Fisheads San Juan Fishing Report March 14-19 2016

San Juan River Fishing Report & News


Midges are hatching all day long. At the moment they are small, midge pupa and larvae, size 22 to 24, olive, gray, black, chocolate, cream and of course red have been my best. The hatch is strongest from 10:30 to 2:00, then again in the last hour of the day. The midges are clustering so try fishing a cluster to a single dry midge. Black has been best.

Try fishing BWO’s from 1:00pm to about 5:00pm. The hatch is best on cloudy days. Dark or light gray, brown and olive have been the best colors in a size 20 and 22. Both dry and wet patterns.

Bunny leeches and woolly buggers are working well either dead drifted or stripping them. Black, olive or cream have been best.
Streamer fishing has been good. Small streamers size 10 or 12 in olive, black or brown.They are best fished first thing in the morning or late in the day and at night!

Egg patterns and red and orange larvae are working all day.

Fishing has been good all day long, best dry fly fishing from 11:00am to 6:00pm

Best Techniques:

Fish fluorocarbon tippets at the end of your mono-filament leader when nymph fishing. 5X to the first fly and 6X to the dropper. This will produce more strikes as the fish can’t see the fluorocarbon.

Fishing 22 to 24 midges in the slower waters has been great, Fish light weight ( a number 6 or smaller ) with your strike indicator 2 or 3 feet above the weight. You don’t want to be on the bottom when you are midge fishing.

We are finding lots of baetis, especially on cloudy afternoons. Baetis live in fast water so look for them in the riffles at the top of holes and at the bottom of holes in the tail out. Fish are eating gray, olive and brown nymphs in these places, it just depends on the day so have them all. You may have the chance to see fish on top during this time. A parachute Adams or Comparadun should do the job. The may flies are green and are about size 22. Use dark colored wings as the fish are turning away from white wings. If you can’t see this, try a marker fly about 12 inches above the baetis. You should fish mono-filament tippets when fishing on the surface as fluorocarbon sinks.

Change back to midges when the fish stop eating your may flies.

Try some bunny leaches if all else fails. Dead drift them like the rest of your nymphs. Fish are eating them for moss! They will shake the drifting moss to get the bugs out.

All of this goes out the door when fishing streamers. Get them on the bottom and fish 1X fluorocarbon.

Tips of the Week:

The hatches have been heavy.  The midges are small (size 24 and 26) and consistently hatching every morning and afternoon.  The BWO hatch is still coming off below T-Hole. Start looking for them around 11:00 AM. Foam Wings and Johnny Flash are working great below T-hole, gray has been best. Try midge larvae (olive, gray, black and brown) in the morning, fished with an attractor like a leech or an egg pattern.  The afternoon has been good with fish looking for baetis below Texas Hole; chocolate, olive or gray have been best.  As always, a large part of your success will be your in ability to move around to where the hatches are coming off the best. Fish near the dam in the best midging waters, the midge hatch is strong all day long. I have been doing well with a black larvae or pupa to a gray or olive larvae. Around 12:30 the baetis are hatching, anywhere from lower Texas hole down to the end of bait water. Watch out for moss on your flies, you have to keep them clean. The winds can be tough on us. The fish are still eating well in the afternoons but you can have some trouble getting a good drift. It is best to shorten up your length between the strike indicator and your weight and add some weight. This will help you get a better drift and see the indicator move when the fish takes. With lower flows the bites will be lighter and you will have to fish shallow rigs to avoid the bottom of the river.

Flow: 423 cfs

Visibility: 48 inches

Water Condition: Slightly turbid

Water Temperature at Mid-day: 40F

Must Have Fly Patterns:

1. Travis Para Ant – Brown/Black – Size 14
2. Rojo Midge – Orange/Red – Size 18
3. Griffith’s Gnat – Black – Size 18
4. Birchell’s Hatching Midge – Grey/Olive/Brown – Sizes 20 to 22
5. Rosenbauer Parachute Beetle – Red – Sizes 20 to 24
6. Cartoon Hopper – Gery/Olive/Brown – Sizes 6 and 8
7. Midge Larvae – Grey/Red/Orange – Sizes 20 to 24
8. Midge Pupa – Brown/Olive – Sizes 20 and 22
9. Bunny Leeches – Grey/Brown – Sizes 6 and 8
10. Egg Patterns – Yellow/Peach – Sizes 14 and 16

Recommended Leader: 9 Foot Leader

Recommended Tippet Size: 5x Tippet

Best Rod: 10′ 5 Weight

Best Floating Line: PowerTaper WF Fly Line

Best Sinking Line: Streamer Stripper Sink Tip Fly Line


7 Day Outlook:

Fishead  (fish-head) n. –  A person who spends all their time thinking about, dreaming about, or in the pursuit of fish.

Fishing has been excellent! There is a good blue winged olive hatch coming off every afternoon around 12:00.

Mornings have been around 35 degrees and afternoons in the low 50’s and 60″s. The warm winter weather has melted the snow on the ground and ice along the edges of the river.  Rainbows are feeding from just below the surface so emergers are a great starter.   There have been fingerlings released into the Upper Flats recently so anything white to mimic that little rainbow trout has potential. Red annelids or carrot midges have been working great throughout the day.

We have about 4 feet of visibility and the lake has turned.  This is great as it creates trout that are less spooky and we can fish larger bugs and heavier tippet.

The river is at 423cfs. The lake is in great shape with plenty of water still coming in from CO. The lake has surpassed levels from the last several years already.

We were not affected by the Animas River mine spill. It enters the San Juan much further down river.

Good luck to all the Fisheads out there,





Credit to Photo goes to Andrew Miller Photography –

San Juan River NM Water Flow CFS