San Juan River: Day 2

Good Morning
Good Morning

I slept well after the long drive and few hours of fishing the day before, but I woke to the sound of a rumbling stomach that could only be satisfied by a hot breakfast. Breakfast is one of the most crucial meals of the day for me and trying to create an honorable meal in the cold morning darkness is not one of my strong suits. So I threw on some clothes and headed down to the Back Cast Cafe for their “Good Morning Breakfast” special. I was not disappointed and would spend every morning of my trip their guzzling coffee and trying to thaw out my cold extremities while talking fishing with Peggy. On this particular morning I was headed to meet up with Mike, the author of one of my favorite blogs, Of Dry Flies and Fat Tires. Mike lives in Albuquerque and has spent considerable time combing the banks and braids of the San Juan and was going to show me some of his tactics and favorite spots.

Mike Making it Happen
Mike Making it Happen
Mike and San Juan Rainbow
Mike and a nice San Juan Rainbow

We met around 9 o’clock at the Texas Hole parking lot and from the get-go, Mike and I hit it off. Mike likes to fish like I do, constantly moving, stalking, and ambushing feeding trout. Within minutes of stepping into the cold water of the San Juan River, we hooked a double and were both fighting fish. This was the story most of the rest of the day although I seemed to lose most of my fish, while Mike showed his valuable experience at landing these hard fighting fish.

San Juan Rainbow to the Net
San Juan Rainbow to the Net

Mike was an extremely gracious host and guide, allowing me to fish all the good water. We spent most of our day combing the braids and pockets above Texas and Kiddie Holes searching for fish that had not been touched yet that day and they were in abundance. I picked up one of the nicer fish I landed on my trip, a gorgeous San Juan trout in the 17-18 inch range. Luckily Mike was there with the net or it would have been a disaster for me as this fish continued to run time and again.

San Juan Bow
San Juan Bow

Mike’s talent and wisdom was evident as he consistently hooked large fish and landed them with seemingly little trouble. Even the “smaller” fish in this river have the propensity to fight and put a serious bend in the rod. It never ceases to amaze me that the hair-thin 6x line can stand up to the workout of landing one of these big shouldered fish.

Mike showing me how it's done...
Mike showing me how it's done...

We had success all morning and into the afternoon, taking turns fishing different runs and riffles. The rainbows were out to eat and continued to play all morning long.

San Juan Rainbow
San Juan Rainbow

One of the most memorable fish of the day was the beautiful pastel colored rainbow below. Mike and I saw her holding on the bottom of a short run of the river. After several great drifts through the area, Mike set the hook on this handsome fish and made short work of landing the beauty.

San Juan Beauty
San Juan Beauty

After ending up back in the parking lot around 2 o’clock for some lunch, we headed back out into the currents to chase some more fish. Although their were a few hookups early, the bite seemed to turn slow and nothing we were offering seemed productive.

Lunch of Champions
Lunch of Champions

After a wonderful day on the water with many fish brought to hand, Mike and I parted ways. I cannot say enough how great it was meeting up with a quality gentlemen and fisherman like Mike, and I can only hope it is not the last time we get to fish together. His knowledge and insight kept me into fish for the next couple of days and brought my “big river” game to a whole new level. Thanks Mike for a great time on the water.

Mike - of Dry Flies and Fat Tires
Mike - of Dry Flies and Fat Tires

8 Responses to “San Juan River: Day 2”

  1. Adam Trahan

    Nice finish.

    I would be surprised if there was a different ending.

    I’m glad that you didn’t catch fish with sores in their mouths from being caught so much. I think that alone is what turns me off from fishing there.

    Nice story, meeting new friends is awesome.

    Reply
  2. azwanderings

    Thanks Adam. The fish were all pretty healthy that we caught this day. I still have 2 more days on the water to write about and I did catch one fish that had seen better days. I hear what you mean about being turned off by that type of fishing. The shoulder to shoulder gets old real quick but I just kept moving and trying to find solitude. The San Juan is not my normal type of fishing but it was still a great place to spend 4 days and explore. I definitely agree with you though. Thanks for the kind words.

    Ben

    Reply
  3. Royal Wulff aka Mike

    Nice post Ben, appreciate your kinds words myself. Glad you had fun, that really was all I could ask of the day. You ever get the big fish urge for the Juan again, make sure you look me up, we’ll make it happen. Mike

    Reply
    • azwanderings

      Will do Mike. Might have to make it an annual trip. Sure was fun getting the winter funk washed off. Thanks again for all the help and hospitality.

      Ben

      Reply

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