- Jay Walden
September 6, 2020
Labor Day Weekend—the unofficial end of summer. As much as I love summer, somehow, I'm not so sad to see this one go. Not that the passing of a season is going to change the present situation, but in some way, it feels just a little bit better to know that you're moving on from something, renewed hope that things will get better, eventually. I've lived long enough to know that sometimes, possibility is all you need to keep on keepin' on, when times are tough. I don't know how you feel about things, but I hope we never have to go through another summer like this one. Well, here we are just hoping that we make it long enough the see the leaves change, taking her one day at a time. It's about all a man can do these days. Yesterday it was 95 degrees here, Tuesday some parts of the state are likely to see snow—one never knows— when such a great deal of uncertainty, is suddenly and unexpectedly, dumped right into the middle of your lap.
On another note, this past Thursday we saw the flow here on the Juan bumped up from just a little over 800 cfs to around 950 cfs and then slowly inch downward to somewhere around 900, a range where it's likely to stay for a while, due to dry conditions in the area. This made the fishing a little tougher for a couple days, in my opinion, although they have probably returned back to normal by now—normal for 900 cfs flows, that is. Thursday, when the water started going up, I saw a lot of big gobs of green moss floating by, something I didn't see on Friday. One thing that it did not affect was that afternoon midge hatch that's been taking place behind structure, islands, and along the grassy banks. Thursday, I fished midge cluster patterns to rising fish from about 2:00 till I had to leave the river around 5:45 pm. On Friday, I fished a different spot that didn't lend itself to those conditions—it was more open water—but I did run into an unexpected BWO hatch on the lower river around 2:00 that kept me busy fishing a size 24 Comparadun to rising fish up until after 4:00. It was a bit strange to see such a large number of BWOs on the water under a bright bluebird sky with temperatures in the 90's, but then again, we are living in strange times, so who knows? Anyway, I imagine that Baetis patterns are going to begin to be a more important offering in your fly selection anywhere in the lower sections of the river in the upcoming weeks—rootbeers, RS2s, and the like, would be good fly choices. Up higher, it will probably remain the usual midge larva/pupa combination earlier in the day and the pupa/emerger combo starting around 11:00. If you're looking for action on dries, your best bet is to park yourself around an area that has grassy banks, or behind an island around 2:00 and look for some heads when the clusters start forming. My go to fly has been a size 22 Western Bloody Butcher for an imitation of the clusters. Downriver, I would expect to start seeing those BWO hatches to start becoming more of a reliable thing, especially with the weather cooling this week. I like a size 24 olive bodied Adams, or a CDC Comparadun for that action—7x tippet helps. Monday and Tuesday this week look like they will be really windy, so I think I might sit those two days out, I've got a couple of hunts coming up soon so those days might be good days to stay inside and sort through my gear—something I have been procrastinating on for weeks. Wednesday, there's a good chance of rain and the high is supposed to be around 57 degrees which sounds like great BWO weather if the wind behaves, so we'll see. Hope you can make it out soon, we've got some great fall weather coming up at the end of the week.