This first week of Daylight Savings Time has been wonderful. Sunday, when time sprang forward, seemed like the first day of spring. The weather was perfect, and trees were showing some swollen buds, San Juan River rainbows were feeding, and I was fortunate to guide a couple of good fly fishermen down the river.
We (they) caught 50-some trout – all rainbows but one, a 16-inch brown. We caught a few fish in Texas Hole, mostly on red annelids, size 24, fished below strike indicators at about 6 feet. We used small, bright pink eggs (cherise) as attractors above the annelids.
The action really picked up in lower Texas Hole where we landed a 20 ½ inch rainbow along with more than a dozen 12 to 17-inchers. The big fish ate the annelid in shallow water which we were dead-drifting at about 3 feet.
From lower Texas Hole through Lunker alley, big light pink egg patterns were the most productive fly. When I say “big” I mean something you might mistake for a cheerleader’s pom pom. We also did well on black scintilla midges in size 22.
The last bit of the Quality Waters, from Simon Canyon to Crusher Hole, was very productive. We drifted the big pink eggs with copper-head black midges at a depth of about 2 ½ feet through the faster runs.
Guides, Ben Hahn and J.B. Brown, spent several days on the San Juan with Rainbow Lodge guests this week. All of those anglers scored many fish and reported that black midges and red larvae were the key. However, several large rainbows in the low to mid twenty-inch range fell for leeches stripped quickly in slower moving water. White leeches still seem to be the most popular with black a close second.
With the San Juan still off-color from the yearly Navajo Reservoir turnover it is important to fish with flies that have sparkle. Wooley buggers and leeches that have krystal flash in their tails and bodies out - perform their plain counterparts. Similarly, midge and baetis patterns with bead heads, metallic ribbing, and flashy wing material will attract more trout than the simple patterns we fish in the normally clear water.
Perhaps the most exciting happening of the past week was our forming a business relationship with a land owner on the lower river who has a gorgeous stretch of private water. J.B., Chef Amber, and I spent hours checking out the great runs and nice pools in the area and enjoying the peace and solitude afforded there. It didn’t fish very well, but I know it will once the river clears up. We float through that water often, and there are lots of nice brown trout that eat heartily when the visibility is good. I can’t wait to take clients wade-fishing down there!