In case you ever wondered if people take this fly fishing thing serious or not, consider this: In late January of this past year, someone broke a window of a Chevy Silverado parked outside of Flannigan's restaurant in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood and stole the cremated remains of legendary Florida Key's fly fishing legend, Bill Curtis. The thief ignored a laptop computer, a $400 pair of sunglasses, and valuable camera equipment, and snatched the box of Curtis' ashes from beneath a stack of books, and sped off in a black pickup truck. For those who may not be familiar with Curtis, he invented the poling platform for skiffs, the Bimini twist and Curtis knot, and guided the likes of Jim Harrison, Jimmy Buffett, Carl Hiaasen, Ted Williams, and Thomas McGuane on a regular basis, and was the inspiration for one of the fictional Keys fishing guides in McGuane's, "Ninety-Two in the Shade." When asked why anyone would do such a thing as stealing an urn of someone else's ashes, McGuane replied, "My theory is that it was a poor fisherman who knew what it was and thought that by sprinkling it on his Wheaties that someday he would be a better angler." The things some fishermen will do to try and gain an edge, which I guess explains why $1,000 fly rods are becoming more a thing of the norm these days.
As for things here on the San Juan, we are enjoying an extension to the wonderful fall weather we saw through October that is keeping quite a few people on the water. The flows have been stable around 433 cfs and the water clarity is great. There are fish feeding to midges throughout the entire day and, on occasion, some decent BWO hatches from 1:00 till 3:00 pm, especially on overcast days. I have had some good dry fly fishing using Morgan's Midges in size 24 during the earlier and later part of the midge hatch when the fish are keying in on emergers, then switching to a size 24 black Fore and Aft when they are targeting the adult bugs, around mid-day. Most of the baetis activity I have observed has been confined to the lower section of the Quality Water and I have been using size 24 and even 26 Olive Comparaduns for my imitations. 7x tippet is required for the dries. As far as nymphing goes, it seems that smaller is better these days and if I had to pick one fly that would be the top producer, as of late, I would have to say it would be a size 26 black Crystal Flash emerger. Other patterns to consider would include: mono midges, blings, foam-wing emergers, small brassies, and RS2s, rootbeers, and fluff baetis—the latter, especially true, anywhere from Texas Hole and below. 6x fluorocarbon would be a good idea. I imagine the fishing will remain pretty solid, right up until the lake turns over, which probably won't happen until we see much colder weather that hangs around for an extended period of time. All the more reason to make the best of the time we have remaining.
On another note, according to the New Mexico State Parks, there will be a closure for both boat and wade fishermen on the lower river from Simon Point to Crusher Hole beginning December 15, 2017 to March 1, 2018, due to construction of a new boat ramp at Crusher Hole and a stream improvement project through the Simon Point to Last Chance area. In order to accommodate the float trips on the upper portion of the river there will be a temporary boat take out at the Munoz day area. The upper river access will not be affected, and according to one source I have spoken with, there are no plans to lower the water level to all-time lows, as has been rumored, to complete the work. We will keep you posted on any new information.
Hope you can make it out soon and a Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you would like any more information or need to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.