June 13, 2021
We're only a week away from the official start of summer, but if you've been to New Mexico lately, then you know we've already got a jump on things out here. It's like someone done and went and turned up the heat dial to 11 already. Hot and dry, I tell ya' and it looks like more of the same for the foreseeable future—I'm guessin' pretty much the rest of this summer. Anyway, enough about the weather—I actually like the heat—I'll take it any day over cold and snow. Just one more thing though and I'll move on—I'd like to register a formal complaint about the recent update to The Weather Channel app that now no longer offers the hour-by-hour wind forecast. I've since switched over to Weather Underground, but I'm finding that they're a little too conservative on their wind predictions—nowhere near as accurate as The Weather Channel used to be and that info is extremely important for a dry fly fisherman. I guess I'll get through it without having to call Dr. Phil or anything serious like that, just add 5 or 10 miles per hour to the afternoon forecast, it's just I hate to use valuable brain power for math when I need all I can get for fishing. It seems exceptionally hard when there are odd numbers involved or you have to carry the 1.
Well, the fishing has been really good lately, even on the dry fly side of things, despite the lack of any real appreciable hatches. The water is still on the low side here, presently at 324 cfs. and the visibility is fantastic. We're probably looking at maybe a couple more weeks at this water level on the San Juan, currently the Animas River is dropping fairly quickly and most of the snow in the high country is about gone, as soon as the Animas gets low the BOR here is most likely gonna raise the San Juan to compensate for the combined flow downstream. My guess is that we will see flows in the 800 to 900 cfs range for a big part of the summer and possibly even longer if we don't have a good monsoon season in late summer. Outside of the river being unfishable for a few days once the water starts to go up, due to the all didymo in the river right now that's going to cut loose, we should have a whole lot more water to fish soon, which will come as a welcome reprieve to all the guide boats jockeying for position at 324 cfs. As far as what the fish are doing right now—there's been some midge activity in the afternoon with a few heads up here and there, but it's really nothing to write home to momma about. Most of the feeding activity I've been seeing has mainly been emerger activity from early afternoon and culminating into sort of a feeding frenzy just about an hour before dark. Outside of that, there's a lot of fish parked on the bottom, but if you can put a pupa or larva pattern right on their nose, they'll eat. Later on, when that emerger business gets going, switch it up to your midge emerger patterns, or if you're looking to fish dries, you can pick up some fish on a size 24 Morgan's midge on 7x tippet. Lately, I've been targeting fish in the shallows with terrestrial patterns and that's been keeping me busy enough. With the bluebird skies and warm temperatures, we've been seeing lately I think it's unlikely we'll see much in the way of a Baetis hatch, although I have seen a few late, like 5:00 late, in some areas of the river—just not in numbers enough to make me want to tie on an Adams or Comparadun, but I think that the nymphs are active enough, especially lower downriver to warrant trying a few of your favorite baetis nymph patterns if you are nymphing. It's been a little busy here lately, especially with the boat traffic. I expect with a lot more water opening up soon all over the West, as more steams become fishable, we may see this dissipate a bit in weeks to come. Anyway, the fish here are fat and happy right now, and if you don't mind a little heat, the San Juan ain't a bad place to be. Hope to see you on the water.