- Jay Walden
February 9, 2020
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.... Well, we had a couple of days this past week where it actually felt like spring and today, and tomorrow, look pretty good, but then we've got a winter storm moving in and we're likely to see some snow and colder temperatures, starting on Tuesday. Welcome to February, that's the way the world goes 'round. It's the month where you've almost reached the end of your rope with winter and you get a few nice days to give you hope, only to have them dashed by a snowstorm. The only month I can think of that has a normalization of deviance already built into the system. Eventually, you come to accept it. But, hey, we still have Valentine's Day and there's Lobsterfest at Red Lobster, so all is not lost. Is it just me, or is there always some kinda Fest going on at Red Lobster? Someone needs to track this stuff. I'm not sure, but I think we're all being had. At least we've made it through the Super Bowl halftime show and now we can all go back to leading our normal lives again. So we've got that going for us—which is good. Come on springtime!
Okay, the San Juan. Well, depending on who you talk to, the fishing's been like the weather—hot and cold. But then, that's really how winter fishing is in general. I wish I had a better explanation to offer, so we could all feel better about it and because we fly fisher types always need a reason for everything no matter how far-fetched or convoluted, but I don't rightly have any great enlightenment on this. This time of the year seems to always be the most consistently inconsistent season of them all here, in my opinion, and I can never seem to make much in the way of rhyme or reason out of it other than to say that the warmer days seem to be the better fishing days. Maybe it all has to do with water temperature, that's about the best I can offer. Anyway, I will say this—even on the not-so-good-days, it's been pretty good this winter. Hands down better than last winter. On top of that, there have been some really good days randomly tossed into the mix. All in all, the conditions have been pretty good, especially where water clarity and flows have been concerned. The really good news is that I think it is only going to get better, going forward, particularly when we start to see some warmer weather. Now, about flows and clarity. First of all, we've seen stable flows throughout the winter in the 500 cfs range. I heard that the BOR plans to drop the level to 400 cfs beginning tomorrow, but that should't upset the fishing any. If anything, I think it will actually make things easier, lending to more sight fishing opportunities. On the clarity side of things, the visibility is currently somewhere around eighteen inches, give or take an inch or two. That's not too shabby for this time of year. It's doubtful that is likely to change for the worse, given that we've pretty much passed the window of the lake turning over again. More than likely, it's going to improve over time as we get into late spring. All that said, you're probably going to have some pretty good fishing, by winter standards, if you decide to come out anytime during the rest of this month. As far as flies go, black, olive, and gray midges in size 24 and 26 should be your mainstay, along with red larva, O.J.s, and firecrackers in size 22. Toss a few RS2s, foamwings, and rootbeers into the mix, for the lower sections of the river. The streamer action has been pretty good as long as you keep them small (size 12) in white, olive, and black. Now, the dry fly thing. Based my recent experiences, this has been where the most inconsistent part of the fishing has been. There have been some pretty good days lately with dries, some okay days, and some not so good days. Just depends on what the midges feel like doing on any particular day. What I haven't seen in several weeks are those prolific midge hatches that go on for hours here in the winter, producing midge clusters the size of silver dollars. Still, there are some rising fish and most of those are during mid-day to mid-afternoon, and most seem to be rising to single midges. My best producer has been a size 24 gray adult midge pattern. I have heard over the last few days that there are some adult BWOs showing up around 2:00 in the lower river, although there doesn't seem to be a lot of them just yet, it could be a sign of things to come. Well, looks like I'll have to get out there tomorrow and kick the tires a bit, given that it's gonna be one of the better weather days this week. I'll get back to you next week and let you know how it went. It's better to burn out than it is to rust. If you would like more information or need to book a guide trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.