- Jay Walden
End of January
Things are about the best you could hope for, as far as winter fishing conditions go here. Oh sure, the weather could be a little nicer, but we're actually going to get that later on this week, with temperatures in the mid to high-40's by Thursday. Right now we have flows in the 350 cfs range and better water clarity conditions than we have seen in several years, for January. To top things off we've got a nice start to a good snowpack in the San Juan Mountains and the reservoir level is higher than we have seen for a long time, as we head into spring. We still have a ways to go before the snowpack reaches it peak in mid-April, but things are definitely looking better for us than they have since 2012. I'm not ready to do a victory dance just yet, there's still quite a bit of time left for Mother Nature to change things up, but it's nice to see signs of optimism like these that could lead to a spring high water release to flush out the river and fill all those side channels that I haven't been able to fish in years. Let's keep our fingers crossed and pray for more snow. In the meantime, the San Juan is fishing pretty well right now. Although I haven't seen any great hatches since the water level went up, there are rising fish during a short window from about 12:00 till 2:30 each day, which is enough to warrant some decent dry fly fishing with small midge patterns, if that's your sort of thing. Earlier in the day and later in the afternoon your best bet is to stick with a standard San Juan nymph rig to keep you into fish. As far as fly choices go, I wouldn't be without red and cream larva as one of my top choices and alternate that with a foam wing pattern, or a midge pupae, or emerger in dark colors. I've also been hearing good things about small Simi-seal leech patterns in brown, gray, and olive, fished on a dead drift under an indicator, as well as, small egg patterns. With a lot of the west still locked in ice and snow, the Juan continues to be a great destination for winter fishermen and this window of warmer weather that we are going to experience later in the week, no doubt, make it all that more enticing. If you decide to make it out this week, I would expect to have a little company on the water, but nowhere near the number of fishermen you're likely to see here in the summer or fall. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.