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  • Jay Walden

November 1, 2020

Once upon a time there was a man with a cow—no wait, we're not doing that one this week. Other than a storm that dumped six inches of snow here and temperatures that dropped to the low 20s, a world-wide pandemic, a presidential election campaign, a blue moon (that happens only once in a blue moon, or so I am told), Halloween, the end of daylight savings time, 007 dying,  and asteroid 2018VP1 heading toward earth, it was a pretty normal week around here—and that doesn't even take into account that McDonald's brought back the McRib. Despite it all, I managed to pull off a successful elk hunt, and a couple days of good fishing, so we're gonna chalk the whole thing up as a success. Perhaps this coming week will be, well, a little less eventful, nonetheless. At least the weather is supposed to be nicer.  Presently, the flow here on the San Juan stands at 533 cfs, with crystal clear water conditions. The fishing, outside of the gnarly weather earlier in the week, has been good. This coming week looks to offer some of the best weather early November can offer, with highs in the lower 70s and lots of sunshine, so if you're looking for a little fishing, this would be the time to do it. As far as what's been happening on the water, here is what I have observed the last few days. First, since the mornings have been a little cooler, I haven't been getting out until around 10:30, or so, so in good faith, I can't attest to what's going on before then, but by 10:30 there are lots of fish actively feeding on emergers. Lots. Usually by 11:00 you'll start to see a rise or two, to adult midges, and this just keeps getting better as the day goes on. If you're not into dries so much and don't want to stand around and wait for the magic to happen, or if you are early riser, I would bet that a shallow set up with a nymph rig with a pupa and emerger combo, would put you into fish right away—and as a matter of fact, if you are a die-hard nymph fisherman, it would probably keep you into fish throughout the larger part of the day. I've been starting out with either a size 24 Morgan's midge or a black or grey size 24 adult midge (the color doesn't seem to matter—it's just whichever you can see best based on the light conditions) when the hatch is just starting and these fish are picking off one bug at a time. They can be a little finicky during this time, so a 7x tippet is the sine qua non. As early as noon I have seen clusters of midges start to form in some areas and my go to then is a Bloody Butcher size 22. The intensity of this hatch holds up pretty well until 3:00 and then tapers off towards 4:00 and then stops abruptly like someone flipped a switch and the bugs disappear. Right in the middle of this—around 1:30 or 2:00, expect to see some BWOs to turn up as well, and the hatches I have seen in the upper river, at least, last about an hour. A size 22 olive comparadun or sparkle dun has been my go-to fly for the baetis imitation. If you stick it out till 5:00 and the wind doesn't come up you can find a few fish rising to single midges for about the next 30 or 45 minutes, but there's not a lot of them and by 6:00 it's a ghost town out there and the whole river seems to shut down. If you're nymphing anywhere in the lower river, it's probably a good idea to bring along some baetis imitations like rootbeers, RS2s, and some chocolate and grey foamwings, I suspect the baetis nymphs are quite active down there right now. Oh, one important thing—all the times I referenced above were daylight saving time hours, you'll have to adjust an hour for the time change—it also looks like I'm going to have to start getting up an hour earlier, which is kind of a bummer, but as long as there's fishing involved, it not such a bad deal. Hope you can make it out this week—we'll see you on the river.



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Jay Walden
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Jay's Fishing Report  

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 -

Watercolor by Tim Oliver                                          Photos Courtesy of Abe Chavez


Jay's Past Reports:  

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