- Jay Walden
Jay's Fishing Report - Late November
One of the added benefits of working in a fly shop on one of the nation's top trout streams, is that you get to meet a lot of really cool people that share your passion for the sport. I've been around here for a bit and I've fished here much longer, and met a bunch of folks, years back, that I still see from time to time, today. We're all getting a bit older now and some more than others, but I take heart in seeing the guys and gals that are now into their 70s and 80s that keep coming back; keep at it, packing and traveling, getting out there after those fish, still enjoying the pursuit of trout, despite their age. They are my inspiration, as I approach yet another birthday in a couple of months and my thoughts occasionally drift to the fact that I'm headed down the same road. I just hope I keep the heart, keep that burning passion for the sport, for the remainder of my days; notwithstanding, the incipient creeping of time.
It's all a bit strange sometimes, how certain things can trigger a man's thoughts toward his own mortality. One came just the other day when I clicked on an e-mail and saw that Tommy James and the Shondells are on tour, and tickets are now on sell for their upcoming show in Albuquerque. For those of you that may be a bit younger, that is "the" Tommy James and the Shondells that had the No. 1 hits, "Hanky Panky" and "Crimson and Clover" (that last one being a song that I never understood and still don't until this day—but I like, nonetheless) in 1966 and 1969, respectively. Anyway, seeing that e-mail started me thinking—"Jeeze, these guys gotta be ancient by now, but they're still out touring and rockin,'' which then led me to the thought that, "Hey, that makes me pretty old, too." All of this came full circle and I started thinking about how these older fishermen still have that sparkle in their eye when I ask them about their day on the water, about how; despite any number of aches and pains, they still love the sport and are determined to do it, until it's just not possible any more. I take encouragement from that; I take encouragement, that guys like Tommy James are still out there rocking it.
Alright, as for what's going on this coming week on the San Juan—it's still a small midge game upriver, with some baetis in the mix, downstream. The flow here is presently at 375 cfs and will likely stay in that range for at least the short term. The water remains crystal clear, but there's a good deal of moss and didymo out there, so check and clean your flies often, especially if you're nymphing. The activity of the bugs; and thus the fish, seems to be mainly centered around the hours of 10:30 am to about 3 or 3:30 pm. Expect to see lots of fish feeding in the surface film, on emergers, during that time. There is some dry fly action on small midge patterns and even some BWO activity downriver, but most of the fish seem to prefer the emergers right now. I have had good results on these fish with a Morgan's midge and I have to think that little trailing shuck on the back makes all the difference in my dry fly selection. As for nymph patterns, the smaller the better, and black seems to be the go to color. Size 26 mono and bling midges, and size 26 crystal flash and ju-jus are good choices. Foamwings, especially chocolate in size 24, are also working well. Monday looks to be the best day to go looking for a good BWO hatch with the increased cloud cover that is forecast. That could produce a good hatch in the lower river and you could do well with some olive bodied BWO patterns in size 24 and 22, if the wind doesn't spoil things. Finally, dead drifting some olive, gray, and black bunny leeches has been producing some fish; as well, so that's one more tip that may get you into some fish if things taper off a bit. We've still got some great weather for being on the water with temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s this week, so get out if you can. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.