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  • Jay Walden


It's a whole different world out there at dark, in the Land of Enchantment. There's an eerie quiet just as darkness falls, punctuated by the occasional cannonball sound of a beaver slapping his tail, off in the distance a blue heron squawks, unseen in the willows— bats strafe by, wings fluttering, in search of insects, a solitary raccoon silently wades along the edge of the water looking for his next meal, somewhere up the canyon a single coyote lets go a lonesome wail that is followed by the yammering of the rest of his pack, a mosquito buzzes in my ear, the noise soon drowned out by the swish of fly line through the night air and the sound of the wind as it passes across the tapestry of ancient canyons and buttes where the resounding resonance of native drums echoed a millennia ago— off to the southeast, the moon begins to rise, accentuating the craggy darkened face of a rocky bluff—the night world is coming alive and I am becoming part of it. I am staying for that last cast, that last fish. I am a die-hard. Through the slate blackened refraction of twilight's last glow on the water, I can barely make out the silhouette of my fly on the mirrored surface of this river and I know there still remains that remote chance of the day's final fish, the one that will signal a completeness that reaches clear down to my soul. I am consumed by this water, this night world.

I have two days off from work each week. Unless there is some type dire emergency that needs to be attended to that would bring about a cataclysmal end to life as I know it —should it be ignored, I'm going to be fishing somewhere, on both of those days. During the summer, when the days are longer, I'm usually out there for eleven or twelve hours. One day, a couple of weeks ago, I did a full day float starting at 7:00 am, then came back and changed into my waders and went back out again. While I was taking off my boots on the back porch that night, I looked at my watch and it was 9:15 pm. I always pack a sandwich for my lunch, but I usually eat it as I'm walking to a new spot, so I'm not wasting valuable fishing time. If there are rising fish, sometimes lunch can be postponed for hours. Somehow, all that still never seems to be enough. Somehow, I always find myself at the end of those days, wishing I just had one more hour of daylight. That explains why that tan 4 Runner is usually the last vehicle you're likely to see, when you leave any particular parking area here. In reality, my passion for this sport is both a blessing and a curse—especially if you care about what others think about the current state of your mental condition.

So call me crazy if you will, I don't care. They said the same the same thing about The Son of Sam and The Unibomber. Anyway, if you get the chance to fish the San Juan this week whether it's for twelve or two hours a day, things are good here. As far as conditions go, the flows are around 480 cfs and the water clarity is now very good. The fishing, in my opinion, has been great. Generally speaking, August, is often a little tough here. By now, these fish have seen every fly known to mankind and there seems to be something about the change of the weather during the monsoon time that tamps down the hatches and the fish seem lethargic, bored, even. Lockjaw, is how I've heard a lot of guides describe it. But, not so this year—at least not yet. Now, while the hatches (mainly midges right now) aren't prolific or earth-shattering, they're still good enough to keep the fish looking up and the dry fly fishing, interesting. My m.o. has been terrestrials earlier in the day (a mini version of a Chernobyl ant) size 12, sight fishing to fish in skinny or frog water. They don't have to be rising fish. In fact, I think it's better if they're not. Once they start rising to midges, fore and afts or small Griffith's Gnats will do the trick. When the hatch get really going, a size 10 dead chicken has been my go to dry pattern and I think I've caught more fish on this pattern this year than any other time I can remember. For nymphing, size 26 Bling and Monomidges have been great producers. Around 11:00 am you'll start to see a lot of fish working the surface film and size 24 and 26 Crystal Flash emergers and Ju-Jus in black and olive, fished just under the surface are the way to go. Lately, the fish just become more active as the day goes on, which is why I've been out there with the mosquitoes until dark each night. From Texas Hole and below, you'll want to have some baetis nymph patterns like Rootbeers, CDC RS2s, and Foamwings in your repertoire. There have been some BWOs on the water in the lower river on some afternoons, especially on overcast days, but they really haven't been in significant enough numbers to label it a "hatch" although you'll pick up a few fish on a small Adams or Comparadun on some select fish. The main emphasis with the dry fly fishing seems to be terrestrials earlier in the day, and midges later in the afternoon. To sum it all up, this week looks like great weather and great fishing on the San Juan, so I hope you can make it out. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more info, give us a call 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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