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  • Jay Walden


Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's hard—this writing thing. It comes easier when you have a great story to tell, not so much when you don't. Average is a tough thing to try to make exciting and you can only put so much lipstick on a pig, before it starts to look a little ridiculous. To remain true to the craft of wordsmithing, you gotta remain true to yourself, lest everything you put on paper comes out sounding contrived and everyone who reads it sees it for the transparent hack job that it is. If you fish the San Juan a lot and have fished it recently, then this is all going to make a whole lot more sense to you, or so I hope. If you haven't been here in a while or anywhere else to fish, for that matter, or you're coming here for the first time, then it won't matter. What I'm trying to say here is that the quality of your experience here during this early part of March is going to be determined by your perspective. For me, the fishing here right now is just something to do until until it gets really good, which begins in late spring and early summer. But I'm jaded, I fish here all the time, I know the potential of this river when it's at it's best, which makes anything else just a little harder to bear. I'm just plodding through until then, but I'm spoiled. I'll look at a weather forecast and if it looks like the wind is going to blow or the temperature isn't to my liking then I'll find something else to do. It's not fair to treat a river that way, you ought to be able to take the great, with the not so great, and earn your stripes, show your respect. That said, here's how I see things for the coming week. The present flow is at 495 cfs and will most likely stay at that level for a while. The water clarity is good, especially so for this time of year, with the visibility easily at 3 feet, possibly more. As far as the bug activity, there's still not a whole lot going on. There are a few midges active around mid-day which have some fish up on the feed, but the dry fly fishing hasn't been anything to crow about lately. Factor in a little wind that is common for this time of year and it can make that type of fishing downright tough. On the other hand, the nymphing has been pretty good. Not on-fire-best-you'll-ever-have good, but pretty good. The best producers have been red and cream larva, and dark pupa patterns. Sometime around noon, you'll start to see more bug activity and the fish will become more active and it's a good time to try your emerger patterns and target the upper water column by reducing your weight and moving your strike indicator closer to your fly. Most of the fish I am seeing are holding in deeper water in the thalwegs and I think that all has to do with the inactivity of the bug life right now. There just seems to be more food in those areas, especially midges in the larva and pupa stage, which appears to be what these fish are keyed into. It is also worth mentioning that small leech patterns in black and olive are working quite well when they are fished on a dead drift under an indicator. So to sum it all up, I'd say that the river is fishing about as good as you can expect for this time of year, maybe even slightly better than other years when we have had a hard turnover on the lake and the water wasn't as clear as it is now. As a side note—the BOR just issued a non-official update to their spring water release plans and the most likely scenario will be a quick ramp up over a three day period to a 5,000 cfs flow and hold at that level for approximately 40 days, and then decrese the level back down over a two week period. The release is scheduled for early to mid-May to coincide with the peak of runoff in the Animas, so the actual date of the release remains flexible at this point. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more information, give us a call at 505-632-2194

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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