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Old 04-13-2013, 09:12 AM
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Default In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Hi there! I have been fishing the San Juan a handful of times and have been successful with many rainbows in the 15-20" range but have not hooked up any browns?! I am not all too familiar with the river and have fished primarily the quality waters from Cottonwood up to the Texas Hole....I've read somewhere that the aggressive and larger browns have been pushed back downstream towards the bait waters?! Anyone have knowledge or experience with this? I really want to hook up with some larger fish, tied up a bunch of nice streamers in hopes to come tight with some of these monsters thanks and look forward to any replies.
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

There is a good population of big browns all through the quality waters, but there are just so many rainbows that you don't always catch them. If you want to solely fish for big brownies, you have to try the lower river. Get past all of the bait fishers, past Abe's bridge with very big streamers, or float.
P.S. I wouldn't try in the bait waters because the big fish totally avoid it, and you might get snagged by powerbait or spinners by careless fishermen.
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Two words

NIGHT FISHING

Big browns feed at night. There was a guide on the San Juan that worked out of Rizuto's and he caught the largest browns after midnight to about 4 AM.

The White River is famous for the large browns caught at night.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


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Old 04-13-2013, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Awesome! Thanks for the head up on where to locate these bad boys...definitely try down stream from the bridge next time. Tied up some Sculzilla's and Hawkins Triple Double patterns and can't wait to use em there. Those browns are freakin monsters! Thanks for sharing the pics...may have to look into twilight fishing for sure. Thanks
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Having done some night fishing I'll offer a couple tips. Get to know the river well before going in the dark. When you are on the water during daylight look specifically for hiding spots for fish. Shelves, undercuts and boulder are favorites. My best results came at either the head of the pool where such hiding spots existed or at the tails.

At night when the big trout come out they migrate to where the current feeds the pool or run. This is (along with the tail out) where the most food can be had quickly. The tails are host to many small fish and I've seen some real activities in these places.

Also when you are on the water in daylight pay attention to pocket water at the shore line. What to look for are areas teaming with small fish. Baby Trout, dace, and etc., I've stumbled into some big fish that were in these shore line pools / pockets feeding or resting as I waded along in careless bliss.

Hope these few tips will help.

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Old 04-13-2013, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

All the quality water has browns! Just got back from a trip there and landed a 22" brown as well as a handful of 16-18" browns as well. I caught more browns the further from Texas Hole but my biggest came from T-Hole!

Next time you are there. Fish Beatis Bend with the standard rig and you are bound to catch some!
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Old 04-13-2013, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Thanks for the tips on fishing after dark! Tails and heads I will definitely scope out during the day and will return after dusk. Very useful info for sure. Good to know their are browns all over the quality waters. I've never explored baetis bend, that will be my first wade-in area for sure when I head up. Thanks for all the tips gents
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Old 04-14-2013, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

I hooked one large brown the last time I was there (a few weeks ago) at the bottom of the lower flats. I lost him at the net but he would have been my biggest brown on a fly had I netted him.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

I've caught a lot of browns on the juan. I don't fish for them specifically but I've had a lot of good luck throughout the quality waters. My biggest browns are always from the main channel. If the browns have reportedly gone down river then it's because of the target base flows from the dam for downstream habitat. On the other hand the browns could be up river feasting on the thousands of rainbow fingerlings they have been stocking. Click the image to open in full size.

Good luck.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:30 AM
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Default Re: In search of big browns on the San Juan NM

Sorry to hear that mudbug....largest one I've ever caught was like 8-9 inches in the Jemez. Jeepster....when you say "main channel" are you referring to a specific location on the river or are you referring to the main flow in the middle of a non-specific area of the river? Are they usually hanging in faster water or slower slack water. I'm definitely gonna try the heads and tails as what was mentioned earlier. I have a few new streamers that imitate fingerling rainbow trout and wanna know what streamers work best for you guys . Thanks!
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