- Jay Walden
Gin clear water, bluebird skies, fat, healthy trout
Gin clear water, bluebird skies, fat, healthy trout, rising fish, and hatches that last throughout the larger part of the day. If that sounds like the perfect recipe for a fisherman, then the San Juan is the place to be. Currently we are experiencing consistent flows around 800 cfs and with the hot, dry weather, those flows are likely to remain at that level for the near future. If you haven't fished the San Juan recently, you're going to notice a few changes on your next visit. Changes that have made a great river, even better. Those high spring flows have done wonders for the health of these fish—they are noticeably heavier, more muscular, and full of fight when you hook them. And the river itself looks more like the San Juan of old, like back when we had these spring releases on a consistent basis and we had a beautiful cobbled bottom, and all the silt, and didymo weren't around. It's like fishing a whole new river, and I'm loving it. As for the "how's it fishing?" part; well, it's great. I'll begin with saying that when it was between 3,500 to about 2,000 cfs the quality of fishing on big terrestrials like ants and hoppers was off the charts good. That method of fishing; at least for me, has slowed a bit since the drop down to 800 cfs. At those higher levels we weren't seeing the kind of hatches we are seeing now and the fish seemed to be much more aggressive on the big dries. Now, I'm seeing some fish in the earlier part of the day that are willing to play that game up until around 11:30 or 12:00, but when the midges get going, it's all about the small stuff. If you're out there, you're going to start seeing fins rolling around mid-day and that's the time to go to your emerger patterns like ju-jus, crystal flash, and scintilla patterns, and fish the film. A couple hours later, you'll start to see some snouts and you can switch to small midge dries like single, black adult midges, Morgan's midges, and fore and afts in sizes 24 and 26. 6x for the nymphing and 7x for the dries, helps, since the water is crystal clear right now. Later when the hatch intensifies, you can use some cluster patterns like the sprout midge or Griffith's gnats, but the clusters haven't been all that large, so I wouldn't go bigger than a size 22. The earlier part of the day, before you start to see these fish rolling on emergers, is gonna be the time to fish your pupa patterns like mono midges, blings, and big macs. If you are fishing from Texas Hole and downriver, throw in a few baetis patterns like root beers, RS2s, and foamwings into your mix, since there are some active nymphs in there. There are a few slate colored BWOs coming off in the lower portion of the river, even on these bright sunny days, but it's not a blanket hatch, by any stretch of the imagination, but you can probably get a few fish to eat a comparadun or small Adams, if you start seeing enough adults on the surface. The big deal right now is the midges that are plentiful and hatching from mid-day right up until dark. So there you go, good fishing, great weather, what else could you ask for? If you come you'll want to pack lots of water—it's hot—really hot. And don't forget the bug spray— the mosquitoes are getting fired up, especially in the evening hours. If you would like more info or need to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.