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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 353 cfs
Water Clarity:   1' - 1' 1/2 Visibility Abe's 50 Year Celebration
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Just Add Water    'Just Add Water' is a new book by Jay Walden which chronicles fly fishing the San Juan River through the 4 Seasons.  The book includes Short Stories, Poems and Abe's Weekly Fishing Reports combined with Jay's natural humor and fishing insight.  'Just Add Water' is available at Amazon and Kindle on the links below. 
Just Add Water on Amazon.com

Just Add Water on Kindle
Fishing Report
Jan 25, 2015

San Juan Weekly Fishing Report 
It was still early spring and I'd been sneaking in there every chance I got, for weeks, vowing not to violate my self-imposed code of silence, and making sure no one else was around before I started fishing. I wasn't even telling my best fishing buddies, that's how special this place was. I'd found it through sheer serendipity in the first place, stumbled upon it while I was looking for some new water that didn't have another fisherman standing in every conceivable run— just popped out of the willows one day, and there it was, a big flat of water with giant shadows of big cruising fish, like schools of bonefish off some remote island in the Bahamas. I've been fishing long enough to know that lots of big fish, cruising in shallow water, seemingly doing nothing, doesn't exactly mean that they are going to be easy to catch. Generally, it works the other way around. But this time it was different. This time, I just tied on a big foam ant pattern to a piece of 5x tippet and led the first big cruiser by about three feet and he floated over, and ever so nonchalantly, sucked it down in a slow motion swirl like he was the the first fish in the Garden of Eden. It wasn't until the third or fourth fish in a row, that I was entirely sure that it was really going to be this easy. This went on and on for about a month, every Monday and Tuesday, until all those 18 to 20 inch fish just disappeared and I have yet to see them since. That all happened on the San Juan, three years ago, and you can chalk it up to some wild-eyed fishing tale and believe it or not, but I tell this just to emphasize the potential of how great the fishing can be here at times, and it bears increased significance, when it's not. Now I doubt that these fish were just some apparition in some bourbon- filled dream of the overzealous fly fisherman that I have sometimes been accused of being, and I am sure that they did not simply vanish into thin air like some vaporous netherworld piscatorial ghosts. My guess is that they just relocated to another spot in the river, when the flow and the food source changed, or because they just got tired of me pestering them for weeks on end. Anyway, I think of this particular time whenever I start to wonder why most of the fish I have been catching over the last several months strain to push the 15 inch mark, and I hear the laments of others that exclaim exactly the same thing. Steven J. Meyers in San Juan River Chronicle, has a chapter entitled "A River In Decline" in which he questions whether or not the big fish of years past have been replaced by too many small stockers and if sporadic fluctuations in water flows have led to the demise of the good old days. That book was written in 1994, and I have had many phenomenal fishing days since, so I have my doubts. In a river where few, if any, rainbows reproduce anymore, with thousands of fishermen, you're going to have to have a dosing of stocking from time to time to maintain a viable fishing platform. I do know that little fish eventually become big fish, so I'll reserve my judgement for now, but my money is on the side that things will be just fine. Mother Nature has her own way of fixing things, and winter is no time to go and do fishing comparisons, anyway. All that said, I'll get to the real purpose of this article and give you an update on what's happening in the here and now on the Juan. Present flows are around 350 cfs and the visibility is a foot to eighteen inches. There hasn't been much in the way of hatches, and anyway with the clarity of the water being what it is, there's not a lot of rising fish, so the dry fly fishing hasn't been worth mentioning for the past couple weeks. Your best bet is to stick to the nymphing game and bright and bigger seem to be the way to go right now with that. I've taken most of my fish on a size 18 red larva, fished below a white leech pattern. Occasionally, I'll get'em to eat the leech, but the majority go for the larva. This is also a good time to try some egg patterns, Princess nymphs, and Desert Storms. I have also had some success on streamers, especially the olive, beadhead type. Unfortunately, these moments of glory are interspersed with some long bouts of casting practice, so I guess you could say I'm suffering with a consistency problem with this. It seems that just when I'm ready to switch things up, I'll nail three good fish in a row and have a renewal of faith. It's a fun way to catch fish, so I guess I'll just stay at it a while. Overall, the fishing has been what I would call ok. In reality, it has never been on fire for me during this time of year, once the lake turns over, so I happy with the overall results, and thankful for this weather that feels more like April than January. To sum it all up, you'd be hard pressed to find better wintertime fishing anywhere else, unless you've got a lot of cash to pony up for somewhere a bit more exotic than Navajo Dam. 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.

  2014 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 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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