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  • Jay Walden

Fall is on it's way...

Late evening smells of creosote, sage, and rain, mixed with the aroma of roasted chiles and ripe peaches. Lengthening afternoon shadows from a sun, now more subdued, less harsh. The mornings; arriving with a hint of chill, sending signals to the leaves of giant cottonwoods that a change is on the way. An early dusting of snow on the peaks of the La Platas off in the distance, another harbinger for the transformation to autumn. We are beginning to turn the corner on another season here in New Mexico and I watch with a certain degree of sadness as summer begins to say her goodbyes, feeling that her stay has been too brief, and that I have been cheated somehow, by the laws of nature. Something always stirs in me during this transitional time of year; perhaps a reminder that life itself is a fleeting thing, an admonition of destiny over which we have no control. It serves to remind; with vivid effectuation, that our time here is a finite thing, something to be cherished, and once squandered, cannot be reclaimed. All the more reason to immerse myself into it, plunge headlong into its smells, its sights, its sounds, with renewed fervor, soaking in all the best that it has to offer. All the more reason to become absorbed by nature; all the more reason to fish. If you are planning a trip to the San Juan in the near future, expect to see some of the best this river has to offer. To begin with, the weather looks to be spectacular this week with that quintessential late summer climate that New Mexico is famous for—bluebird skies, cool mornings and evenings, and warm, sunny days. We have been experiencing some late afternoon thundershowers, although the chances look to be about 20 percent for the rest of the week, but it's a good idea to pack a rain jacket, just in case. The river is in great shape, with flows presently around 500 cfs and crystal clear water conditions. From a dry fly fisherman's perspective, I found the conditions; especially in the earlier part of last week, to be a little tough. Admittedly, there was a increase in the flow change and a marked change in the temperature that coincided just before I went out on Monday and I'm not sure if one or the other; or both combined, were the reason for suppressing the midge hatches that I had been experiencing in earlier weeks, but I sure didn't see a lot of bugs, or rising fish. However, along with the drop on Thursday down to 500 cfs the hatches have now intensified and I'm getting good reports that there's a lot of snouts out there, starting mid-day and lasting into late afternoon. I wish I knew more about how that works (although I have a bunch of theories) but the more important thing is reporting when it happens and not necessarily how, since you can't do anything to change it anyway. For the dry fly fishing it's been Morgan's midges earlier in the day on those emerger rises, fore and afts and adult black midges just a bit later when they switch to picking off the individual adults, then Sprout midges when you start to see clusters. As the hatch tapers off, you'll need to go back to the Morgans and fore and afts to keep yourself into fish. Ants and hoppers are still bringing up some fish before the hatch starts, if you can find fish in the shallows. For nymphs, it's still mostly a midge game. Think tiny (size 26) and black. Blings, monomidges, and zebras are all good choices, along with some small larva patterns, before you start to see the fish working the upper water column. Once you start to see those fins roll, mix in some emerger patterns like ju-jus, crystal flash, and scintillas and start working a shallower rig with less weight. 6x will get you into more fish, fluorocarbon is also a good idea, and keep your indicators small, white, is a better color choice. From Texas Hole and below add some rootbeers, foamwings, and those CDC RS2s. Hope you can make it out this week to check things out. Fall guide trips and room accommodations are beginning to book up already, so if you are thinking about a trip to the Juan, give us a call soon 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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