- Jay Walden
"Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown." That quote from one of my favorite movies came to mind this past Tuesday as I reeled up, placed my fly in the hookkeeper and headed towards the car, thinking all the while that this river is going to give you only what she feels like giving you on any given day. You can do your best, but that's only gonna take you so far—to a large extent, you're at her mercy. For the past two weeks I've gone out on Monday and had some phenomenal dry fly fishing, only to return on Tuesday with the same expectations and be sadly disappointed. One day there's rising fish everywhere, the next day—same place, same conditions— not so much as a dimple on the water and I can't buy a fish. Part of the allure of fly fishing is that it's always a challenge that requires you to use that gray matter between your ears—you're supposed to observe, learn, adapt, adjust. Lately it seems that all I have learned is— don't fish on Tuesdays. I even went prepared this time, taking along an extra rod rigged for streamers. Now I've had some great days on this river fishing streamers, especially in the winter when the water is off color, but this past Tuesday wasn't one of them. I'll be the first to admit that perhaps I'm a little rusty at it; it's been a while, but I gotta think my techniques couldn't have been all that bad. I did manage to catch a few fish—good fish, and that solid streamer take, that unmistakable initial jolt, was a great adrenaline rush, but it just didn't seem to happen often enough. What I didn't do was switch over to a nymph rig—sometimes just the sight of an indicator on the line is enough to send shivers up the spine of a hardcore dry fly fisherman. As I have said before, sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
This week on the Juan, you're gonna have to earn your stripes, if you want to catch fish. The first few days are supposed to bring winds of over 20 mph, then it's gonna get cold. Cold, like a high of 17 degrees on Friday. Saturday, the warmest day on the forecast, looks to be a balmy 30 degrees. Far be it from me to ever discourage anyone from fishing, but if I was ever going to suggest a week to skip, this would probably be the one. If you do come, the flow is presently at 357 cfs and the visibility is around 6 to 8 inches. There are sporadic midge hatches—sporadic, meaning great on some days with lots of midge clusters, and non-existent on others. I would think that Monday and Tuesday would not be the days to go looking for rising fish, if the wind lives up to the forecast. Probably your best bet at taking fish right now, given the sporadic hatches and decreased visibility, is going to be fishing some brighter patterns like red larva, annelids, Princess Nymphs, Desert Storms, egg patterns, etc., under a nymph rig. I'm not giving up on the streamer thing just yet; experience has taught me that it can work great here during the winter and one bad day does not a season make. I plan to try it a few more times before I pass judgement, maybe vary it up a bit like fishing it under an indicator on a dead drift with a trailer like a big red larva or annelid pattern. We'll see, but it's probably not going to happen this week. I know that sometimes you gotta fish when you can and the opportunity presents itself in your schedule, weather be damned. If this is your week, do it, one thing you're likely to experience here is some solitude on the water. If you would like more info or need to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.