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Rocky Mountain Range Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:18 PM
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Default San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

If you ever get a chance to fish the San Juan river below Navajo Dam, DO IT!!!!!
To make your trip even more fun take some friends or make new friends and take them with you.
Last Friday Dang Old King, Masterofthetry, RioGrandeMan and I tripped down for a weekend of chasing the trouts of New Mexico

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It is a seven hour drive from Denver to Navajo Dam. Plug the Ipod into the aux jack, sit back and rock the world as it whips by through tinted windows.

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I recommend staying at Abe’s Motel should you make this journey. A serious, no frills place to stay warm and dry after an 11 hour session up to your butt in 40 degree water catching 20” trout. Warning: Abe’s is NO FRILLS, if you want plates, a micro wave, coffee maker etc. ask for them and they will be there. Don’t ask and they won’t.

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After unloading the gear, we walked down to the river to chuck some mouses and stretch our legs. Darkness and unfamiliarity with the water proved to be too much to hope for any luck with the fishes. I couldn’t tell if I was casting into 2” of water or 2’ (we didn’t wader up).
Back at the Motel it was time to celebrate our arrival and pending trout-a-thon by consuming mass quantities of mind altering beverages.

After a poor nights sleep it was coffee up, wolf down a spicy green chile burrito and off to the river.

The parking area for the upper holes is about 100’ above and about a quarter mile hike in to get to the river.

The trail starts out switch backing down from the lot but soon enters the swamp of death, where thick stands of Tamarisk try to rip your rod from your hands and you walk through a maze of sometimes knee deep, stinking black water.

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Eventually, you reach the river and are greeted with a series of islands. You have to pick your way along the shallow ridges, being careful not to step into a deep hole as visibility was about 3’.
Finally you get to the main channel and it’s on like Donkey Gong. The holes near the dam are called ESPN Hole, Catch & Release, and The Cable Hole.

A disturbing aspect of this river is the abundance of Didymo AKA Rock Snot. The slime is disgusting, fouls your flies and suffocates the river bottom of much of the native organisms the trout feed on. Midges of course will live in just about anything and are the main course food source for these trout. I couldn’t help but think what a great diverse bug life must have been there before the Didymo infestation.

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The water in these holes was anywhere from ankle deep to over your chest deep, with intermittent runs and riffles. It seemed like this day the fish preferred the deep runs between ridges. You could stand on a ridge in waist deep water and cast to either side of you into deep runs.

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

PART II


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After a long day of fishing it was back to the motel to eat, drink and tie flies of the bugs fish were eating this day.

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Sunday morning. Coffee up, tie some last minute flies eat a ritto and get back to the river. It ain't always pretty.

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:21 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

PART III

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Lunch break tailgate style.

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Some local wildlife

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Got midges?

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Sunday night. Steak out. It’s ribeyes on the grill smothered in shrooms, cheesy broccoli and baked potatoes

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Master of the Fry.
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Spudhenge
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Buds and Spuds
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Monday morning we had time to get in a little more fishing before it was time to hit the road for the long drive back. We fished this section called Simon each evening and decided to hit it for a quick fish fix this morning

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Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end and it was time to say farewell to Navajo Dam and head home.

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A quick stop in Chama for some supplies.
A big jerk.
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Always remember....

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Peace out and tight lines...
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Thanks for the report, guys. I've been trying to convince a couple buddies of mine that the seven hour drive will be worth it . . . maybe this report will tip them over the edge. Btw, how crowded was it? From the pics it looks like you pretty much had the river to yourselves.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Great looking trip. Didn't look as cold out as it probably was. Thanks for sharing all of the pictures. OK, who staged the Bud Light photo, LOL.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Hi Yat,

Nice fish, nice pictures and a great time. What more could you ask for. Thanks for a great report.

Question on this picture.

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It may be my perspective but it looks like you guys are above the cable below the spillway. This section was closed to fishing after 9/11. Are you above the cable or did they change the rule?

Frank
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Yat: Great trip report and photos, congrats!

Larry
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post
Hi Yat,

Nice fish, nice pictures and a great time. What more could you ask for. Thanks for a great report.

Question on this picture.

Click the image to open in full size.

It may be my perspective but it looks like you guys are above the cable below the spillway. This section was closed to fishing after 9/11. Are you above the cable or did they change the rule?

Frank
Hi Frank,
If you look just below the building mid-left in the photo, you will see a horizontal item. That is a buoy attached to the cable. We are about 150 yards below the cable.
The pool right at the bottom of the spillway sure does look good though.

---------- Post added at 04:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:33 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by rangerrich99 View Post
Thanks for the report, guys. I've been trying to convince a couple buddies of mine that the seven hour drive will be worth it . . . maybe this report will tip them over the edge. Btw, how crowded was it? From the pics it looks like you pretty much had the river to yourselves.
It depends on where you were fishing as far as crowds. There were a lot of people on the river. These pics were taken just after sun up before the throngs arrived. Kiddie Hole was a zoo.

---------- Post added at 04:39 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:36 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmie View Post
Great looking trip. Didn't look as cold out as it probably was. Thanks for sharing all of the pictures. OK, who staged the Bud Light photo, LOL.
Mornings were chilly, but warmed up to mid 60s by mid day.
Steve is the photo director.
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

Wow, looks like you guys had a great trip! Looking forward to getting back to Colorado and make a few weekend trips myself.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: San Juan River 3/19-3/21 Part I

yatahey
You and your friends captured the San Juan experience spot on! Great pictures and story, thanks for that. I got 2 free flies in the motel room as soon as I took my shoes off One of these trips I will donate a hoover to their house keeping.
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