- Jay Walden
There's nothing more redneck than coon hunting, except; possibly, possum hunting and I've done both. I was raised in rural Appalachia, have eaten squirrel, beans and cornbread, a ton of bologna sandwiches on white bread, and sometimes even an occasional groundhog. I've cut tobacco, bailed hay in the hot Virginia sun, ran barefoot through cow pastures in the summer, worn overalls, drank spring water with a dipper from a galvanized bucket, and drank moonshine from a Mason jar; hell, I've even smoked rabbit tobacco in a corncob pipe out behind my grandpa's barn with my cousin Billy, back when we both still in elementary school. So, I guess; technically speaking, you could say I'm a redneck.
I still like the sound of a fiddle and banjo on old Ralph Stanley and Bill Monroe tunes and that probably offers further credence to the fact that once you're a redneck, you're always a redneck. But I'm alright with all that, because one of things I've garnered from my hillbilly ways is my appreciation and love for the great outdoors, and it's stuck with me through adulthood. This all goes back to the times when I started toting a single shot .22 rifle that was almost as long as I was tall, for squirrels, rabbits, and groundhogs. I goes back to when I used a cane pole there on the old Clinch for bluegills, sunfish, perch, and bass, before Tenkara was even cool. It all goes back, or as we used to say there—even in matters concerning our love lives—it's all relative. So, although it has been a long evolution, all that backwoods upbringing has; no doubt, been the seed for why I ended up here—living along the banks of yet another river, a fly fisherman; no less, and a hunter for both elk and mule deer. It's a life that I wouldn't trade for all the lights in New York City. We've all got our own stories about how we came to be flingers of fur and feather in this gentleman's sport, and although mine is a little more rudimentary than most, as John Gierach likes to say, "There's an old black cast iron skillet hidden somewhere in about every fly fisherman's closet." It's enough to keep even the most high-minded, grounded when you really think about it—even for those snobby, purist, dry-fly fishermen, like me. Like grandpa used to say, ‘Don’t get above your raisin’ son.
I don’t know how I got started on all this anyway, so let’s just get on with the fishing report part. To begin with, the river looks great. The flow level is just around 500 cfs and the water is gin clear. If the rest of this sounds a lot like last week’s report, it’s because things haven’t really changed much since then, as far as fishing conditions go. Small, dark midge patterns still reign supreme—larva and pupa patterns earlier in the day and emergers in the afternoon. I was surprised to see that I could raise a lot of fish to a larger ant pattern before the midges started really coming off. After that, I had to go to Morgan’s Midges and Fore and Afts on 7x to keep myself into fish. Once the clusters started forming it was the Sprout Midge that got it done for me. In my recent experience, the best hatches have been in the upper sections of the river. The weather looks to be great this week with highs in the 70’s and cool mornings, although we have been getting some wind in the afternoons, which can make the dry fly stuff a bit tough. If that happens, and you want to continue the dry game, try going with same large ants and hoppers. Overall, the fishing is great, the weather is beautiful and there is already some change in the colors of the cottonwoods—a great time to be on the water here in Northern New Mexico. This week looks to be about the last quiet week, people wise, before the fall crowd arrives, so it would be a great week to check out the Juan. If you need more info or would like to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.
Fishing Report by Jay Walden