Monday, January 2, 2012

a new year's juan

Man, I don't know bout you guys, but seems like it's been forever since we last stepped into a stream.

Round here, November usually proves a good time to hit up the Juan, what with soccer obligations letting up.  Not so this year, as our NM Game and Fish folks have been conducting major rehabilitation work on our favorite stretch of the Juan.  Yep, you read that right- a renovation project on the fabled San Juan river.  More on that later in the week.

Anyhoo, with renovation work finally complete + holiday visitations done = time to pull the trigger on a new years trip up north.

Turns out the lake turned over just last week, rendering less than 2' visibility thru turbid water, darnit- that spells tough fishing.  At least the new digs proved impressive, adding plenty of new holes to spread out the anglers and the fish.  

Not much help for the boy and I in the AM, we worked over each new hole encountered, beating the water into submission with not a single fish to show for it.  Frustration mounting with each barren pool, I took to wading right thru each in turn to sample the depth, see what we chased out for our swing back around later in the day.  Nada!  What gives, dude!

Early afternoon, we make it up to the famous ESPN hole, losing two fish to LDR's.  But still!  Where's the beef, man?!

A bit dejected, and bewildered, we swing back around to try our hand thru the braids again.  Sheesh, like learning the river all over again!

Late in the day, I'm sitting bankside sorting thru the day's third birdsnest while Will works over a pool previously pounded in the AM.  Hey Dad, there's a fish rising, and another one!  Schweet dude, that's what we're needing!  

I put my head down in an attempt to focus on the task at hand, dam near hopeless- how does he do it?  Dad, I got one!  Awright, that's the stuff buddy!

Making an executive decision, I promptly cut away our second leader, lay the rod aside, and join the fun.

Five hours fishing and not a fish to hand, huh.  The sun makes its dip toward the canyon walls and the braids finally come alive as fish after fish stage out of those new holes to feed on the late afternoon midge hatch, schweet.  

Five hours of mounting frustration culminating in 90 minutes of midging frenzy, I now revel in my boy's grin growing with each fish released.  

Yep, that's the Juan for you.


  1. thx Jay, it was fun to finally get back out. Here's to more in 2012! mjh

  2. Very cool. I've had the Juan on my mind for quite a while now. Been hearing that it's going to be better than ever with the new work they put in. We'll see...


  3. hey Ben! You remember how much of those braids were running about 6-12" deep, most too shallow to shelter fish? With the concentrated flows, those same runs are now 18"-24" with around 20-30 new holes and pockets 3-5' deep. That's a huge improvement. The real test will be if it concentrates the angler hatch. mjh

  4. why do get the feeling that your kid is better fisherman than me?

  5. funny man Yukon, oh he's still learning dontchaknow- just like the rest of us! :-]