San Juanland

sanjuanlandA recent trip wasn't able to materialize and a decision was made by Kirk and I to head to the San Juan and see what all the talk is about with the time we had already taken off for the other trip.

We packed up the car and left at midnight to get to the San Juan by early morning and start fishing. The drive was long going through the barren reservation in New Mexico on the way.

We arrived in the little "town" about 8 hours later and stopped in at the famous "Abe's" to get our licenses and check out the fly shop. First impressions were pretty dismal, Abe's was more of a liquor store with a dusty collection of bait gear, and flies, not much else. They could not be bothered to sell us licenses, so we shot across the street to Fisheads. I guess we expected more from the most well known shop at the San Juan. Now, while they may have lacked in product and service that day, they saved out bacon a couple days in when 60mph winds and sideways rain tore through our camp and we needed a room STAT! They went above and beyond by unlocking the room and leaving the key on the bed so we could get into the room "After Hours", thanks Abes!

abes the san juan joke

 

 

fisheads

Fisheads was clean and organized, and we were given great service. Not the most well stocked fly shop, but had a lot of accessories, all the flies needed for a successful day on the river, and GREAT food! We were given a map of the new work done up in the "Braids" and headed up to wet a line.

 

We parked, geared up and headed out to the river at "Texas Hole"... My first impressions were that this was like a trip to Disneyland. You buy your tickets, get your map of the park, and then head out and find the spot your looking for by the well marked paths and signs. That feeling was further ingrained with our experiences on the water in regards to "other fishermen". It was far from being in solitude fishing the water in front of you and relaxing. Every few minutes someone would come splashing through your run, or heaven forbid you catch a fish, when you look up after releasing it you'd have 3 or 4 guys fishing the run you were just alone in minutes ago.

 

I was surprised at the amount of fish in this river, it was amazing to see 20-30 trout at your feet when standing in the water.

 

It wasn't till the 2nd or 3rd day that we decided to stop into Float 'n Fish, and what a shame we waited that long. Float 'n Fish is a true fly shop! Fully stocked with all the gear you would ever need, tying supplies that rival ANY major fly shop, and staff that are knowledgeable and helpful. We stopped in a few times and bought stuff each time from Float 'n Fish and chatted it up with Matt on a few occasions. Matt is a great guy, lots of good information about the area, and can tie a hell of a streamer he called the "44DD"

44DD-2

We both caught a ton of fish, some of nice size and color as well. We hooked into and broke off some brutes, one in particular I think will give Kirk nightmares forever, a big shouldered rainbow in a small deep hole that just exploded out of the water when he set the hook and broke him off with no effort, we tried every day to get that fish again with no luck. I had a particularly nice fish, again in a small run, take me out immediately to the main channel twice. The first time I was able to coax him back into the hole only to have it take off again into the main channel, get me into my backing within a few seconds and break me off. I think part of every fishing trip, the lost fish are almost as big of a part as the fish landed, and photos taken.

san juanland fish san juanland fish
san juanland fish san juanland fish
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san juanland fish san juanland fish
san juanland fish san juanland fish
san juanland fish san juanland fish
san juanland fish  Fin

 

I left the river with a weird taste in my mouth for the experience itself. The river was beautiful, the fish were plentiful, but the crowds and behavior was a huge distraction from just having a great time on the water. We only fished this upper section, and in hindsight we should have explored a little bit more and maybe we would have met with a different experience. I'm not sure if I'll return to the San Juan again anytime soon. I left with the feeling that the San Juan "experience" was a joke, and akin to an amusement park, hence the title...

San Juanland

 

 

 

 

 

 

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