- Jay walden
December 1, 2019
Everything was going fine until a fist-fight broke out over the last of the broccoli casserole. If you're reading this, then congratulations—you've managed to survive another Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws and outlaws. And here we are and it's December already— boy, how the time seems to fly. Before you know it Christmas will be here and we'll have to deal with uncle Jimmy hitting the eggnog again and running his trap all evening, going on with all his crazy conspiracy stories. Jeez, Jimmy, give it a break, will ya? I read yesterday that online shoppers spent $7.4 billion in one single day—Black Friday—and we've still got Cyber Monday coming up where they're expected to spend another estimated $9.4 billion. This doesn't even take into account Small Business Saturday sales figures that were $17.8 billion in 2018 and are expected to grow by about 20 per cent for this year. What the hell is wrong with people, anyway? Reminds me of the old George Carlin bit about, "more stuff." And each holiday season there's always this hot new thing that everyone just has to have—you remember the good ol' days when someone would take a punch in the face in the isles of Walmart for a Cabbage Patch Doll or a set of Ginsu Knives? Well, this year's little beauty seems to be the Ninja Foodie thing, the gadget that can fry your french fries outta thin air. I, for one, am not sold just yet and I suggest that, you too, view this new product with a healthy dose of skepticism and not sign off on the thing until you have gone over to a friend's house and personally tried these "so called" fries, and unless they don't taste just like the ones fried in 350 degree hot grease—don't buy the dang thing. Here's another idea for ya—how bout this Christmas you just put down the smartphone and go fishing instead? Heck, if it makes you feel any better you can wear a Santa hat out there—nobody's gonna judge. Common sense should tell ya that a day on the water is gonna be much better for your blood pressure than a day fighting the crowd at the mall. Sheesh! Enough, already.
Well, I'm glad we got that out of the way. I tell ya, friends and neighbors. So, if you were one of those brave souls that came to the San Juan this past week, then bless you pilgrim. No doubt you had some good fishing—and depending on which days you were here—you either had some great weather or some challenging weather or perhaps a little of both. Well, this week things look to be a little more favorable, weather-wise, with highs in the mid 40s, very little wind, and no more of those single digit nights for awhile. And the fishing? I think it's been great and with the weather, consistent flows of around 577 cfs, and clear water conditions we'll see this week, I think this next week is gonna be another good one. As far as specifics about what's going on, well, here's my take. Those tremendous BWO hatches we've been seeing for over a month now, seem to be slowing down a bit, in my opinion. There's some bugs still around in the afternoon, but they seem to be more localized and those hatches don't seem to be those same blanket hatches we saw only a week or so ago. Now, that said, I don't think we've seen the last of these little critters for the year and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if we see a recurrence anytime throughout the winter. But, here's the good news. What we've been lacking in BWO hatches seems to be filled with an increase in midge activity. Now, the really good news with this, is that you no longer have to wait around till 1:00 in the afternoon waiting for the magic to take place, especially if you're a dry fly fisherman. In fact, I've seen rising fish out there as early as 9:00 am, this past week. Now, mind you, this is while I'm walking the dog, but they're rising nonetheless. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a morning person and I have to have my two cups of Joe and wait for that to kick in, then ramble around the house looking for socks and what have you for an hour or so, so I can rarely get on the water by 10:30 at the best, but I bet you I could catch some of these fish right now if someone were to invent an IV drip of coffee that automatically started around 7:00 am. Now as far as the nymphing business goes, that's pretty solid right now, too. The usual small San Juan midge stuff will serve you well and you can probably go more to the emerger side of things a little earlier in the day since these fish are up in the water column a bit sooner than we've seen in the past. There's still plenty of baetis nymphs that are active in the lower river, especially just below the riffles, so rootbeers, RS2s, and foam wings in chocolate and grey are good choices. Now, I did spend one windy afternoon tossing streamers this past week with mixed results. It wasn't exactly on fire for me, but the fish I did catch were all quality fish. My best results came from a size 12 white bunny leech. If you are a streamer aficionado, I don't know if I would base your chance of great fishing on my one single episode, especially since I'n not the best at it, but I do love that addictive tug when you can feel the whole weight and power of the fish reverberating right down the line to the rod and up your entire arm like a jolt of electricity. My experience on this river with streamers ranges from great, to so-so and I'm sure it has a lot to do with my limited skills. I'm like that kid down the block when you were growing up that always claimed to know karate and someone would always say, "Yeah, he knows just about enough to get his butt kicked real good." That kinda sums up my streamer skills. Anyway, hope you can make it out this week and enjoy the good weather and fishing. If you would like more info or would like to book a guide, give us a call at 505-632-2194.