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  • Jay Walden

High Flow - June

"This won't take long and it won't hurt a bit..." I had my nose broken for the first time when I took a forearm to the face, on a rebound at our neighborhood basketball court. I didn't know it at the time, but this was to be one of many breaks to the old schnozzola over the years, all perpetrated from pursuing a sport I was physically ill equipped for, due to my being "vertically challenged" in the first place. Despite the traumatic mental and physical sufferings from the first incident, I continued to go back out onto the court after each of the subsequent injuries, which only points out that I am a slow learner, I guess. Other than the lasting psychiatric effects from the medical attention I received after that first incident and the slight disfigurement from the successive injuries, which has resulted in a hardly noticeable imperfection to my otherwise, handsome, debonair, good looks, I survived and came out okay in the end. When I was twelve years old on my first trip to the hospital for a broken bone to the face, I wasn't so sure of that, though.

I had to wait for about two hours in the kitchen with an ice pack over the bridge of my nose until my dad got home from work to take me to the ER, since we only had one family car and my mom had given up driving when he retired from the military and came back from overseas. It was about an hour drive to the only hospital in the county, where the "quality" part of "quality healthcare" could easily be called into question; so much so, that if whatever ailment you had gave cause for you to be admitted, you had to weigh your choices of just possibly toughing it out at home in hopes of recovery (as many good country folk are often wont to do) or take a chance with the old sawbones that staffed the place and never coming out alive, which, I guess explains why the funeral home was located next door. I was in a good deal of pain, so I took my chances.

As luck would have it, Ol' Doc W.C. was on duty at the ER that afternoon, known more for his penchant for good Kentucky Sour Mash and a proclivity for groping nurses, than his medical prowess. After a quick examination and several failed attempts to set my nasal bone back into place by tweaking it with some finger cot covered hemostats up my nostrils, while tears rolled down my face, he finally admitted defeat and scheduled me to come back to see the surgeon, who happened to be his brother, the following morning. It was a long night, back home. The following morning they wheeled me into the operating room, with two nurses attending Doc James, one of which reassured me that, "This won't take long and it won't hurt a bit." I should have know something was amiss when they strapped my arms and legs down on the gurney like Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. There was no anesthetic or pain medication, either offered or administered, and much to my chagrin out came the hemostats again and up my nostrils they went. I could hear the sound of bone grinding against bone over my own cries of pain, and the repeated orders for the nurses to hold my head still as the good doctor struggled to get my nose back into place. Despite the fact that I was only twelve years old, I managed an impressive litany of expletives that would have made a longshoreman with Tourette's, blush, many of which involved death to the others in the room, or at least, grievous bodily harm. How long this went on, I can't say to this day, because I think at one point I finally blacked out from the pain, but when I finally came to I remember looking about the room expecting to see a pile of limbs in the corner of the room like some Civil War hospital tent. Aside from all the trauma, I think the biggest pain I endured was the loss of my innocence that day that has caused circumspect distrust of members of the medical profession, which is unfortunate.

Well, after enduring considerable pain here on the San Juan for the past several weeks due to murky water conditions, things began looking up again this week with the water clearing considerably and the fishing taking a decided turn for the better. After close inspection, I was convinced that I could probably go out on my upcoming days off this week and actually coax up a few fish on dry flies. That is, until I saw the email from the BOR that they will begin ramping up the river starting this Monday, so now, all bets are off. So tomorrow, we'll be at 2,000 cfs here and with incremental bumps in the flow each day we should reach 5,000 cfs by Friday, at which level, the river will remain for five to seven days, after which, it will be ramped back down, and best case scenario, we will be back to 500 cfs by June 15th. This won't take long and it won't hurt a bit. Now if you're not familiar with the ups and downs (pun intended) of this high water thing, here's my short synopsis: 1) Water going up—usually not good due to lots of muck being stirred up and the fish all moving around trying to adjust. 2) Water at 5,000 cfs—Not that bad. You can actually have some pretty good fishing at this water level, especially after it has stabilized at 5,000 for a few days. This is all provided you have access to a boat, because wading is out at this level. in fact, it's life threatening. 3) Water at around 3,000 and dropping on subsequent days—often optimal and possibly epic fishing based on my past experiences. You gotta be a pretty good wader to handle the 3,000 level and the areas where you can do so are limited, but this, as well as the following days when the water is dropping can generate some fantastic fishing. As far as what to expect on the clarity after the water reaches 5,000 for a few days and then begins to drop, it's hard to say based on all the other stuff that's taken place so far this spring. In some years, I've seen it crystal clear after the flush, but this hasn't been a normal year here, with the runoff situation, so my best expectations would be to imagine it to be at about where it is today before the water goes up, which is about a foot to fourteen inches or so. I just can't see how the high water flush can make a big difference in the clarity when most of the same water that's in the lake right now is going to be in there when it's over, plus more runoff coming in now that it's finally warming up a little in Colorado. So it might not be super clear, but I'm sure it'll fish just fine. All in all, it's going to be interesting to see what happens. If you would like more information 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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