Monday, January 19, 2015

January 17, 2015 - Day 2 of the San Juan River

Day two started later than we wanted. The canyon was fogged in and chilly, and the sun doesn't come up until 7:30, so we weren't in too much of a hurry. We dressed and were down at the Cable Hole parking lot (closest to the dam) at 7:45am. As we rigged, we were visited by a BLM Ranger. We shot the shit with him for almost 45 minutes - we never did see another fisherman. That was very weird.

We soon were headed down a 60 degree "goat trail" headed for the orange buoys (which is the furthest you can go up). We had pre-rigged, so headed to the main channel and started throwing into some beautiful water - with no luck. Having got some intel from Darren the night before, we knew where we were headed and would work our way down.

But we got no hits to start - and that was depressing. Finally I was working a channel that separated the main channel and a side 4 acre piece of slack water and I hit a nice fish on the sjw. After landing it, it was even nicer than I thought - he was probably a 19-20 inch rainbow all colored up.

Notice the sjw fly hanging in all the photos? Yes, you can thank Steffan, my trusty cameraman.
Steffan and I worked the area over, catching a few hear and there. Some were bigger than others - but most were on the smaller 16-17 inch size. Every time we looked up after about 9am there would be someone else in the area fishing. We also started getting very popular with the boot lickers - at one point, Steffan had over 11 fish literally swimming next to his legs. No matter where you went they followed. Some of these fish had to be close to 20 inches, at one point I kicked my feet to make the water dirty and then used my net to scoop up an 18 inch rainbow - who btw, could care less since there was no hook in his jaw.

The water on the San Juan was pretty disgusting. It always had a greenish/blue tint and smelled horribly. And the rock snot was everywhere - you couldn't avoid it - it covered everything high and low. The water levels were lower than normal, and I think it allowed the ugly side to show. You can get lost in the undergrowth trying to get to/from the river. Many times we have to bushwhack our way through the bushes just to get through. The rock snot was surprisingly not slippery.

This is the view of the surroundings, lots of sage brush, oil riggers and rock formations. The river was weird, it often had rocks in the water that were worn down to have "slots" were you'd be walking and all of a sudden it would just drop down into a slot the water had carved and then your next step was up out of the slot.

I did manage to do pretty well in the spot Darren told us about - I caught 5 fish on micro midges at the tail of the flat, but 4 were 14 inches and the other was maybe 16 inches - just couldn't hook the big ones.

We left around lunch time and headed back to the room for lunch "chips and beer" and then tried a couple other holes. The water was bigger in some and completely flat in others. We didn't have a whole lot of luck the rest of the day - so we decided to head back to the Texas Hole.

When we got there, the was a mass exodus of anglers coming out, but everyone was holed up in the main channel. The weather, which had sucked all day, suddenly got windier and much colder and we decided not to change back into our gear and just chatted with a couple of guys from Arizona - who only caught a few fish as well - but weirdly, they were all browns.

We ended Day 2 the same way we ended Day 1 - at the Sports Mens for food and beer, back to the room for beer and then I passed out. The days here kick your ass, we were exhausted.

Day 3 was not much to talk about - the weather was in the teens in the AM and there was a thick layer of frost on everything. We decided we would just get started on the drive home at about 7am. On the way out, there were 4 trucks in the Cable Hole.

The ride home was uneventful, but while driving through Salida we decided to stop and fish the Ark. The Arkansas river was flow ice cold, no ice on the water, and clear as gin - I've never seen that river look so clean. But, we couldn't find a single fish, and we wrapped it up and headed home.

We made decent time home - I think we got back around 3:30 and watched some of the Packers/Seahawks game - just in time for the onside kick.
Great trip, thanks Steffan, I appreciate you driving and getting me out and fishing to a new spot - sorry we didn't have better luck.

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