What to bring on a float trip
A float trip is a great way to see a river and cover miles and miles of water. The anglers just sit back or stand casting a fly along the banks and pockets while your guide is cranking on the oars keeping you in the "sweet spot." Another advantage to a float trip is the fact you can lug a lot of gear. Extra layers, rain gear, waders, camera and even a beer or two. Listed below are a few tips and ideas to help you gear-up for an AVA float trip.

Rods and reels
A 9 foot fly rod is best. As for weight, that depends on the type of fishing. For nymphing a 5 or 6 weight will be perfect. That same 6 weight will work perfectly when slinging heavy streamers to the bank. A 4 weight will fish most dry flies, however a 5 weight can be a bit more versatile because you never know when your guide might have you casting a monster foam hopper, or a #20 midge or #4 lead-eyed sculpin.

Fly fishing clothing and waders
Due to the ever changing western weather, the right clothing is just as important as a rod and reel. In most seasons, including summer time, you need to bring plenty of layers. Fleece pants and top are a good idea under the waders and rain gear is a must. A fleece jacket or vest can be nice to help ward off morning chills. Rain pants and Gore-Tex jackets go a long way if caught in an afternoon thunderstorm. Gore-Tex waders are also nice regardless of season, but shorts or quick dry pants work nice on the hot days with river sandals or wading boots. Studded boots are fine for some of our wade trips, but are not raft or drift boat friendly.

On winter and spring trips extra layers, wool or fleece gloves, warm socks and a warm hat and are a must. In most cases the guides will have extras.

Besides the right clothing and waders; bring along the camera, sun screen, polarized sunglasses and a sun hat.

Rafts and drift boats
We float in modern rafts and drift boats. Drift boats are made of fiberglass, wood or a plastic polymer and range in lengths of 15 to 16 feet long. There is room for one or two anglers, gear, cooler, the guide and maybe a dog. There is plenty of storage for gear and grub. Both anglers can sit or stand to fish. When standing the anglers just lock their legs in thigh braces to help with balance while casting.

Rafts, at times, make for the best mode of transportation on many of our rivers due to their ability to float when rivers get low and rocky. When flows are low rafts are easy to control and maneuver in tight situations. The front angler sits on a padded dry box or padded swivel seat. Anglers also have the option to stand using a thigh bar to balance while casting. The ridged flooring or the inflated floor makes for a steady casting platform. The rear angler fishes from a padded swivel seat that has a back rest. The back angler can also stand using the seat or thigh bar for a brace.

Both drift boats and rafts have storage for additional rods rigged with alternative types of flies in safe and protective rod holders. We always have back-up rods in the boats for the rare and untimely rod snap.

Float Fishing Seasons

  • Spring (March to the middle of May): Animas, Dolores, Rio Grande, the upper San Juan near Pagosa and the San Juan below Navajo are all float options. Due to spring snow-melt some of our rivers in Colorado can vary considerably. When streams and rivers are muddy we offer trips on Root Pond, our private pond near Cortez. Early spring is one of the best times to fish the pond. The San Juan, located in New Mexico will also be flowing clear and perfect in the spring.
    Spring Specials
  • Summer (Middle of May to the end of August): Animas, Rio Grand, Dolores, Root Pond, upper San Juan near Pagosa and San Juan below Navajo offer float fishing.
    Summer Specials
  • Fall (September to the middle of November): Fall can offer great float fishing, however weather plays a big roll. Depending on summer and fall rains the Animas and Rio Grande can offer float fishing. The San Juan, below Navajo will always have the floatable flows.
  • Winter (Middle of November to late February): Our best float fishing is on the San Juan below Navajo Dam. It offers consistent flows and insect hatches to make it our best (only) floatable river in the winter.
    Winter Fly Fishing

Regardless of the time of year we will always have a float fishing option for you and your group. If there is a river you want to fish and the conditions are not right, we will do our best to have a solid backup plan.