- Jay walden
November 10, 2019
Okay, I'll admit it, I've been slacking the last couple of months. And, of course, there's always a ton of excuses—my latest being that because I failed to draw a big game hunt this year, there was really no reason to push myself, physically, with all those tough workouts and hiking to keep myself in shape. But when you look down at your shoes, and the first thing you see is your belly, then maybe it's time to push yourself back from the dinner table and maybe set the fork down. And it probably wouldn't hurt to get outside more often and walk a little or maybe try a push-up or two on occasion. At 61 years of age and rapidly approaching 62, easier is getting harder everyday, and I know if I want to keep doing all these things I love in the great outdoors, there's really not a whole lot of time left to screw around with. Now, I know from probably watching more TV than I should lately, there's all these new kind of lotions and creams on the market that guarantee to make you look 10 years younger, but in reality, do you know the only thing that's gonna make you look 10 years younger? A photograph of yourself that was taken 10 years ago. Unless you're Pat Boone, you know, the same Pat Boone that my dad and mom used to listen to back in the 50's—I saw Pat on TV the other day advertising walk-in bathtubs, and Pat still looks great. I read somewhere recently that Pat played for the Virginia Creepers, an 80-84 age group Senior Olympic basketball team that narrowly lost to the Gold Medal team, but has now had to hang up his jersey, having aged out, at a still young 85. The jury is still out; however, on whether his mental acumen is keeping up with his great physical shape after having released a collection of heavy metal covers back in '97 and appearing in all black leather at the American Music Awards to promote the album—so, there's still that part to worry about. But the point I'm trying to make here, if there is one, is that if you're passionate about any outdoor sport, like fly fishing, and you want to continue to participate in it up into your "golden years" it's probably a good idea to keep yourself into at least a semblance of decent shape in order to enjoy it for as long as possible. If you need inspiration, just think about Pat Boone running wind sprints at basketball practice at the age of 84, that ought to do it. Well, maybe I got off topic here, but in my own defense, sometimes I just sit down and start typing and I don't really know where this thing is going to go, but actually I'm trying to help—especially you young whippersnappers that are just getting into the sport. I just know that I meet a lot of guys in the shop that are in their 80's, some even in their 90's, that are still out here doing it, and I'm inspired. Rock on, dudes! I just hope that if I make it that long, I'll still be able to spend some of that time on the water.
By the way, honestly, I'm really okay, or I think I am, so there's really no reason to call the authorities to stop by for a wellness check. Well, let's see what's happening on the Ol' San Juan these days. We've got flows of around 300 cfs, with clear water conditions. I fully expected the water level to go back to 500 cfs this past Tuesday, as I was told by someone by the BOR, but of course that never happened. I asked again on Wednesday and was told the folks doing the fish study downstream wanted a little more time and they really weren't sure when it would change, but I have heard the 14th of this month as a possibility. Anyway, none of that really matters anyway—the fishing here has been great at this present water level and I really don't expect that to change with a bump of another 200 cfs. The real news around here has been these prolific baetis hatches we've been seeing in the lower river every day. Lots and lots of BWOs and lots and lots of rising fish. For a dry fly fisherman, it's been a little slice of heaven after having endured times this year that were harder than back in '32. If you're interested in this sort of thing, it starts around 12:30 or 1:00 each day with a few of these little critters showing up on the water and then you'll see a rising fish or two, and then it'll build to a crescendo where there's fish rising all over, and it'll continue that way gradually dropping off after several hours of mayhem, and by 4:00 or 4:30 it's all done for the day. So if this appeals to you, grab yourself a box of your favorite BWO imitations in sizes 24 and 22 and a spool of 6x tippet and you're off to the races. I suggest you eat your lunch before 12:30, because you won't want to set your rod down once it starts. Before the hatch, and afterwards, baetis nymphs like rootbeers, fluff baetis, RS2s, and foamwings will get you into fish in the same parts of the river. In the upper river, concentrate more on the usual midge patterns that are always effective on the San Juan, like red and cream larva earlier in the day, and black pupa and emerger patterns in size 24 and 26 in the afternoons. You are also likely to see fish rising to midges starting around noon, so fore and afts, and adult single midges in size 24 and 26 fished on a 7x tippet will be effective. Overall, the entire river is fishing well right now, so you really can't go wrong no matter where you choose to fish. This baetis thing is generally good at least through Thanksgiving, sometimes lasting even a little longer, so plan accordingly, but the overall fishing here typically stays good up until the lake turns over usually around Christmas or New Year's, regardless of the hatch. Hope you can make it out soon. If you would like to book a guide or need more info, give us a call at 505-632-2194.