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  • Jay Walden


If there has ever been a sense of urgency to fish the San Juan, that time is now. Colder weather and all the consequences that come with it are on their way, and you'll see the fishing dynamic soon change. Less obvious than the uncomfortable feeling of icy fingers trying to thread 6x tippet through size 26 and 24 flies, we're going to have to deal with the decreased visibility of the water, once the lake turns over. Depending on who you talk to, that event is either a big deal, or it isn't. Those old boys that live for the tug on a streamer with 3x tippet, tend to love it, the ones who like to sight fish to risers with 24 and 26 midge patterns on 7x—not so much. Like pretty much everything else in life, whether it's politics, or religion, or what have you, everyone's got their own opinion. If you read this column on a regular basis, I think you know which camp I'm in. I've been getting a lot of calls this past week about when this is going to happen, and the best answer I can give is that it's completely weather driven and it'll take place as soon as the top layer of water in the lake becomes cold, and thus denser, and starts to sink toward the bottom. I might add that on most years it tends to happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this Thursday is Thanksgiving and already you can see that the visibility is less than it was a couple of weeks ago. Not so much that you can't still sight fish, but it's changing. All that said, there's some beautiful weather coming up for the earlier part of this week, then we'll see a bit of wind on Wednesday as a cold front moves in and the daytime highs dip to the low and mid-40's. I'm no scientist, but I would have to say that those upcoming, lower daytime temperatures, would tend to be more; not less favorable, to cooler water temperatures in the lake. Well enough of all of that, we'll deal with dirty water once it happens, right now the visibility is still good and so is the fishing. We did have a bit of a bump in the flows this past Wednesday, when the BOR took the level from 350 cfs to about 428 cfs, where it remains at this time, apparently due to a drop in the Animas flow and the need for more water downstream from the Juan to compensate. There doesn't appear to be any moisture moving into the area until later this weekend, so it's likely to stay around 428 cfs throughout the week. If it changes next week it could go to 350 cfs again, but it won't impact the quality of the fishing. As far as what's happening, things are staying pretty predictable with the hatches. There's fish rising to midges as early as 8:00 and 9:00 am, as well as throughout the larger part of the day, so the dry fly fishing is still hanging in there. Red larva and dark pupae patterns are working in the earlier part of the day and adding midge emerger patterns later around noon once the fish start feeding on emerging midges when the hatch really gets going. From Texas Hole and below there has been some baetis activity, so adding gray and chocolate foamwings, as well as Johnny Flash, RS2s, and rootbeers to your arsenal is a good idea if you plan to target the lower river. I've seen some pretty decent hatches with adult BWOs on the water in the lower river, but the fish don't seem to be going crazy over them just yet. Most of the fish I've been seeing that are on to those adults, have been during the heavier part of the hatch, which is short in duration. If you're looking for BWO adult activity, expect to see it start around noon. Saturday and Sunday could be banner days to fish BWO dries with clouds and colder weather moving in. My experience has been that the nastier the weather, the better chance of a BWO hatch. Overall, this is going to be a good week to be on the water and the quality of the fishing should stay pretty solid for a while yet, until we see a change in the water clarity. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194. By the way—Abe's will be closed on November 26—Thanksgiving, so plan accordingly if you are coming out.

Jay's Fishing Reports

Books by
Jay Walden
Can be purchased on Amazon or in our fly shop.

Jay's Fishing Report  

To our faithful fishing report readers, 

Here's a way to get your rainbow trout fix 'til you are able to hit the San Juan again-- available online only

Check each style out--there are a variety of colors, fabrics & sizes to enjoy.

Special thanks to designer & artist, Matt Zudweg 

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As a small aside and attempt at shameless self-promotion, there was an article featured  on Flyfisherman Magazine's website written by yours truly about the 60th anniversary of Abe's Fly Shop that can be accessed through the following link: Abe's Anniversary. Hope you can make it out this week. If you would like more information or would like to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194. 

Abe's Fly Shop Turns 60 -

Watercolor by Tim Oliver                                          Photos Courtesy of Abe Chavez


Jay's Past Reports:  

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