- Jay Walden
Howdy! It's been a while. Honestly, outside of some non- fishing related gibberish that some of you may, or may not, find entertaining, you really haven't been missing a lot. First of all, it's been a really cold winter here so I've been cherry picking the days where the high temperature is above 40 degrees to fish, and there really hasn't been a lot of those. Secondly, I tend to only get up on my soap box and crow when there is something of note to warrant crowing about, and the last month- and- a-half of my fishing experiences haven't really been anything to make my momma proud of me. Now, a big part of that, no doubt, has to do with the fact that I am one of those holier-than-thou, pretentious dry fly fishermen. And the dry fly fishing, at least for me, has been less than stellar here, for a while. I did have some, what I would call "marginal" success on streamers, which is my second favorite method of fly fishing, on a few days, but it wasn't exceptional enough to drag me out into the cold, winter elements, itching for more. Anyway, I suppose that based on what I have been seeing on the river for the last little while, with little or no evidence of a hatch going on, and fish holding like statues, tight to the bottom, your best bet to entice any of them would be to dangle some nymphs in front of their noses under an indicator—if one were so inclined to do so. Me, I'm just gonna wait a bit until I start seeing some more bugs out there and a rising fish or two. My thoughts are that the present situation isn't going to improve where that is concerned until something changes, and by process of elimination, I think that the only thing left, is the weather. It's just going to have to get warmer, over a consistent period of time, to get these bugs out of thier winter funk and start doing their thing. Maybe next Friday through Tuesday when the highs are around 60 and the lows are above freezing at night, would be my guess—or hope. So, if you're looking to put some fish in the net in the meantime, you best come prepared to nymph.
Okay, first of all, the State Park reopened the Quality Water section of the river this week to non-residents. And, the campgrounds are now open, as well, but according to their website, you need a reservation, first. Reservations can be made online on the NM State Park website. Another thing of note is that yearly parking pass renewals are temporarily unavailable at this time, due to the fact that they are out of 2021 placards. Apparently, no one noticed that the ones they already had printed only ran from 2017 through 2021—so, if you buy one any month of this year and they are good for twelve months from the date of purchase—well, all you big- brained science and engineering majors will have to do the math on that one. Welcome to New Mexico, please set you watches back 20 years. Anyway, the lady I talked to at the State Park office in Santa Fe, read me a two-week-old e-mail from Reserve America (the company contracted to administer the program) saying they were unavailable, but they should have them soon. So—we should have them—"soon." In the meantime, if you're coming here planning to renew you annual parking pass to fish, bring some cash or a check to feed the pay station in the parking lot, until this gets straightened out. As far as river conditions go, the water clarity has been the best I can ever recall all winter long, which leads me to believe that's not the reason the fish aren't rising, like other years when it has been murky from lake turnover in late winter and early spring. I would guess the visibility is about two-and-a-half feet, or better. The flow is currently at 393 cfs which is about where it has been all winter and I would think it will stay in that range for a considerable time longer until we start seeing runoff later in the spring. The Southern San Juans have a pretty good snowpack so far with about a month-and-a-half to go to reach peak, so we should be in pretty good shape for having good water to fish for the rest of the year. To sum it all up, the fishing is pretty good right now, providing you don't mind nymphing to catch them and things should be looking up on the dry fly business side of things, before long . Hope you can get out and enjoy the river now that the worst of the winter weather seems to be behind us.