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Old 04-05-2012, 09:41 PM
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Default San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

I know San Juan Worms are very common.. but maybe I'm not that observant, I've never noticed a worm in the water.

Does anyone know what the naturals really are.. so I can google what they look like?

Thanks, Dave
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Old 04-05-2012, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

Well, there are aquatic worms that look like san juan worms, but also I hear the banks of the San Juan have a lot of terrestrial worms that get regularly washed into the water. I couldn't tell you the actual name, but I do know that at a particular local spring creek in my area, if you reach down and grab a hank of the aquatic weed you will find hundreds of little aquatic worm-looking creatures which a small san juan replicates quite well. The fish seem to agree too, which is the best part! I tie size 18-20 san juans and thin the entire length of ultra-chenille with a lighter, rather than just the tips, to give it a smaller profile.

EDIT: After some googling, look for Planeria worms! It appears this is what the San Juan was originally intended to replicate, according to the almighty search engine itself.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

That was interesting, thanks AJ and you too Dave for asking,

Ard
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

They are red annelids, and I have never seen one on the river. The ones I do see on the San Juan are usually 1/8 to 1/2 inch long and very thin, but these are actually midge larva and not a worm. Red micro tubing tied onto a Daiichi 1273 hook works well.

Something like this, but much smaller.
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by darwin; 04-05-2012 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

Not real sure but I believe they are the US version of the Tijuana Worm...native the bottom of a bottle of tequila...
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:08 AM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by axle27 View Post
Not real sure but I believe they are the US version of the Tijuana Worm...native the bottom of a bottle of tequila...
Of course, the imitations do not give trout visions, but they do regret eating it the next day.

I've never seen worms in the water either, but I've noticed that a lot of trout are taken by kids with worms. There must be something to them.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

San Juans.. maybe that was too narrow.. I'm just thinking of all the worm patterns out there.. and trying to see what they're really imitating.

These threads got me googling 'aquatic worms'.. lots of god pictures out there.. really hard to tell sizes. . but it helps
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

At the pay-to-fish ponds I use to run, the bottom vegetation was loaded with aquatic worms. If you reached down into the muck you'd come up with dozens in a handful.
The San Juan style worms didn't work nearly as well a size 8, 1/64oz marabou jig under an indicator
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

Digging through my library.. ok.. my shelf..

Amazon.com: Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods (9781558212022): Dave Whitlock: Books Amazon.com: Dave Whitlock's Guide to Aquatic Trout Foods (9781558212022): Dave Whitlock: Books

Dave.. doesn't even mention worms... but found a lot of nice stuff I was looking for on Scuds and Sowbug

As I fish more and more, I really want to learn what the naturals are, where they live.. and when I can expect to find them
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: San Juan Worms - what are the naturals?

Having fished the San Juan, and caught trout that regurgitated the San Juan worm, they actually look like earthworms. They are about the same size.

There are also red annelids in the San Juan. And there are red midge larva. They are not the same.

A subclass of annelid is the aquatic worm that looks just like an earthworm. When I think of a San Juan worm, I think of this organism and not the red annelid. When someone tells me they are using an annelid pattern, I think of a red fly and when they say San Juan worm with saying a red San Juan worm, I think of an pink/tan color.

Given the multiple flies that are called San Juan Worms flies, it is best to actually ask for a look a the fly.

Image from Aquatic Invertebrates

Click the image to open in full size.


Flies:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


The flies do not have to be anything special. During my first trip to the San Juan, I was in the Texas Hole fishing next to a fly fisher from Albuquerque. He was catching fish and clearly the best of all the fly fishers fishing that pool.

He had a basic wader and a very basic fly rod and reel. When he left for lunch, I asked to see his fly. It was a bare hook with a strip of natural chamois knotted to the hook. The knot imitated the clitellum, or thicken egg sac ring of the worm. Wet chamois is soft and compliant and wiggles like a real worm. It is to the San Juan Worm what marabou is to the wooly bugger.

Here's the more realistic version of the chamois worm. Do not be fooled by the stiff appearance of the fly. When wet, the chamois feels a lot more like a real worm.


Click the image to open in full size.

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