Late June 2018
The importance of good information can never be overstated. I started writing these fishing report things several years ago with the intention of keeping them up to date as much as possible. I was motivated to do so, mainly out of frustration, because every time I wanted to travel and fish somewhere, the local fly shops of my destination's reports were always six months old or older. That's not good information. As a matter of fact, in the world of fly fishing, intel that old is relatively useless. So far, outside of a few Sundays here and there when an important hunting or fishing trip pops up, I've been as regular as clockwork. Some folks tell me that they actually read these things and that they are helpful—the anecdotal preludes that lead up the nuts and bolts of the actual fishing part, maybe not so much; but then, you always gotta take a little bad with the good. I'm just happy that there's not a comment section at the bottom.
So anyway, sticking with the topic of, the importance of good information—in high school, I was a basketball player. To look at me now, I know you might think that's a stretch—I'm short and I move a lot slower than I did in my teens, but back in the day I had some real ball skills. In fact, I was the starting point guard for my high-school's JV and Varsity teams from my eighth-grade year until I graduated way back in '76. In my senior year, we had a great team, a group of guys that were polished and practiced, and in shape, and had played together for years. At the end of that regular season, we had a great record and had made it to the regional tournament and advanced to the final game. One more victory and we were headed to state. Now in the final minute of that game we were ahead by one point—that is, until our opponents took the ball down court and their star player, Steve Ball, hit a basket which gave them the lead. There was something like twelve seconds left as I rushed the ball up court and looked over to the bench where our coach signaled me to call a time out. I was glad for the timeout, we needed it, we needed a plan, we needed good information. I was also glad that the weight of making that decision of what final play to run wouldn't fall totally on my shoulders, should thing turn out not so favorable. So there we were, five guys standing in a semi-circle, sweating, tired, excited, scared—five guys with our coach "Flea Farley" in his classic, quintessential squat, right in the middle. We were ready for the good info, we were ready for the big strategy for that final last play. There was total silence among our group of five players, we were there to listen, not talk, this was going to be important. And then it happened, and then it came—Coach Farley looked at these five guys that had practiced and played their hearts out together for the last four years and said, "Boys, I don't know what to tell you, just go out there and win." That was it—no you inbound ball, you two break for the basket and get open and one of you will at least draw a foul, or anything like that— nope, just— go out there and win. We were speechless, then the referee blew his whistle and handed our center, Danny Garrett the ball which he threw to me and I saw our other guard, Rick Smith; who was a great shot, break from the far low post across the top of the key and tossed him the ball. Rick took a shot, the only one he had, that would be a three pointer today, but it was a little rushed and he had a defender in his face. The ball made a nice arc to the basket, hit the flat part of the rim just behind the back of the hoop, and took a weird bounce right into the hands of the other team's forward, just as the buzzer sounded. I remember that moment like it was yesterday and I always think of that time, whenever I think about how important good information can be for a winning strategy. I coulda been some somebody, I could have been a contender, instead I end up with a one-way ticket to Palooka-ville.
Well, here's the story on the San Juan. Today, the flow was bumped up for the second time this week and has reached its present level of 739 cfs. This is due to the Animas River level dropping and the effort of the BOR to maintain flows of 500 to 1,000 cfs from Farmington, NM down to Lake Powell. If the weather continues to stay hot and dry, we may see more of these increases throughout the summer. With the increase on this past Wednesday, the fishing got a little tougher on that afternoon, but was right back to good fishing by the next morning. I suspect that we'll see a similar effect today and by tomorrow all be well again. The water is still clear and I would not expect that to change, even with other increases. If you're wondering—yes, the river is still very wade-able. I would think that the next few days would be a good time to focus on annelid and larva patterns especially in the earlier part of the day with the recent change in flow. Pupae and emerger patterns should be your go tos in the afternoons. We were seeing some good midge hatches this past week from around 12:00 till late afternoon/evening with midge clusters on the water somewhere around 2:30 or 3:00 pm. I'm not quite sure how this recent water change will affect that, but my guess is that it won't have an impact. The dry fly fishing was great this week with terrestrials and midge patterns, with my best fishing coming from 2:00 till 6:00 pm on a size 10 Dead Chicken. We were also starting to see a few PMDs and a caddis or two on the lower river, so we'll keep an eye on that should things develop further. We'll have to see if this change in water level affects that. In the meantime, the fishing here has been good, real good, for the past three weeks and I'm betting we are in for more of the same. Larva and annelid patterns at least for the next few days with a mix of small, dark midges like blings, mono-midges, crystal flash emergers and foam wings should keep you into plenty of fish. Mayfly nymph imitations like rootbeers, small pheasant tails, RS2s, fluff baetis, and maybe a small, good-old fashioned hare's ear should be in your offerings if you're fishing the lower river. Hope you can make it out this week. The weather looks like it's going to continue to be hot and dry for the coming week with some wind to contend with in the afternoons. Even with a little wind it'll be a good time to be on the San Juan. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more information, give us a call at 505-632-2194.