sure, just not sure we can all get away for 3 days. What's your river plan for this weekend, would maybe like to hook-up. Mostly an older group of Ik's, with solid Intermediate skills. Should have definite plans on destination by Wed. so lets touch base then.
 

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God Amongst Men
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Yo, Rojo did you forget to hit the reply tab,or are we suppose to upgrade our psychic abilities to figure out this post. Our group is definitely headed out of Montrose for a weekend gig somewhere just quite haven't narrowed it down yet. MY preference is leaning towards Piedra and Upper SanJuan for sure, just not sure we can all get away for 3 days. What's your river plan for this weekend, would maybe like to hook-up. Mostly an older group of Ik's, with solid Intermediate skills. Should have definite plans on destination by Wed. so lets touch base then.
gunnar its ok buddy, his post got put in white somehow.

"Shoot me a pm with your e-mail to get on the distro list for plans this weekend on Lower Conejos or East Fork San Juan and Piedra. The Platoro release looks to be turned off again, ruling out the upper reach."
 

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Yo, Rojo did you forget to hit the reply tab,or are we suppose to upgrade our psychic abilities to figure out this post. Our group is definitely headed out of Montrose for a weekend gig somewhere just quite haven't narrowed it down yet. MY preference is leaning towards Piedra and Upper SanJuan for sure, just not sure we can all get away for 3 days. What's your river plan for this weekend, would maybe like to hook-up. Mostly an older group of Ik's, with solid Intermediate skills. Should have definite plans on destination by Wed. so lets touch base then.
East Fork gate is still closed (San Juan), Middle Fork road is open though (Piedra). Conejos isn't flowing...

I have a Browns Canyon fundraiser on Saturday night, but would be willing to road trip somewhere and meet you guys just for Sunday.

The following weekend (21st) is my birthday and I am definitely planning a full weekend of paddling.

I would suggest you go with someone who is familiar with the East Fork and/or Piedra Gunther. At solid flows both runs will be pushing your comfort level and I think you will have a better time if someone knows the lines....
 

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Conejos, Alamosa and San Antonio all had good water in them where they cross 285 yesterday. Still have some exploring to do on them. The Chama, which drains the same area, had almost 3,000 in the Mama Chama section a couple days ago. We caught it at 1,400 on Sunday. Its a fun beauty float with a little class 2/3 action. No fences from the Brazos confluence to the reservoir. The Brazos was/is running. Looked at that from the box down. That could be a worthy class 3ish float.
 

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Piedra May 14

Sorry for white text Gunther, I still choose to use the MB blue background for better contrast viewing and when I copied text from another site I guess I screwed it up.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/138601749521551/

Upper Conejos had a release last weekend, but I don't know if that is the routine and the NFS rangers couldn't provide a contact for the Platoro gate keeper to confirm plans.
The lower Conejos would likely be a good low-flow run for our IKs, even without the Platoro release, but I have not yet run that reach.

San Juan from Pagosa through Mesa Canyon is easy 19 mile float with a few added features that add interest. Good fallback if any IKs aren't comfortable with Piedra.

I have run both sections of the Piedra, but only in 14' raft and 12' baby-cat. Honestly, we only stop to scout Eye of the needle slot and that can be portaged, but bottom section is still a must-run. Rafts are harder to stop in swift current and the narrow channel of the Piedra often has only one line so it becomes a matter of boat angle and dynamic weight placement.
The put in for the upper reach is narrow enough to require a sweep-boat style for oar boats in a few spots, and mind that down-stream oar. Upper section would be great for strong/intermediate IKs and decide at midway bridge whether to continue down river.The bottom reach is where the bigger drops are located and with the middle gate open it is possible to pick just one half of the Piedra. I believe we (3-4) are also leaning towards the entire Piedra this Saturday and repeat or attempt some part of San Juan on Sunday. Friday primitive camping near lower Piedra takeout late Friday night likely and decide from there.


I have kayaked EF from first bridge, setting safety at upstream portage for others, but we all took out and hiked boats up hillside to picnic/camping area. I would like to see what lies below and continue this run down to hwy 160 or Pagosa, but I hear the gate is still locked on FR667.

Hope you can join us.
Final details by Thur pm.
Rojo 505-400-6124
 

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Platoro release

Conejos gage at Platoro is on the rise again, but I've committed to the Piedra for this weekend.
Detail Graph

I'll post a report after the Piedra and hope to see someone's report from Conejos soon.
Rojo
 
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