Monday, August 10, 2009

San Juan River

I was asked to participate in a meeting in Durango, CO this week and since the closest Southwest flight was to Albuquerque NM, I felt obligated to visit the San Juan River for some aquatic sampling.

It just happened to be on the way!

This river is a favorite destination for "bug whippers" and is a classic tailwater fishery at the outlet to the Navajo Dam.

The rainbows and browns in this river are highly educated and pressured but I was hopeful we could find a blind or sick one that would fall for a poorly presented fly.

My co-worker Daniel showed that under the proper guidance even a beginner can learn to catch fish on a fly. If you click on the picture above you can see a nice midge hatch in progress.

Danny hooked all his fish on a Griffith's Gnat. This juvenile rainbow was small but feisty.

The Griffith's Gnat is a simple fly that looks like a group of hatching midges.

This pretty baby rainbow still has it's parr marks.

I tried several flies including the white wooly bugger and the river's namesake - the San Juan worm.

The midges were the bug de jour. Both the adult and the larva (above) were what the fish wanted.

All my fish came late and the dim light made for grainy pictures but no matter - I had a great time wading in the cold water watching the fish eat bugs on the surface and finally getting some to take my offering.

It was a nice way to spend the evening. Now it's time to get back to work!

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