Rio Grande - Float: Gold Medal Waters at South Fork/Del Norte
- South Fork
- Del Norte
- Car (4x4 not required)
- Late Spring/Summer/Fall
Directions to the put-in: Travel 3 miles east on Hwy 160 to the left hand turn for County Road 19. Put-in under the bridge at the river on the northeast side of the road. Directions to the takeout: Get back out on Hwy 160 from County Road 19 and travel 8 miles east toward Del Norte. The Hanna Lane/County Road 15 turn is on the north side of Hwy160. Proceed one mile to Hanna Lane bridge and look for driveway/river access on the southeast side of the bridge.
- Rainbow Trout
- Brown Trout
- Float Fishing
- Non-motorized Boats Allowed
A trip through Gold Medal Waters: Lower Alpine to Hanna Lane Bridge
The Hanna Lane float is not for the faint of heart. While one of the best sections of the Gold Medal Waters, it is also one of the longest. The river is wider and slower and begins to snake through this section adding miles with every turn. The fish are the largest and most finicky you will encounter in all of the Rio Grande River. When the wind blows you will have to row yourself downriver! That being said, can you tell I’m trying to scare you off one of my favorite sections of river? I love this float in early summer before the mosquitoes are a menace. Any boat from a personal pontoon to a sixteen foot maravia raft can go down this stretch. With huge cottonwoods, hay pastures and foothills of sage in the distance, its a sight to behold, this piece of the Rio. River Island Ranch and their neighbor Silo Ranch run cattle and horses on the meadows and elk, deer and the occasional antelope can be seen.
The biggest brown I've ever seen caught on the Rio Grande was in this stretch! However once again, there are a few things to consider: 1. It is all private lands. There is no in-between spots to take-out and rest; and 2. The bugs can be unbearable mid summer -- I mean, we are all bug-loving fisherman, but once “Off” spray seems like attractant vs. repellant, I'm done!
The best part of this float is the couple-mile-stretch just before the take-out. Enjoy public access wade fishing along the bank to the west of the take-out on the north side of the river. If you still haven't had enough or you just want to wade fish the next morning before heading out of town, try this area on Hanna Lane. I waded it two weeks ago in April and saw a giant blue heron wade fishing against the sunset and almost got struck by lighting. Lord, I love the big river.