Like many of our rivers, the Pine River has its share of public and private waters. I tried out both. To get to the public section, I parked at the Pine River Campground and hiked up three miles past the private Granite Peaks Ranch (aptly named.) The hike was relatively benign and the fishing turned out to be excellent. This water was above Vallecito Reservoir, so I expected the fishing to be less than fruitful. Instead, with a combo of caddis dry flies and some nymph fishing (heaven forbid!) I brought in several beautiful small brown trout.
The private waters were accessible through Duranglers Fly Shop in Durango. The property was located directly below the Vallecito Dam, so we had some of the best fishing available to us without another angler in sight all day. The problem involved the fact that this stretch of river demanded that all aspects of your fly-fishing game be in sync.
I loved the challenge of being introduced to some of the most difficult trout fishing I’ve ever tried and it brought to light what I still need to work on. This section of the river normally produces large numbers of monstrous fish, but this was not the case for me. The enormous boulders proved to be excellent shelters and escape routes for the fish I hooked such that I was only able to bring in one all day.
I did get a view of one of the beautiful fish that this part of the river houses when my guide battled a beautiful rainbow for 20 minutes or so hopping up and down boulders being led down stream. It was worth the battle because this is one of the most colorful trout I have ever seen. Next year for me…