View Full Version : San Juan River
07-09-2005, 08:29 PM
I'll be fishing the San Juan River in New Mexico for a couple of days this coming week. Anyone have experience/tips for fishing there, other than avoiding the "San Juan Shuffle?"
07-09-2005, 10:59 PM
I would sugest the "San Juan Two-Step" much more entertaining :lol:
07-15-2005, 06:15 PM
Fished the San Juan over the past two days. It is indeed full of big healthy trout, which almost outnumber the fishermen. My first morning, I found a beautiful deep run all to myself upstream from the "Texas Hole" area and had a nice fish break off both flies on my nymph rig right away. By the time I was rigged up again, there were 8-10 fishermen surrounding me up and downstream, spaced about 30-40 ft apart. Different etiquette there, I guess. Without any further strikes in my newly-restricted casting zone, I decided that if it was going to be crowded, I might as well go where there are more fish.
So I headed down to the Texas Hole, which is a place where the whole river comes together, after a braided area, and plunges down a couple of cascades into a huge deep swirling pool. Wade fishers line one side of the pool, while the more successful drift boaters play bumper car on the other side of the main run through the hole. I had a large number of hits on tiny #24 midges and managed to land a few, including a 19-inch rainbow and one 14-inch brown. The rainbows are really fat and remind me of Yuba rainbows in stamina, except they seem to run more. The takes on an indicator rig run from subtle to just "hold on and watch your indicator and line scream out deep into the pool." Most of my time was spent picking algae off of my nymphs. Everything is covered with algae, and gobs of it float throughout the water column.
The most interesting thing I saw was a ~20-inch rainbow that hung around my feet for about an hour, grabbing big chunks of floating algae and aggressively mashing them, sometimes shaking his head, I guess to dislodge worms and scuds. I thought of trying to drop nymphs down to him, but it is illegal on the San Juan to fish at or downstream from your feet for trout that might be feeding on stuff that you may have dislodged while wading (the famous San Juan shuffle).
Anyway it was a somewhat frustrating but overall fun experience. I'm not sure if I will take the trouble to get there again, however; I like a little more casting room when I fish.
07-15-2005, 11:07 PM
Hi Don,.... Kinda sounds like you needed an algae fly :lol: :lol: :lol:
You did OK tho.... The description of the fish you caught sound very nice. 8) 8)
Unfortunately, crowding seems to be the norm on many quality destinations.... :( :( Gotta be gregarious nowadays.... :D :D
07-17-2005, 02:28 PM
I also thought of an algae fly - perhaps made of dark olive egg yarn, if such a thing exists. It could have a couple of San Juan worms sticking out of it, and perhaps a scud or two attached to the surface... :wink:
07-17-2005, 10:35 PM
WOW!!!!,.... multiple flies on one hook :shock: :shock: What a great concept 8) 8) No more tangles between the point and dropper flies 8) 8) . Can't wait to try it out 8) (.....with your permission of course :D :P :P )
07-17-2005, 11:01 PM
Yeah Don, you might be on to something there with the multiple fly on one hook thing. . . . :lol: This may take fly tying and fishing to a whole new level. Hmmm . . . maybe I could simulate part of a weed mat for largemouth bass. . . . Will have to give this some serious thought. . . . :lol: :lol:
07-17-2005, 11:20 PM
Hey Mike,.... Remember those hippie flowers that used to be on everything :?: :?: You could use some artificial turf for the weed mats and a flower or two to simulate water lillies :roll: :roll: :P :P :P
07-17-2005, 11:32 PM
Thanks for the report , sounds like you had fun !
Two questions ....
#1 - It sounds like your fish were in pretty good shape - I've heard that the S.J. Trout are sort of 'tired' , and can be covered in sores . Did you see anything like that ?
#2 - Midges are the 'go-to' flies , but there has to be larger food items in there
(Dragons , Craneflies , Sculpins , crawdads) ... . Did you try streamers ??
Thanks again , David
07-18-2005, 08:15 AM
All but one of the fish that I caught looked really good, including the only brown that I caught or saw while I was there. One 14-inch rainbow was the exception for me. It fought pretty hard but appeared to be blind in one eye (it was all cloudy), had a pretty nasty sore on the corner of his mouth (where my hook was, but I don't think I caused that much damage fighting and netting him pretty quickly), and his color was pale and weird for a rainbow. So most appeared to be very healthy, which is pretty amazing, considering that I probably saw well over a hundred fish caught and released from the Texas Pool just during one afternoon. I think they stock the place with tens of thousands of rainbow fingerlings each year, so maybe there are just so many fish that they are not all that beat up. I saw several fish get foul-hooked by nymph fishermen, which suggested that there were a lot of them in that pool cruzing around.
I did try both black and olive wooly buggers as the lead fly for a while. I got a big hit with the black one one, but it got off, as most of my fish did. I also tried a rubber-legged stonefly nymph as the lead fly without any luck. Although I had them with me, I did not try any sculpin or other streamer patterns. Hits on the midges were frequent enough to keep me trying with those, but I wonder if bigger flies might be the key to the really big lunkers that are said to be in there.
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