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  • Jay Walden

November 11, 2018

More so than any other behavior of fish, the single one you are most likely to witness, is that of the emerger take. This unmistakable telltale appearance of dorsal and caudal fins on the surface throughout the majority of most days often cuts to the heart of the average fisherman with a two-edged sword like no other, and; is no doubt, the most common source of frustration and bad language since the dawn of creation. Faced with irrefutable evidence of countless feeding fish right before your very eyes and the inability to actually stick a hook in any of these creatures has probably led to more fishermen being led off to the loony bin or jumping out of a window since the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. In short, there is nothing more maddening than something that looks so easy, then turns out to be far from the fact and sends you reaching for your second helping of 90 proof at the end of the day, just like when you thought that changing the bulb on the brake light of your car looked to be a ten minute job and sends you off the deep end. Now, I have read and been told that this method of feeding for trout is their most preferred, mainly because it's the easiest for them, catching these insects in their most vulnerable stage— struggling in the surface to free themselves from their nymphal shuck or attempting to break the meniscus barrier that separates them from the world above. This all makes perfect sense to me, given the rise in popularity of fast food drive-thru windows that are now feeding a vast majority of Americans. All in all, I've tried several different methods from several different schools of thought, the old grease your leader down to the last foot or two before your fly, use a tiny weight to just barely break the surface, the old Leisenring Lift, etc.,etc. and most of them work with varying success, but nothing seems to work absolutely great, as in catching fish after fish, when they are feeding like there's no tomorrow. Perhaps, a closer inspection of just what is actually going on during this behavior would be the answer to unlock this great mystery of nature—if I could only get a better look of what is transpiring just under the surface, that perhaps, would be the key to my triumphant victory over these pesky, finicky fish. Conceivably, if I could come up with a special pair of glasses that would allow me to peer into that netherworld just below the surface, something akin to those X-ray Specs advertised in my old Superman Comics of yore, I could become the Emerger Master I always wanted to be—not to mention selling the idea to Simms and running full page ads in Fly fisherman Magazine, thus securing myself a comfortable retirement in the Seychelles with Lois Lane as my new paramour—until then, I guess I'll just keep on changing the weight and adjusting the indicator. Anyway, I guess that being known for your good looks rather than for your brain, isn't as bad as they make it out to be, just as Heddy Lamar found out when she failed to receive her just rewards from the scientific community for her Spread Spectrum Technology invention. Things, could always be worse.

So, here we go. At present, we are down to a 289 cfs flow after a recent drop from 320 cfs this past Friday and I expect these low flows to be the new normal throughout the winter as the BOR attempts to keep as much water in the reservoir as possible as an insurance policy toward next year, until we figure out what kind of snowpack level we're gonna end up with. Not to worry, the river is still fishing just fine. The water clarity, although not what it was a few weeks ago, is still good with visibility to about three feet or so. The hatches of both midges and baetis are still good, although the midges are coming off a little later than weeks past, probably due to the colder nights and mornings we have been experiencing. You can still find fish rising to midges as early as 10:00, but they're scattered about; however, it does improve as the day progresses and the water temperature warms up. The BWOs start to show up a little later and I have seen them in limited numbers as early as noon. The majority of feeding activity has been primarily been on emergers, throughout the larger part of the day, so if you're a nympher, midge emergers like Crystal Flash Emergers and Ju-Jus in dark colors in size 24 and 26 are your best bets anywhere in the upper river, and BWO patterns like Fluff Baetis and RS2s anywhere from the Texas Hole and downriver. If you're one of those early birds that just has to get on the water regardless of the cold, Firecrackers, red and cream larva along with dark pupa patterns in the upper sections and small Pheasant Tails, Rootbeers, and WD 40s in the lower river should serve you well. With the temperature dropping to eleven degrees and a high of thirty-seven with possible snow showers tomorrow, expect to see less company on the water than in weeks past. By Thursday we should be back to around 50 for a high, which may bring out a few more folks, but the number of anglers we saw throughout last month and the early part of this one, is pretty much a thing of the past. Right now we are running against the clock until the lake turns over, especially with colder temperatures coming on, so unless you like fishing murky water, you'd better get out there and make the most of it. Fish as much as you can, while you can—regret, like a chili-cheese dog from Love's Truckstop just off the freeway, is a terrible thing to have to live with. Hope to see you out there. If you have any questions or need to book a guided trip, 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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