Monday, January 19, 2015

January 16, 2015 - Day 1/2 on the San Juan

With my wife away for the long weekend, Steffan and I decided to do a guys fishing trip to the San Juan River in New Mexico. I have been gone the last two weeks traveling for work, and I landed at 7:30pm on Thursday (missing my wife and kids - who flew out at 6pm). Steffan crashed at my house that night to make the trip a little shorter for him. 4:45am came quickly and we were on the road at 5am.
The ride was in darkness down 25 until about Walsenburg, were the sun started peaking to our left hand side. We decided to do the 25 corridor route on the way down and the 285 route home.
We saw lots of mountains, too many to name, but took some pics.
A random small hick town, I forgot the name, but here we stopped for a train and a photo.

At one point, we hit a weather inversion, where it looked like we were heading into a cloud. The temp dropped from 24 degrees to about 7 degrees and all the trees were coated with this cool layer of frost/ice. Made for a cool scene as we whizzed by.

This, I believe is the top of Wolf Creek Pass - headed down the other side.

Chimney Rock, also known as Fister Rock (don't ask).

After about 8 hours, which included 2 quick gas/coffee stops and hitting a small lodge in Pagosa Springs for breakfast, we finally hit the top of the dam - looking down on the San Juan River.

At around 2pm, we stopped at Abe's, got licenses and flies, and headed up to Texas Hole. Texas Hole is one of the biggest areas to fish, as it is just below the "braids". After gearing up and heading to the river, we stumbled quickly upon 2 (or more) rainbows shacked up in the braids in a nice bend pool. We soon tied up and Steffan hooked and landed a nice rainbow, I hooked and almost landed (popped off in the fast water) a slightly smaller fish.

We moved out to the main channel. We fished our way around the skinny water and up towards the dam (still a 1/2 mile away). The water was very off color, I guess the lake had turned over and was dumping shit into the river. Also, the flows had been dropped to 307 cfs - so the fishing could be tough. I did manage to catch a few fish, including the below in the faster water - on a size 24 black midge.

I worked up some more and caught a few in a bend pool that had to be 6 feet deep, but I couldn't see more than 12 inches. All were rainbows and all were healthy, but no longer than 16 inches (most were in the 14 inch range). We worked our way up and down, not catching a whole lot. I did manage to find a rock that had a bunch of fingerlings in the 6 inch range that were eager to try and hit a sjw.

The light was starting to shrink, so we headed back to the main pool at the Texas Hole - crossed the river and dropped in across from the parking side where 8 anglers had camped out. The far bank of the pool was all sand and easy to wade. After standing there for a few seconds we started noticing about 30 feet out there was a pod of a couple hundred fish literally finning and slurping up midge dries off the surface. Steffan quickly changed to a dry and I worked a couple of tiny midges with no weight. We each caught a bunch of fish. The temp was drastically decreasing and we wrapped it up. The fish in that pool were mainly 12 inches to 14 inches long, but they fought hard and were very fun.

We wrapped it up and headed back to the motel. About 6:30 we decided to go find some food. We went over to the Sports Mens Bar/Food and were informed that we needed to order food because they were closing in 10 minutes.

Yup, the town roles up at 7pm. We ordered a ton of food, had a few beers and they closed the place around us. We left around 7:30 and back to the room. I drank a ton of beers and passed out, Steffan tied flies and I snored the rest of the night.

Day 2 would start early.

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