September 2, 2018
Good night, Irene. Roll the credits. You've been a great crowd, thanks for coming, drive safely and we hope to see you back here next year. Well, here we are at September—Labor Day, no less, which; other than the fact that I can't wear white until next spring, means that summer is basically over. Although the first official day of fall isn't until the 23rd of this month, the thermometer that read fifty degrees on my porch this morning, is sure sending a different message. Not that anyone is counting, but 93 days, 15 hours and 47 minutes, sure seems to go by awfully fast. Now, I know that not everyone is gonna miss it like I do, this favorite season of mine, but I sure hate to see the opportunity to fish those big terrestrials and that warm summer sun that warms these old bones, disappear for the next nine months. Looking back, I guess I should have better mentally prepared myself for the transition to 7x tippets and size 24 dry flies. Overall, in the big scheme of things, I guess it's really not that bad of a problem to have. So, rather than sit and pine for the halcyon days of summer, let us prepare ourselves to enjoy another great season, in and of itself—fall.
As of today, the flow here is at 711 cfs, right around the same level where it has been since this past Tuesday, which is a near ideal level for great fishing. Whether or not we will see an increase in the next few days, is anybody's guess, but if I was a betting man, I would put some money down that as soon as the government employees that regulate such matters return to work from their holiday weekend, on Tuesday, we will likely see a bump in the water level, especially if the area doesn't see any appreciable rain in the meantime, which—according to the weather report, isn't very likely. I say this, because at this time, the combined flow of the San Juan and the Animas down to Lake Powell is just slightly over the minimum requirement of 500 cfs. If that's the case, then we might see an increase into the 800 cfs range, which won't affect the fishing much, except for maybe on the day the increase takes place. Overall, the river has been fishing great lately and I wouldn't expect that to change, until later in the winter when the lake turns over. At present, small midge patterns should be your go to choices anywhere in the Upper Quality Water Section and a mix of baetis nymphs thrown in to your offerings anywhere from Texas Hole and below. The water is super clear right now, so if you're nymphing, I would suggest 6x fluorocarbon for your tippets, 5x should be considered right up there with bad choices, just like gas station sushi. There are some fish rising to midges throughout the better part of the day, with the best times being from 11:00 till 2:00 and then later from about 5:00 right up until it's too dark to see a fly anymore. Due to the sparsity on these hatches, I've had to go down to a size 24 fore and aft on 7x, because these fish are eating one small midge at a time. You can also take a good number of fish on midge emerger patterns during this time, but your offerings have gotta be small and your drifts have to be spot on— a size 26 Crystal Flash midge in black would be my first choice. There are some adult BWOs showing up in the afternoons in the lower river and a few fish are on to them although the hatch is short and sparse in nature and the bugs are tiny—so tiny, they occasionally look like adult midges—you'll have to go to size 24 and 26 Comparaduns and Adams' fished on 7x to fool these fish. I'm still pulling up a decent number of fish on ants and PMX patterns in the shallow stuff when these fish aren't rising to midges, but compared to a few weeks ago, the numbers are falling off, as tends to be the case when we head into fall. Looking ahead, we traditionally have a few transition weeks where the hatches stay pretty much as they are now, then as we get further into September and October we start to see the midge hatches pick up to the point where we'll have clusters on the water throughout the day and the BWO hatches will intensify, as well. If we have continued dry weather, we could see continued flow increases here, until the need for irrigation water drops off which is typically in mid-October— how that will affect these traditional hatches remains to be seen—it's a fluid situation (no pun intended.) By late fall, expect the water levels to go as low as the BOR can go and still maintain their target baseflow further downstream, possibly as low as 250 cfs through the larger part of the winter. We've still got a few months of great weather and great fishing left, so try to get a San Juan trip on your calendar for 2018. If you would like to book a guided trip or need more information, give us a call at 505-632-2194.