- Jay Walden
December 9, 2018
Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, and while you're at it, take a victory lap, too. If you were one of those 800 or so fine folks that were spurred to action, to email or write a letter to the New Mexico Game and Fish Commissioners in opposition of rescinding the two fly limit on the San Juan, congratulations, you won—we won! I would especially like to acknowledge Jeff Massey and his guides from Soaring Eagle Lodge and Toner Mitchell from New Mexico Trout Unlimited for attending the meeting where the final vote was held and voicing their concerns on this issue. Toner, in particular, was instrumental in organizing the fly fishing community into action, which is no small feat, in and of itself—herding cats, is probably a good analogy. Great job, everyone.
Now if someone could just do something about this weather we've been having. I don't think we've seen a day with a high above 40 degrees, so far in December. Boy, winter before it's even winter— according to the calendar. You know it's bad when the nicest thing you can find to say about it is, "Well, at least the wind's not blowing." That one's right up there with the old, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." All of them akin to saying that you just go to Hooter's because of the great food—whatever gets you through, my friends. Anyway, we fishermen gotta do what we gotta do, so here goes the report. Steady as she goes on the flows at 289 cfs, with no perceivable change in sight and still good water clarity. That's all good news, as well as the quality of the fishing. Still good midge hatches throughout the day, with fish rising to the dry fly. It's well worth suffering through a little cold weather. There are still some adult baetis on the water in the lower river, although not quite in the numbers that we saw in previous weeks, but I expect this to come and go in spurts throughout the larger part of winter, based on my past experiences. With the water clarity being what it is, this is one of those windows of opportunities where almost everything is working—dries, nymphs, and streamers. A smorgasbord of goodness—pick your poison. As far as fly choices go, fore and afts, and comparaduns and Adams' for the dries, depending on the hatch. In the upper river, size 24 and 26 midge patterns—pupa, larva, and emergers, although you can go a little larger on your larva selection. Baetis patterns in the lower river—root beers, fluff baetis, and RS2s. Not to be overlooked, river-wide, are micro leeches (especially in black) and egg patterns, particularly if you hit a slump with the other stuff. And, if you so choose, you can swing some big streamers—olive, black, and white have been my choices— down deep in the heavier currents and in tail-outs. What did I miss here? I think that about covers it. It's a good time to be on the San Juan if you don't mind a little cold weather. The river traffic has slowed considerably and though you may not have the entire place to yourself, you're not gonna encounter crowds, either. The best fishing coincides with the warmer temperatures of the day, which should come as no surprise, so around 10 am till 4 pm, should be your target, which should give you plenty of time to thaw out before dinner and cocktails at 6. Hope you can make it out this week. If you would like more information or need to book a guide, give us a call at 505-632-2194.