After years of urging, I finally made it out to New Mexico to visit my childhood friend Brad. You see Brad not only lives in a single-wide down by the river, but he is the Game Warden for the San Juan River which means he spends nearly every day patrolling the river and just generally keeping an eye on the place. He is very proud of his river and after spending 4 days there in May I can certainly see why. This river is absolutely loaded with fish.
Our trip started where all trips to visit old friends begin – at a drinking establishment, in this case the Ska Brewing Company in Durango. I knew we were in for a special time when we opened the door and were greeted with ska and reggae sounds and a spot at the bar next to the recently casked ESB.
After a few pints of Modus Hoperandi and the Buster Nut Brown Ale it was time to eat and head out to Navajo Dam. What do a bunch of San Diegans eat when in Colorado, Mexican food of course (is there any other kind of food?). Turns out that the brewery has a taqueria outside that turns out some pretty good tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Bellys full, and body in a state of hoppy euphoria we were off. When in Durango, definitely check this place out.
After a quick tour of the area, a stop at Float N Fish Fly Shop for flies and licenses we were off to fish an area above the Texas Hole called ‘The Braids’ (pictured in the upper left of the picture below).
Brad wasted no time in showing us that this was his river, with a nice rainbow right off the bat.
We fished til well after dark and had to beg for a few hamburgers at the Sportsman in Navajo Dam. It seems that the town closes around 9 pm, and then you are on your own. Closest grocery store is 20+ miles away in Farmington. Saturday we spent the day around the “Baetis Bend” area with a steady pick of fish.
After a late night working through the rest of the beverages we personally imported from Ska (and a few others), we called it a night. Sunday found us sloshing through the backwaters and giving praise at the Cable Hole. The fishing here had a little of everything, some slow midging water, a nice tail out run and some backwaters with some large carp swimming around. It was here that I went 6 for 28 on fish hooked/landed. Fishing size 22-28 midges on barbless hooks and 6X tippet has its drawbacks. I broke off quite a few fish in the quick current and stated using 5X, but it was very difficult getting the tippet through the eyes of those tiny hooks.
Monday morning we fished right around the Kiddy Pool. I have never seen so many fish casually swimming among two lines of fisherman on either side of the pool casting towards them. It seemed that everywhere you looked there were fish – hundreds of them.
The afternoon ended with a few fish on leech patterns and zebra midges in the Kiddy Pool and a quick run back to Durango for beers and lunch at the Steamworks Brewery. After a quick look around downtown Durango it was time to catch our flight back to San Diego. A perfect end to a perfect trip.
Thanks again Brad and Jenny Lee for the hospitality!
Images from the San Juan River coming next.
and here are a few extra shots from Pyramid Lake:
Met up with Jeff and a client this morning to get a few shots. Fished the sunrise under an Osprey that seemed to be watching us.
He (or she) was probably laughing at our fly rods, waders, etc.
Jeff finally hooked into something, the Sea Hawk watched on.
We ended the morning with a couple dozen small surfperch and a long walk on the beach.