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TopH2O Fishing Report, November 20

 
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DryFly



Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 327
Location: Farmington, NM

PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:29 am    Post subject: TopH2O Fishing Report, November 20 Reply with quote

Greetings to all and wishes for a joyous Holiday Season about to be upon us.

I am just now starting to spend a bit more time on my home-creek, the San Juan, after a summer and fall of exploring the high country to the north with only the occasional trip to the Juan. As most of you who prefer the "art of angling with the dry fly" will know, we have precious little time left to enjoy the Quality Waters as the lake will soon be turning over leaving the fish concentrated on bottom-fare in terms of feeding.

This report will focus on that part of the river known as Baetis Bend and the adjacent channel which takes off just below the lower flats area. I arrived on both occasions of fishing at about 10am and although only a few days apart, they were decidedly different in terms of fish feeding behavior.

On the first day, fish were already nudging the surface regularly, sipping mainly the emerging midges but not unwilling to eat the adult if one presented itself properly. Seeing the bulges before me, I began that familiar trembling…..you know, the same one that you felt the first time you held a fly rod in your hand and peered out at rising fish, impatiently waiting for Dad to get the dang fly tied on the tippet!!! The cool temperature, upper 30’s, made it that much more difficult and I wound up breaking the first knot as I tightened it…..”dang!!!” This time with a bit more care and determination, I was able to get a solid knot and began my contemplations about where to cast. I picked a fish out of the half-dozen or so that were coming up near enough that I would be able to cast without catching the willows to my backside and dropped my size 24 adult midge 3 feet upstream and in his “wheelhouse.” The fish ate the fly without any hesitation and a few minutes later, I landed a very pretty 18-inch rainbow.

So began my morning the first day and it was pretty much the same until about noon, at which point I meandered over to the main channel to see if there were any baetis coming off. Indeed, upon arrival, I noticed the hatch had begun but not yet at full-tilt. The bugs were decent sized, about a #20 with some even in the #18 category which I attributed to the better-than-average flows we’d experienced spring and summer providing healthier habitat for these insects to grow and thrive in. I tied on my version of that specimen and was into fish almost immediately.

Then, “the lull”…..an hour, maybe hour and a half during which I only connected with the occasional fish although they were still breaking the surface. Hmmmm…..dang emergers, I thought. I decided, rather than going beneath the surface, to try switching back to the midge at about 3pm and did better! The fish seemed more receptive to my tiny midge pattern and especially after the sun was just about at the horizon. I stopped fishing right at 5pm as my fingers started feeling numb…..it doesn’t take long when that sun sets for the temps to drop very dramatically, so be prepared with some warm clothing if you’re going to stick around for that.

The second day was much tougher, with fewer fish up early and very picky when they did start to feed on top. I was able to entice a few with the small midge, including one fine bow that pushed 24” and must have weighed 5-6lbs. The fish made the tiniest of rise-forms and until I set the hook, I would have expected something in the 8-10” category.

Meandering over to the main channel, I again noticed fewer baetis than on the previous trip. The fish were just as picky as they had been on the midge and it took finding the right fish to cast to in order to be successful. Studying the rise-forms, I was able to conjecture which one would be likely to take my baetis offering and did pretty well. It was far from “constant action” though, and I concluded that wasn’t altogether a bad thing either as I tend to spend more time looking around and really enjoying this fine setting we’re blessed with.

So, that’s my story for now and hope it helps some of you who come from a distance to prepare for your trip. The details:

Hours fished: 10am-5pm

Flies used:
Size 24-26 single midge, black thread body, light gray cdc wing.
Size 20 baetis, Xelon shuck for the tail, bwo dubbed body, dark gray cdc wing tied comparadun style.

Feel free to pm me should you want greater details.

Be very careful out there. On the second day, I witnessed an angler going down and needless to say, that can be disastrous this time of year. Happily, the bloke seemed to have heavy-duty shocks built into his knees and bounced back out of the water quicker than he entered it….seemed no worse for the wear but a bit less comfortable as I heard him complain something about the water under his armpits!!!

Tight lines to all….it’s a beautiful time of year to be on our home creek. Enjoy!

DryFly
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herefishy



Joined: 02 Jan 2007
Posts: 146
Location: Las Cruces, NM

PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice hearing from you again, DF, glad you got some nice fish. Did you see a lot of Baetis that first day, or just here and there? Funny that they won't come out every day at the same time with the same weather? We saw a great hatch one day, then came back the next two days and not a bug to be found.
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DryFly



Joined: 31 Dec 2006
Posts: 327
Location: Farmington, NM

PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello herefishy,

Nice of you to say Smile

Yes, there were baetis that first day and for a while, a fair number. No blanket hatch, but decent.

Since then, I've meandered upstream a bit farther to the area known as Lunker Alley, or Lunker Lane. This stretch kicks out a lot of baetis, likely due to the riffles just above it and from the Lower Flats. I encountered a fairly large number of duns on the water from the tail-out nearly to the very top of the run. Lots of smallish fish feeding and it was hard to get my bug to a decent fish because the smaller ones would eat it first. Caught a really nice brown though.

I've never known anyone who could, with any real reliability, predict a baetis hatch. Sure, they generally come off about the same time each day, but then there are days when they just don't happen for no apparant good reason! I've seen them on bright, cloudless days and then not seen them on the gloomy days when they're supposed to be more likely to happen....go figure. My only solution, and I proffer it to be the most sensible, is to go fishing as often as humanly possible so as not to miss it when it does happen!!! Rolling Eyes

Tight Lines,

DryFly
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Albert07



Joined: 08 Apr 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:57 am    Post subject: sultan Reply with quote

Thanks for the detailed update! I, for one, absolutely LOVE winter fishing this river! I work in the area often and was driving the road up the dam last week, and counted 4 anglers in the entire upper flats/ upper main channel area...that is my cue to start the winter treks to the Juan and enjoy most of the river in solitude, with a few ducks, geese, and deer of course! Cheers!
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