- Jay Walden
Summer, you've only been gone a short while, but already I miss you.
Summer, you've only been gone a short while, but already I miss you. Technically, we're still only 23 days away from the official start of winter, but you wouldn't really think that by looking at this coming week's weather. Monday and Tuesday are going to be cold and windy, with a low of 14 and a high of 36, the worst two days of the week— which should come as no surprise, since those will be my days off. Generally, I wouldn't go out in those conditions, a required high of 40 has become my new threshold for fishing the San Juan, because I live here and I can be choosy about when I will, and won't fish. Since I've gotten a little older, I also seem to have grown a little softer about what I'm willing to endure, just to catch a fish. But, I'm probably going to do it anyway this week, I'm going to do it for all my friends and co-workers, because when I don't fish I get cranky, too moody, too hard to bear. Sometimes, I can hardly stand to be around myself, myself. So, I'll do it to maintain my relationships—I'll take one for the team. I fished two days last week, Monday was so-so, with a slow morning for me in the upper river, not much of a hatch, not very many rising fish up there. I salvaged the day, by heading downstream where I found a bunch of fish rising to midges and managed to catch several of them. Thursday was Thanksgiving and I went out again, mainly because it's tradition for me, and I had a much better day overall, despite the wind that didn't stop until dark. I fished a mixture of midge and BWO dry patterns to fish that rose all day, even put a couple of pretty brown trout in the net, which is always a bonus. I couldn't help thinking about how much better I would have done if the wind hadn't been blowing, but I was glad to have fish rising all around me, even if I couldn't see my fly most of the time. I almost swallowed the turkey sandwich in my pack whole, because I didn't want to waste any time to get back to those fish. Anyway, if you're planning on coming out this week the water is still plenty clear enough to sight fish and the flow is back down to 331 cfs. I don't know if this past Monday was some kind of anomaly, but it seemed to me that the hatches were much better in the lower river than upper river. Maybe it has something to do with a warmer water temperature down there, I don't know. This river is quirky a lot of the time and just when I think I've got it all figured out, I don't have it all figured out. Whatever the reason, my observation is that the mid to lower section of the catch and release section has the better fishing right now, especially if you're looking to fish dries. As far as patterns go, you can't go wrong with red larva, dark colored midge pupa and emerger patterns, and some chocolate and gray foamwings, if you're nymphing. For the drys, fore and afts in size 24 and 26, and olive bodied comparaduns and cut wing baetis in size 22 have been good producers for me. Stick to 6x on the nymphs and 7x on the drys, it'll make a difference on your hookup rates. The midges are becoming active as soon as the sun is on the water for a bit and the hatch only improves as the day goes on. By the time the sun starts to sink around 3:30 things will start to taper off a bit but you can still find rising fish up until sunset if you're willing to move around and look for individual fish here and there. Expect to see some BWOS come off around noon for a couple of hours, with a few stragglers throughout the later afternoon. If there is cloud cover it will only get better. All in all, the fishing should be good this week if you can handle a little colder weather. Just remember that the clock is ticking until the lake turns over and just think about what a day on the water will do for your disposition. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.