August 11, 2019
I know what you're thinking—any job you can do while sitting around in your pajamas can't be all that hard, right? Well, I kinda see your point, but then again, these things don't just write themselves. Sometimes, it just comes pouring out effortlessly, and other times, it's like pulling teeth just to get a sentence down. As the poet Charles Bukowski once said, "If I suffer at this typewriter think how I'd feel among the lettuce-pickers of Salinas?" Probably the only more difficult job than trying to be a writer and baring your soul out there for all the world to see, would be, being a stand-up-comedian. At least with being a writer the adulation or rejection isn't immediate—there's no heckling with the written word, not immediately, anyway. When it comes hard, the best you can do is just sit down and start tapping at the keys and just hope at the end you don't end up with a page of axiomatic b.s. that puts your audience to sleep. And so it goes.
So with the river here, things are relatively the same as they have been for the past couple of weeks, especially where the flow is concerned. We're still at 1,050 cfs and the word on the street is it'll likely stay at that level until some time in November. There's a public meeting scheduled later this month (I think it's the 26th) where the BOR will announce their plans for the flows for the fall and winter, but I think it boils down to keeping the San Juan flow right where it is now, until November, then lowering it to 500 cfs or possibly lower through the winter, based on what kind of snow we get later in the year. Anyway, we'll have a more definite idea once they publish the minutes of the meeting. As for the clarity, the hatches, and rising fish, and all that kinda stuff, things are gradually improving. I had my first instance this past week of actually having to "match the hatch" with some size 22 black midge clusters since last fall, in order to catch some rising fish, after my offerings of ants, dead chickens, and PMXs were refused. It's been awhile since I've seen enough bugs present to make these trout, bug and size specific, but it is a welcome change. As far as the clarity goes, it's probably around two-and-a-half feet, maybe three, but three is pushing it. I'm not sure if we'll make it this year to that usual San Juan clarity, where you can see every rock and fish in the river down to twelve feet, but it's a sight better than where we've been all year and I ain't gonna bellyache about it none. And...there are finally some bugs hatching. Mostly midges appearing mid- day and lasting until later into the evening, but enough to get some heads up with some clusters appearing as early as noon in some areas. You'll find most of these around the edges where there's overhanging grass or behind some of the islands where the bugs start piling up. These fish are pretty easy to fool right now with a midge cluster pattern, and so far I've been able to get by with 6x tippet without a lot of refusals. I have a feeling that these fish have been waiting for this with more eager anticipation than I have. The nymphing here is still very good. In fact you're probably going to catch a considerable amount more fish by drowning your bugs. These rising fish I've been talking about aren't all over the river, you'll find some in a specific spot, catch a few, and then you've gotta move on and walk a bit to find a few others. Anyway, with the nymphing it's larva and pupa patterns in the morning, and pupa and emerger combinations starting around noon. Red and cream for the larva, black and olive for the pupa and emergers. Size 24 and 26 for the pupa, and size 26 for the emergers. I would suggest that it's about time to switch over to 6x tippet, with the water clearing up a bit. Downriver, a mix of baetis nymph imitations would be a good idea. There's some BWO and PMD nymphs that are becoming active, so some rootbeers, RS2s, gray and chocolate foamwings and even some small hare's ears should do the trick. I suspect we'll start to see some baetis adults on the water in a few weeks once this heat breaks and we start to see some cooler afternoons, especially on overcast days. Hope you can come out and give it a go soon. The next week or so it looks like there will be a little bit of a lull in the traffic here as a lot of summer vacations come to an end and folks are trying to get the kids back to school, so if you can slip away for a few days, you're likely to encounter less fishermen during this short window. If you would like more information or need to book a guide, give us a call at 505-632-2194.