Novenber 14, 2021
Yeehaw! Grab your saddles, boys, and get ready for the last roundup. Well, here we are and it's almost Thanksgiving, and if you're like me, you find yourself dumbfounded, wondering where summer, and now fall, went. Fortunately, outside of a few windy days here and there, we are still being blessed with beautiful weather and some great fishing on the San Juan. Still some precious time to take advantage of great hatches and rising fish before the lake turns over or the snow starts to fly when we pray and watch the weather, hoping for a day when the high temperature rises to at least 40 degrees. My advice is to make the most of it—it's a long time between December and March. Currently, the fishing would be hard to beat here, compared to about anywhere else I could think of. On most days, there's fish rising to midges and midge clusters throughout the larger part of the day, and we are starting to see the beginnings of good BWO hatches in the lower river. About the only thing I can think of that would top that would be unlimited bread sticks or date night at Applebee's. Clear water, lots of bugs, and hungry fish—it doesn't get much better. I've been out there, brothers and sisters, just me, the fly, and the fish, living inside of my little snow globe fantasy world, the one you shake and midges fly around instead of snowflakes—paging Dr. Freud, Dr. Freud. The Flyfishing Narcissist trying to hog every fish on the entire San Juan, for myself.
Okay, so the flow right now is 302 cfs. Now don't let that scare you. Sure, there's some places where you used to fish that aren't holding fish, but there's other places that are truly loaded with them—basically any place that is deep enough to offer fish reasonable cover and has enough current to move some bugs. And yes, the dry fly fishing is still a little bit technical with clear, low water, but it's always technical on the Juan, except maybe during an ant fall. Just remember to use some 7x tippet and make decent presentations and you'll be just fine. I've been seeing fish rising to midges as early as 10:00 and it really picks up around noon and generally keeps going until 3 or 4:00. There'll be about a half hour to 45-minute break and then you'll start to see emerger rises that will hit a crescendo as the sun sets, up until dark. My go to fly has been a size 24 black adult midge, switching to a size 22 bloody butcher during the cluster part of the hatch, and then—wait—are you ready for this? a size 12 foam ant, as the sunset begins. I know, go figure, a foam ant in November. Now, granted, not all of those emerger eatin' fish aren't gonna eat it, but you can get plenty enough that will, to keep it interesting, if you're willing to stay out late. If you're looking more for BWO action, focus on the area below Simon Canyon, the bugs and the fish are starting to get frisky down there. I imagine that hatch will start to extend further upriver in coming weeks. Alrighty, one last thing—the BOR was supposed to begin a high release of 1300 cfs for 10 days on November 25 to put some much-needed water into Lake Powell. Tentatively, this has now been moved to sometime later in December and is currently under scrutiny as to whether it will be altered or even happen at all this winter. The ultimate decision will undoubtedly be based on what we see for early winter snowfall. Hope to see you on the water.