• Jay Walden

March 7, 2021

Of Mice and Men. When things start to get a little slow and boring in your life, it helps to have a goal—something to look forward to, something that will act as a catalyst to stir your imagination, get the old creative juices flowing again. Now more than ever, when it's not really winter, yet it's not quite spring and you're waiting around for the fishing to be what you think it ought to be , you need that goal, that challenge, to get you through the rough patch. Last year, I got the bright idea that I wanted to catch a trout on a mouse pattern. I found a very cool, realistic pattern online and I bought a couple. Now, in this old world, there's two types of people—Those who do, and those who watch it on TV from the comfort of their couch. I'd seen several YouTube videos of people catching monster trout in Kamchatka and New Zealand— honestly it didn't look that hard, if you had willing fish. Apparently, in New Zealand they have "mouse years" about every three to five years or so, where the native beech trees have a masting period and go to seed , and the mouse population explodes, and the fish gorge on them. Anyway, I didn't expect the same thing to happen here in New Mexico or Colorado, but I figured if I tried, I could probably get a trout or two to eat a mouse pattern, so I stuck two of them in my big fly box that I use for terrestrials. Mostly, I just carried them all over hell and creation for months on end, although I did tie 'em on a time or two and toss them to a couple of fish that looked to be, possibly, "in the mood." Really, I didn't pursue it with very much dedication, which is what you really got to do if you really want to make a new fly or technique work, and towards the end the summer I got tired of dealing with all the space they took up in my box that could have been good real-estate for flies that were proven to catch fish, so I eventually took them out and stuck them in the kitchen cabinet, the one where I store a lot of miscellaneous junk. So, the other night I was looking for something in that cabinet and, lo and behold, there sat one of those suckers. Just looking at that cute little guy with his beady eyes and skinny tail, let me tell you brothers and sisters, my faith has been restored and I am once again on my quest for the Holy Grail of fly-fishing—to catch a trout on a mouse pattern before year's end. Wish me luck. Okay, enough about that. What about the here and now? Well, as far as conditions go, things were just about the same this past week as they were the week before. The flows here are still around 400 cfs and the visibility remains around two-and-a-half feet, or so, which is actually great for this time of year. As far as the bug activity, I didn't see any appreciable improvement this week, over last week. There was a valiant effort by some BWOs in the lower river on one of the days that I fished that brought a couple heads up around 2:00, but that only lasted for about 30 to 45 minutes, and before and after that, it was all crickets. A few days later, I experienced about the same thing on the upper river with midges, around 1:00. The good thing was that I had some beautiful spring weather to do it in and soaked up some much-needed vitamin D, standing around staring at the river waiting for a fish to rise. For you dry fly aficionados, I know this is probably not what you were hoping to hear, but there ain't no need for me to go putting lipstick on a pig. Really and truly, I think we are still several weeks away from good dry-fly fishing. I hope I am wrong on that. We've got a couple good days of 60 degree weather coming up and then the temperature drops back to the 40s and 50s and I don't think that's helping the program. In the meantime, it's going to be nymphing game—the old tried and true San Juan midge patterns in the upper river and baetis patterns like small pheasant tails, rootbeers and foam-wing emergers from the Texas Hole on down the river. Concentrate your efforts in the main current, current seams, and tailouts where there is some moving water bringing bugs to fish. There's a lot of dead water out there at 400 cfs and there's no use wasting your time nymphing frog water watching an indicator that only moves six inches in fifteen minutes. Expect some company on the water, especially on the weekends, there's a lot of pent-up demand for people that will do about anything right now just to get out of the house for a day or two. Good luck and stay safe out there.

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Jay's Fishing Reports

Books by
Jay Walden
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To our faithful fishing report readers, 

Here's a way to get your rainbow trout fix 'til you are able to hit the San Juan again-- available online only

Check each style out--there are a variety of colors, fabrics & sizes to enjoy.

Special thanks to designer & artist, Matt Zudweg 

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As a small aside and attempt at shameless self-promotion, there was an article featured  on Flyfisherman Magazine's website written by yours truly about the 60th anniversary of Abe's Fly Shop that can be accessed through the following link: Abe's Anniversary. Hope you can make it out this week. If you would like more information or would like to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194. 

Abe's Fly Shop Turns 60 - FlyFisherman.com

Watercolor by Tim Oliver                                          Photos Courtesy of Abe Chavez

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