A group of colleagues and I headed to the San Juan River late last week. We departed Denver at 5 a.m. and arrived to Navajo Dam New Mexico at 11 a.m. Believe it not, we were fishing by noon! What else can you ask for? Our group of tailwater junkies found the fishing to be quite good! We fooled trout on an assortment of tiny midge patterns, Baetis nymphs in the afternoon, and an assortment of streamer patterns.
The nymph fishing was consistently good with egg patterns, red midge larvae, and tiny (size 24-26) brown and black pupae. We targeted the slower water, concentrating our efforts in many of the tailouts where the fish were stacked up. At 3 p.m. the blue-winged olives began popping (in the stretches above the Gravel Pit) so we switched to mayfly nymphs and fished the transitional zones that funneled into the deeper water. The trout were feeding hard on Baetis nymphs for about an hour. I also saw a few fish feeding on mayfly duns which is a sure sign spring is almost here!
During the non-hatch periods we found streamer fishing to be excellent. In some stretches we fished with big streamers incorporating aggressive retrieves, while others we found that a small olive Crystal Bugger with slow, short strips was most effective. Overall the streamer fishing was very productive! It's nice to mix things up a bit, especially after you have been staring at a strike indicator all winter.
The fishing on the San Juan River is about as good as it gets! I am already planning my next trip back. If you are looking for an excellent place to stay, I would highly recommend the Soaring Eagle Lodge. They have great guides, excellent accommodations, and the food is off the charts!
Soaring Eagle Lodge