Just wanted to introduce myself. I have grown up fishing all my life here in NM, mostly the small trout streams. My weapon of choice was typically an ultra lite spinning rig using small Panther Martin spinners. A couple of years ago I was invited on a company fishing trip up to the San Juan river below Navajo Lake. I was a little nervous about the trip being kind of intimidated by fly fishing as a whole, but I borrowed some equipment and went for it. I went out with my boss the evening we got there and was a little skeptical at the idea of hooking some of the big trout I saw in the water with the tiniest little wet fly that looked like nothing more than a scrap of thread wrapped around a tiny barbless hook. To make a long story short I hooked and netted my first fly caught trout, a nice 19" Rainbow in my first hour on the river, and I have to say I was hooked as much as that fish.
I have been back to the San Juan a few times and many of the other rivers in northern NM. I have picked up my own gear and although a complete novice, I really want to get better. I hope to learn a lot from you vets on this forum.
The scenery in the Grand Coulee area of eastern Washington was worth the cost of the air fare on its own. Two doe whitetailed deer drinking not twenty yards away from my boat partner and I as a golden eagle flew overhead looking for dinner. Magnificent and etched in my memory for all time!
James: Welcome to the forum and the great sport of fly fishing! I've fished the San Juan a few times and understand the excitement you shared about fly fishing there. It can get pretty crowded there at times but it sure does offer up some great trout fishing on like you say the tiniest of flies, I normally like to use size 24/26 flies. I don't know if you noticed or not, but when wading as you kick up the silt from the bottom of the river as you move about the fish will stack up just downstream of your feet, it is a pretty interesting thing to watch. Last time I was down there I had 11 fish stacked up downstream of me, with the nearest fish just inches from my wading boots.
Thanks for the welcome guys, seems like a real nice group here.
Yes, the San Juan can get pretty crowded for sure, I have been lucky to do a few guided 1/2 day float trips as well and it is amazing to look down in "the Texas Hole" with polarized glasses, it is like floating on an aquarium. I also caught my first trout on a dry there, on the flats, that was also a great rush to se that fish rise, set the fly and bring him in, awesome times.
There are a lot of other quality streams up in northern NM besides the San Juan. The Chama river, the Brazos, the Rio Grande up by Taos. The all can get a little presure but you can hike back to some more remote areas as well.
James: As good as the San Juan is, the Green River below Flaming Gorge is even better. If you ever get a chance to fish there, don't pass it up. Below the dam the river is divided into three sections (A, B and C), the A section below the dam goes through a deep canyon (1,500 to 2,000 ft) and it is called "The Aquarium", the water is so clear you can see hundreds of fish. If you are standing in the front of the boat you will see fish scatter as the shadow of the boat passes over the fish, it feels like you are herding fish down river, quite the sight to see. Anyway, keep us posted on your fishing adventures, we all would love to hear about NM fishing!