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Phone:  505-632-2194 Outfitting Fishermen for the San Juan since 1958 Navajo Dam, NM  87419
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The Restaurant - El Pescador - Closed for Winter Season

San Juan USGS River Flow 357 cfs Water Clarity:   1' - 1' 1/2 Visibility Abe's 50 Year Celebration
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                   Bad Day at Texas Creek Cover                                                                                         

Jay Walden's Bad Day At Texas Creek takes you down dusty, gravel roads, with a fly rod under the wiper blade, and a dog's head out the side window. His irreverent view from the windshield, that occasionally appears more like a fun-house mirror, makes you glad you came along for the ride. Whether you're a fly fisherman, dog lover, or none of the above, you'll enjoy this collection of short stories about life and adventure in the Rocky Mountain West.

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Fishing Report
March 1, 2015

San Juan Weekly Fishing Report 
Well, it's been a long time coming, but it looks like we are finally getting a little taste of winter here on the San Juan. Better late than never I say, especially where the snow is concerned. According to the latest info I saw, the Wolf Creek ski area has received 74 inches of new snow in the last seven days—much needed snow, I might add. Although it's hard to give up sunny weather with temperatures in the 60's, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make when the end result is gonna help boost the snowpack in the southern San Juans. Now if we can just get a few more storms like these last two, before the snowpack peaks in mid-April, we may stand a chance of having a high water Spring release and avoid low flows throughout the remaining part of the year. It's a long shot, I admit, but you can't blame a man for hoping. Even if it's only a 5,000 cfs release for a couple of days (like the one we had three years ago) I think it would do wonders for this river. In case you're wondering why that's a big deal, consider this: the area below Simon Canyon was badly silted in late last summer and a lot of people that fished that area before, are now avoiding it like the plague. That concentrates more fishermen into the upper portion of the Quality Waters, and when we have flows like we have been seeing at 250 and 350 cfs, those areas can get a little crowded, since those types of flows dramatically reduce the amount of fishable water to begin with. Secondly, we haven't seen a high water Spring release for going on three years now, due to drought conditions in the area and the buildup of didimo in the river is the worst I can ever remember seeing here. As an example, Bad Day at Texas Creek Imagebefore Simon Canyon blew out last summer, most of the places where stream structure was added in the Durangler's Corner area, were so clogged with this stuff that you didn't dare wade through it, much less, attempt to fish it. I can remember tumble weeds piled up on the top of this buildup in front of the boulders, that's how thick it was.  In the rest of the river, while it doesn't affect the quality of fishing, outside of having to clean your flies a lot, it's not very aesthetically pleasing, and for me fly fishing is a lot about aesthetics. Thirdly, in years past after high water, a lot of fish were pushed into the back channels and stayed there throughout the summer and fall when there was enough water flowing to keep that habitat viable. Over the past two years, there's basically been no fish in a lot of those channels, so like me, no one fishes them anymore, which adds pressure on the fish in the diminished area where they now hold, in the main river. Now, before you go getting angry with me and accuse me of bashing the San Juan, just know that  that ain't so. I make my living here and the last thing I want is to scare people away. I'm just pointing out the obvious that a lot of you probably, already know– that this river, although still a great trout fishery, hasn't been permitted to live up to it's potential for a while, due to water constraints. Unfortunately, there's really no one to blame except Mother Nature and there's really nothing you can do to change that. Given the lack of snowpack and the resulting low levels in the reservoir, there's only so much you can do with flow regulation, and you can't release water that you don't have. In fact, I applaud the BOR for it's recent stingy water release levels, which have allowed us enough water storage to make it through tough times, like these. Once that water goes downstream, there's no getting it back. Anyway, truth be known, I'm not a weatherman, so any prognostication that I might make on the likelihood of how much snow we're going to get in the mountains in the next six weeks, is just a shot in the dark, so it's best I stick with the here and now and confine my ramblings to what I know to be happening on the water at the present time. The really good news is that the dry fly fishing has picked up considerably over the past week. Whether or not this has anything to do with all the cloud cover we've been seeing, is hard to say, but I have been seeing a lot of heads up and I've seen more BWOs in the past week than I've seen all winter. The midge hatches have increased in intensity and duration, as well. As far as water levels, we're still around 350 cfs, and the clarity is a foot to a foot and a half in most areas. If you're nymphing, the bigger, brighter stuff, like egg patterns, red larva, and princess nymphs are still the way to go. Leeches and buggers are still effective in olive, black, and white, if you're a streamer fan. I'll have to admit that my experiment with my friend's new leech pattern was prematurely cut short this past week, by a BWO hatch that put a lot of fish on the feed. Sorry, but there's no way I'm going to fish under an indicator, when there's fish rising all around me. I will say that I had pretty good results for the short time I fished it, and managed a few more on a trailing red larva, size 18. Looks like we're going to see more precipitation here, through Tuesday, then some colder weather for a few days, and a warming trend on Saturday. Overall, you'd be hard pressed to find better fishing anywhere else right now, and I think the same holds true whether we see some runoff this Spring or not. Sometimes it's hard to draw the fine line between good and epic, and it's tougher when you know the true promise a great river can hold. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.                                     

Report by Jay Walden

                             The NM 2014-2015 fishing season begins April 1, 2014 and ends March 31, 2015.    NM Fishing License Info

 Spring High Flow 2014

Bureau of Reclamation
San Juan Flow Info
The Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has made a decision to prioritize Reservoir Storage over a Spring High Flow, so without unexpected precipitation there will not be a Spring Release for 2014.

The San Juan features year round consistent temperatures out of Navajo Dam providing a fabulous Four Season Fishery!  Water temps are in the low 40's near the dam providing a consistent environment for insect growth and development.  Fish have access to midges and annelids year round in addition to more seasonal mayfly, caddis, terrestrials and golden stonefly nymphs and adults.


NM Free Fishing Days:  You may fish without a license on two scheduled Saturdays/year as part of National Fishing Day & National Hunting & Fishing Day -- generally the first Saturday in June & the last Saturday in September. Please consult the NM Fishing Proclamation for exact dates &/or changes.  
NM Fishing Proclamation

 Link to Restaurant Page

Restaurant - El Pescador is closed for the Winter season

Hours:  Wednesday - Sunday 6:30 am-9:00 pm,  Closed Monday and Tuesday - closed for the winter



BOR Stream Improvement Project - Project Completed Jan 2012  Beginning Oct. 10, 2011 the BOR will begin a $300,000 habitat improvement project on the “ Braids” section of the San Juan River. The first phase of the project will encompass changes to the Rex Smith Wash and address the silting problems associated with that area. During this time, the trail to the upper reaches of the river will be inaccessible from the berm area of the Texas Hole parking lot. In order to reach those areas of the river, you will have to access them by wading upriver from the Kiddie Hole Area, or from the BOR parking lot, located near the dam. The second phase of the project will begin sometime in November and the “Braids” area will be closed to fishing for about 30 days, until early December. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by January 8, 2012. There will still be plenty of water to fish during this time and upon completion, this project will add more fishable water and improved habitat for the trout in that area. We will be posting further information via our weekly fishing reports on our website.

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As always, we truly value our faithful customers and look forward to meeting new fishers daily to the San Juan -- Please stop in for a visit and share your fishin' stories. We'll be scoutin' and fishin' the river to provide you with the most current river info.

  2015 and 2008-2012 Historical Flow Data for the San Juan River

   San Juan Flow Graph

  San Juan River estimated Flow Data 2008 to Current

San Juan Flow Graph 2014
San Juan Flow Graph 2013

The San Juan Flow Graph data above are provided by Abe's Motel and Fly Shop and Aspire Computer Solutions, LLC as information to fishermen/women and other interested parties.  The data are drawn from the USGS public records, some of the data are provisional and may be subject to change.  In some cases CFS values were missing and estimated CFS Average values were substituted based on available Gauge readings. 

The flows in the San Juan river below Navajo Dam are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in compliance with existing law and authorized purposes.  As is the case with many other western waters, some flows are influenced by system wide efforts to protect endangered species.  Water is naturally limited and always in high demand  in the Southwest, many competing entities are present staking claims to San Juan water and by complying with previous agreements/laws,  the BOR has limited flexibility in how flows are maintained. 

The reservoir at Navajo Dam was constructed from 1958 to 1962 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project.  There were two important provisions to the congressional authorization to build the dam, one included a substantial diversion of water from the San Juan Basin through the continental divide to the Chama river in northern New Mexico to supply additional waters to New Mexico cities along the Rio Grande.  These flows are not shown on the graph as the San Juan Chama Project water is drawn from the system before it enters Navajo Reservoir.  The second provision set aside a substantial amount of San Juan water to provide for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP).  The NIIP project is intended to irrigate approximately 110,600 acres of Navajo farmland south of the San Juan River.  The water for the NIIP project is drawn from the reservoir through a diversion headworks near the south side of the dam and moves water to the NIIP Project through approximately 60 miles of tunnels and canals south of the river,  bypassing the river.  As a result of the San Juan Chama Project and the NIIP Project waters no longer being present in the main river channel,  the San Juan has been a smaller river since the dam was constructed.   

In recent years flows on the San Juan have been significantly influenced by the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP) which recommends minimum flows (500 - 1000 cfs) in a targeted critical habitat downstream for two endangered species,  the Colorado Pikeminnow and the Razorback Sucker.  The critical habitat area is between Farmington and Lake Powell.  When sufficient water is available a short period of high water (5,000 CFS) is delivered to the river in spring to mimic historical flows in the interest of improving downstream habitat for the Endangered Species.  The main contributors to flow in the Endangered Species Habitat area are the San Juan and the Animas rivers.  As the Animas is a free flowing river, flows from the San Juan are adjusted up and down to try to meet the recommended flows in the Critical Habitat Area. 

For fishermen/women the lower flows of 2014 provide access to more of the river.  For those on Guided Trips, the river still fishes well in drift boats. 

The BOR provides information on the current status of the reservoir at Navajo Dam at the following link:


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