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  • Jay Walden

December 22, 2019

Turns out I'm not crazy after all. Yeah, looks like all those folks who laughed at me for saying that people on TV were spying on me, are now gonna have to eat some crow. According to a report just released by the FBI, "smart" TVs that come with an internet connection are now susceptible to hackers that can access your home router and turn on your device's camera and microphone and cyber-stalk you. Ha! told you, they were watching me. Who's laughing now, when I talk back to Andy and Barney during those MeTV reruns? I told you, I told you, I told you. And just as I'm basking in my vindication—my sister sends me an Alexa for Christmas, so now I've got this strange lady talking back to me at all hours of the day and night. I tell ya, between all this and the dog following me from room to room, watching my every move, it's hard for a man to find any peace around here. Thank God, I can still get out on the river for a little quiet time, although there's still that little problem of all those voices in my head. My therapist has assured me though, that if I fish enough, in all likelihood, they'll go away in good time. One should always have something to look forward to, it keeps the spirits up.

Well, if you're wondering how the fishing is on the San Juan, here's the rundown. To begin with, yesterday was the first day of winter, and winter around here usually comes with a few drawbacks— one being colder weather, and the other, the lake turning over, which results in less than stellar conditions where the clarity of the water in the river is concerned. That said, we're down to about a foot of visibility in the ol' San Juan. It happens. Now, while this is generally not a positive thing, also know, it's usually not a deal breaker, either. The fishing is still good by comparative standards to other rivers that you can fish in the winter, it's just not as great here as when it's clear—in my opinion. Like I mentioned last week, the first thing to suffer is, customarily, the dry fly fishing. Based on my experiences over the last few weeks, that's the case right now. There's lots of bugs on the water, but there's few heads up. You can still get a few of them on dries, but it ain't something to write home about, as they say. Anyway, your best bet is nymphing, or streamers. And nymphing, of the two, seems to be the best route if you're looking to put numbers on the board. First of all, let me begin by saying I utterly detest the term "attractor fly." Somehow, that term doesn't quite feel right in the lexicon of fly fishing, to me, anyway. Sorta sounds like there is a "bait and switch" philosophy going on there and I don't like the term "bait" either, when it comes to fly fishing. Anyway, it just seems to me like if you're going to tie a fly onto your line and fish it, it should be something that a fish should be tricked into thinking is food, and eat, not some shiny bells and whistle gizmo that annoys them enough to get their attention and then they see the other "real'' fly and eat that. Anyway, just doesn't seem right, but I don't know how I got off on that subject. So, I do think it is just fine to use a more brightly colored fly when the water is off color, as it is now. I'm talking about something like an O.J., red larva, or say, a firecracker—that sort of thing. Without getting all twisted around the axle here about the esoteric nomenclature of the sport, at least these flies mimic a food source that our trout are familiar with, namely, a midge larva. Now that I have that off my chest, let us proceed, dear readers. So these larva patterns— turns out they work really well in the wintertime here. A big part of that, is that they are in the San Juan in great abundance and another is that these wintertime fish don't have to expend a lot of energy to find 'em. As for other fly choices, the usual midge pupa and emerger patterns in size 24 for the pupae and 24 and 26 for the emergers are also good choices. Lately, I've heard good things about Mercury midges. There are a few BWO adults present in the lower river, but definitely less than a few weeks ago, and while the winged adult version may not be as important to the fish right now, the baetis nymph remains an important food source throughout the winter here, especially the further down river you fish. Okay, now about streamers. Based on my recent experiences and what I've been hearing, smaller is better, no matter how counter-intuitive that may sound. My best results have come from size 12 bunny leeches in white, olive, and black. I tried some of the bigger stuff including some of those big cone-headed articulated beasts, but they didn't do much for me. So if you're coming out soon, that's my two cents worth for the week. Well, hope you can slip away for a day or two to try out some of that new Christmas gear that Santa dropped off. The fishing might not be of epic proportions like it is the summertime, but at least it beats watching Hallmark Channel Christmas reruns, sipping eggnog, and eating the leftover, stale Christmas cookies. If you would like more info or would like to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194. Happy Holidays and keep on rockin' in the free world.

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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