San Juan 2013 June Road Trip

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Kristen aka Maverick and I just returned from 4 days on the San Juan River in New Mexico and it was our most productive trip yet there. We caught Carp, Snakes, Lizards, Bugs and even the occasional Rainbow and Brown Trout.

We left Thursday evening and drove overnight arriving early Friday morning. A quick uncomfortable nap before Fisheads opened up for breakfast and we picked up our licenses and had a nice "Good Morning" breakfast to start us off right. The latest news was that they were going to raise the flows that day which was good news, the flows had been quite low for an extended period.

Our goals this trip were to explore all of the "Quality" water of the San Juan, and if possible fish Navajo Lake for Carp and/or Pike if possible. Unfortunately after talking to Peggy of Fisheads we found out that most of the lake is no really fishable from shore and we would need a boat to really get out with a possibility of catching much, so we abandoned the lake aspirations and focused on the San Juan. We hit each "Sign" (Pumphouse, Crusher Hole, Simon Point, Munoz, Texas Hole, and BOR), and ended up really putting our time for the 4 days at Munoz, and Texas Hole to the Upper Flats.

The recent construction had the water off color below Texas Hole, and a lot of debris floating down, but didn't seem to affect fishing at all as we continued to pull large Rainbows and Browns out of Lunker Alley all day.

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We bounced around the different areas each day fishing familiar runs, exploring some new ones and were catching fish all day. At times it seemed we would fish a run for a while catching fish every few minutes and the other fisherman around us were just casting in vain. We didn't have a lot of problems with rude fisherman, and the few that would try and move in too close were met with lunatic eyes and seemed to get the hint quickly. I think the Outlaw Buff over the face helped...

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We encountered a lot of wildlife this trip beyond the Trout. At one point Kristen spied a very cold Gopher Snake floating down te river. We scooped him up and let him warm up before a release in a nearby bush. On the way back up from Simon Point we came across 2 Eastern Collared Lizards, some of the most beautiful lizards we have here in the United States, I had to get the stoic pose with the canyon and river in the background. Giant B-52 sized dragonflies were out in force as well as the big black Cicadas buzzing away on the shoreline.  

collared lizard


gopher snake dragonfly

We had both heard of Carp in the San Juan, and on the way back from Lunker Alley one day Kristen found a couple in a side tributary. Unable to coax them up we noted the spot and returned in the morning to numerous carp tailing and milling about in the shallow pond like side of the River. We tied on some heavy eyed carpish looking flies and went at it. We both landed some nice carp before heading out to the river for some more Trout.


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Speaking of flies, I tend to buck the traditional thought when fishing at the San Juan most of the time. I like to fish larger flies, and patterns that may not be so typical in a San Juan box. Most everyone will tell you that the San Juan is a "Micro Fishery" and you pretty much need to fish with size 22 larvae patterns, midges and emergers. Each time I've fished the San Juan I've fished it with size 12 Crystal Buggers, size 18 wire Annelids, Flashback Hares Ear and other larger non "micro" flies with great success. I did give the whole micro thing a try this go around fishing a pair of size 24's and picked up a few fish that way as well but my best luck was on patterns and sizes I don't think those fish see very often. I spent a couple hours one night tying up a few dozen 24's after seeing a few live larva the day before. Bright blue UFO seemed to be the one that worked the best for me of the micro stuff. We got some dry fly action as well at times, and the go-to fly for me was the Cracker Ant.


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My most memorable time was the last 2 hours fishing a run when we kept saying "One more fish and we'll leave." I decided to try and find the bottom of the run, as we never could get down that fast before. I doubled up on the lead and started to pick up a whole new vein of fish! We must have hooked into 20+ fish those last 2 hours only landing 3-4 each. Quite a few LARGE Fish came off after short fights, it was like a lightning round of fishing. At one point I snagged and lost my entire setup of flies just below the weight. I had been fishing an Egg and a San Juan Worm with good success but was too lazy to re-tie 2 flies again, and just opted to fish the Eggi Juan Kenobi which is a combination of an egg and worm on one hook. I had tried this pattern shortly a couple trips earlier with no success, and only put the fly on as a joke this time. The joke was on me, it was slaying em!

How about a flood of pics, I know thats what you really came here to see anyways, enjoy!

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 jason brown01

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We both left the San Juan satisfied that we had fished it well, caught a ton of sizable fish, and we both had a great time.

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