Well, maybe it's just me. Honestly, I haven't had what I would consider a "great'' day of fishing since back in December. Now, granted, I have been fishing only dry flies, and of course there's been the wind to contend with that we always get in March, and especially April, but it's been a long time since I went out and just "hammered" them. Consider too, that my definition of "great" may slightly differ from others, I'll be the first to admit that my expectations may be somewhat skewed, fishing a river that is as comfortable and familiar as an old friend. Still, this has been the longest dry spell for me that I can recall, given the favorable water conditions we've had through the winter and early spring. I'm not gonna waste your time here and cry about it too much, it's a problem of my own doing and I could probably remedy it by simply switching over to a nymph rig until the dry fly fishing picks up, but I'm stubborn that way, so I'm just going to man up and take it for a while longer, it'll happen eventually—I'd be willing to bet on it—this river never disappoints for very long. In the meantime, I've got spring gobblers to chase, so it's not like I'm bored or anything. One day the dry fly fishing will turn on like someone flipped a switch, and when it does —oh buddy, watch out!
So, here's the deal for the here and now. The flow here is currently at 539 cfs. I personally consider anything between 500 to about 650 cfs to be just about perfect for the type of fishing I like to do, which involves a lot of sight fishing. The visibility is somewhere around two- and- a- half feet—not San Juan gin-clear— like summer and fall, but still very good for this time of year. It'll get there eventually. I would venture to guess that the water level will remain in the 500 to 600 cfs range for the next month or longer. With warmer weather on the way, the Animas River should start to see some runoff start up, at least from lower elevation snow melt and reduce the need to raise the San Juan to maintain an acceptable combined flow downstream. I would be surprised if we see a high spring release of water here this year based on an average snow pack level in the San Juans and the current level of the lake. Most likely it'll stay about where it's at until runoff is done in the Animas and we'll see flows around 800 to 900 cfs throughout the summer, just like last year, especially if we see another dry summer, which is also likely. In the meantime, you'll still be able to catch enough fish to keep you happy if you're a nymph fisherman. Small midge patterns with an emphasis on red and cream larva should be the ticket, and emergers like crystal flash and ju-jus later in the day. Rootbeers, foamwings, and Rs2s are a good idea for the lower river. Honestly, I don't know what needs to happen for the dry fly switch to flip—the best fishing I've been able to pull off lately has been an hour or so during mid-day when there a few midges coming off, and that's only if the wind isn't doing its spring thing. But I have faith that it will happen—I don't know when and I don't know why, but I just know that the Ol' San Juan has never let me down. I've given up on concocting theories and decided to just let the river do her thing. You gotta believe, brothers and sisters, you gotta believe. Hope to see you on the water soon.