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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past weekend was the annual meeting of a Trout Unlimited committee on which I serve. The meeting was in Albuquerque so I took a "slight" detour on the drive home in order to spend a half day fishing the San Juan River in northwest New Mexico. The drive from Albuquerque goes through some very pretty scenery but was a bit longer than I remembered. By the time I got to the river it was just after 11:00 and the three parking lots I saw were already full. The lot next to Texas Hole where I parked had nearly 40 cars there.


Just a part of the parking lot

Once ready, I walked down to the river and found what I expected. There was at least one fisherman tucked into every fishy looking nook and cranny of the braided flats above Texas Hole. In Texas Hole itself there were at least a dozen wade fishermen and two drift boats. So I decided to wade across the river to the far bank where I had fished last year. I was hoping that like last year most of the fishermen would be in the flats area and I would find room to fish the deep runs along the far bank. It turned out to be a correct assumption.



When I started fishing there was no one in sight up or downstream on the bank I was fishing. Within 10 minutes someone came in and walked into the stream barely 30' above me and started fishing. Even after I purposely snagged his line on a cast he went on as though I weren't even there. I guess I was in "his" spot and he wasn't about to move. He didn't move from that spot for 2 hours. After about 10 minutes I moved downstream some to give myself comfortable casting room as it wasn't worth getting into an argument over.

The run I was fishing was about 4' deep and about 150' long. While fishing the run from that side, I had four solid hits to a chamois San Juan worm bounced on the bottom that resulted in two hook-ups a 15" rainbow and 16" rainbow.


Releasing the 16" rainbow

After awhile the hits stopped, so I decided to cross back over to fish the other side of the run. There was one person there who came in about a half hour after I had and I had seen him land two nice fish. As I was approaching him he hooked what appear to be another really nice fish and I offered to net it for him which he accepted. It was a fat rainbow a bit over 20" that had hit a leech pattern. He was at the lower end of the run so I asked if it was alright if I went to the head of the run to fish which he had no problem with.

I switched over to a leech pattern and on my second cast a good fish swirled at my strike indicator. On my next cast I was into my best fish of the day. It took me a bit down stream past the other gentleman and he offered to net my fish, which he did. It turned out to be a fat rainbow of 19 ½". I asked if he would mind taking a picture of me and the fish and he said OK. Just to make sure I had him take three. At that point I wanted to get the fish back into the water and I knew as I released it I should have checked the pictures before releasing the fish. After the other gentleman had gone back to fishing I checked the pictures and sure enough, I don't know what button he was pushing but it wasn't the shutter as none of the images he "took" were recorded. Oh well!

I fished another half hour and had one more hit but no hook up. At that point it was time to head back to my car for the drive back to Fort Collins. So far in three visits, I have only fished a small part of the quality water section of the San Juan. Next time down there, I will put a bit more effort into getting to some less crowded water downstream of where I have been fishing. Depending on the flows, that may involve a bit of walking to come in via the northern shore line. But, it will be worth it to get away from the crowded flats sections.

Guy
 

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Guy sounds like you had a good few hours of fishing. I also know how you feel. It seems as though no matter where you go, its crowded. I also find that a little walking makes a big difference. Mos don't really want to put in the efford. But one thing you have out their that we don't have as much as you. Streams lot and lots of them.:D
All ya I all most forgot. Keep the pictures coming. man you know me. I all ways look at the pic's first. bwahahaha I love to see new water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Walt,

You're right, there is a lot of trout water here to choose from. I may just have to "settle" for fish in the 11" to 13" range which can be found in any number of close by smaller back country streams where I will likely be the only person fishing. But, if I'm interested in trying for fish that will legitimately run up to 20" or better then it will have to be on one of the crowded big name rivers where I will either have to fish in a crowd or hike a long way away from the parking areas.

Guy
 

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Guy I think your like me. You don't mind the walk.;) Besides. You can always tell your self. That you are doing it for your health.:clap: And I can tell you. You wouldn't be lieing to yourself or anybody else.:D
As much as I like seeing the pic's. I guess I better get a scanner. I'm still behind the times. I like my 35mm. But it does mean. Getting them developed then scaning them and going though all the rest to be able to post them. It may be worth it in the long run though. I have found some really pertty water over here. It took some effort, but was well worth it.:sweatdrop:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You're right Walt, walking back away from the crowds has never been a problem for me. One of my trout fishing buddies back in MD often said I was part mountain goat in order to get back into some areas I liked to fish. Out here the hike in is frequently as enjoyable to me as the fishing. There are times when If I don't stop taking pictures of scenery, flowers or wildlife then I would not get to fish. That is an added benefit of going digital. I frequently run off 50 to 75 pictures each time I go fishing or hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park. You can see the results immediately and know if you got what you wanted. When I get home I delete the ones I don't want and keep the rest, clear the memory card and I'm good for the next outing. Doing that with my film based camera would get very costly.

I have a small canon 4 megapixel digital that easily fits in my shirt pocket that I almost always take with me fishing. It does a really good job and is always there for the unexpected. One other thing to keep in mind. The major camera companies are definitely moving away from film cameras. Nikon only makes two film based cameras, Kodak dropped them entirely a couple years back, Konica/Minolta is going entirely digital and other companies are thinking along those same lines. Kodak even stopped making slide projectors a couple years back so you might as well get on the digital bandwagon.

Guy
 

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Guy I think your like me. You don't mind the walk.;) Besides. You can always tell your self. That you are doing it for your health.:clap: And I can tell you. You wouldn't be lieing to yourself or anybody else.:D
As much as I like seeing the pic's. I guess I better get a scanner. I'm still behind the times. I like my 35mm. But it does mean. Getting them developed then scaning them and going though all the rest to be able to post them. It may be worth it in the long run though. I have found some really pertty water over here. It took some effort, but was well worth it.:sweatdrop:
Walt if you need some stuff scanned I have a film scanner!

Guy, great report thats some purdy country out there, we will be heading to Montana again this summer!
 

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Thanks for the offer Ken. but me thinks if I ever intend to post some picture's. I will have to get one myself.:yes:
 

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Thanks for the offer Ken. but me thinks if I ever intend to post some picture's. I will have to get one myself.:yes:
A dedicated film scanner is cheep today mine was about $900 new, but with thousands of slide that the only way to digitize them.
 

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Guy,
Man...I was just thinkin about you. The fest won't be the same without your talk on trout. I'm glad you are getting after them bud. I'll raise a glass for you on Saturday. :beergood:

That's a place I always wanted to fish... beautiful country.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Tony,

I hope everything goes well for fly fest. I will miss not being there. Maybe at some future fly fest I can arrange my relative visiting sechedule such that I could be in the area and do a show on fishing in Colorado. Ya never know!

And in the annual spirit of the opening of spring training camps when every team is a contender. GO SOX!!!!!

Guy
 

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Odd how we are even friends buddy.... we should introduce fly fishing to the hatfields and mccoys.... :rockon:
I'll let you know way ahead of time about next years event.
 

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Ken,

If you go the guide route, I hope you have a better experience than last year.

Guy
Guy,

We did not go west last year; our kids were in town from AZ, the year before we had a great time in MT. We were in Livingston got blown out of the Yellowstone, pulled up stake and move to the Madison and went back to Kelly Gallops place and used on of his guides; great time lots of fish, plus we had the benefit of fishing from the back yard of the cabin. We are heading back to Montana this year going to give the Livingston and the Yellowstone another try, trying to get some time on the spring creeks also. The bad year was with Hyde in Idaho….
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Aww be nice now. It's spring training when even A Rod and Derek Jeter speak nicely of each other :D :D But then again I can't belive what the Sox are doing for Dice K. and Manny is still "just being Manny":confused: . If Dice K doesn't single handedly bring a pennant back to beantown the press will be merciless. The Sox and Yankees are better than any soap opera on TV.

Guy
 

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:jackthread: Man baseball.:censored: I use to be a fan. But once they started paying more then they are worth.:soapbox: I didn't watch them as much. Then after ARod got what he got from texas.:eek: Istoped watching them all together. Big bunch of over payed babies. The only thing any of them know how to do is wine and cry. :zzzzzz: Sooooooo I haven't watched one sence. What 1998 and I don't miss it at all. More people should do that. mybe then after they see people can do with out them. They will change. of course you have to have half a brain to know how to change.
 

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San Juan

My son an I started fishing the San Juan between Christmas and New Years... in the late 80s.... Martin Marietta closed the plant during this time..... Geting over Wolf Creek Pass in late December can be a little dicy at times..... I remember one trip that took us 12 hours from the Denver area. The snow on the western side had not been plowed and the bottom of the car was touching the snow.... But we wanted to fish really bad...... After many winter trips and some summer ones over the years..... it finally lost its luster largely due to the crowds and the condition of the fish after being caught repeatedly.... We even caught the same fish within hour.....

tight lines,

Bill A.
 

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Man now thats wanting to go fishing. Draging snow with the bottom of the car.:eek: I remember back in the olden days when I was a kid.bwahahahaha;) :rolleyes: I would fish reguardless of the weather. Man one time , I puched the 8 ft pram in to the water on black hole creek in the Magathy.:fishing2: Rowed over to the backend of the first arm. pulled the boat on to a small bar and begain to fish for yellow perch and pickeral. this was in early winter. I was a catchin them left and right. So I didn't want to leave just because it started to snow. In fact it was nice sitting their with no wind and snow solflly falling all around. Then it really started to come down. it snowed so hard that by the time I got my stuff ready to row back. the snow was up to my chin when sitting on the seat.:rolleyes: By the time I puched off from the bar it was up over my head. The water was starting to freeze around the boat. :eek: I got frooze in for a week in that one spot.;) I had to eat those froozen perch. And you know what? That how then came up with the idea of froozen fish stick. ;) :yes: :eek: bwahahahahahaha Now let me tell you about another time..............bwahahahaha:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Bill,

It is a crowded fishery. But, the crowds do vary. I was talking to our chapter president at the TU meeting this week and he was down there the week before and said there was hardly anyone there - only 5 cars in the parking area near Texas Hole vs. the 40 plus when I was there.

This was the first time I've made the drive from the San Juan to Ft. Collins. That drive across northern New Mexico and up to Pagosa Springs, CO. is one pretty drive. The last time I had gone over Wolf Creek pass was over 25 years ago and that was in mid-summer. It could definitely be a white knuckle drive when there is snow on the road. It was still pretty deep along the roadside last weekend but it had been a warm day and the road surface was in good shape. But at seven hours drive time I won't be down there very often.

Guy
 
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