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San Juan (Day Two)

June 1, 2019

October 6, 2018

Day two on the San Juan.  Going at it alone, somewhere between Abe’s Run and the Cable Hole.


Lot’s of anglers on the water, but still plenty of room to fish.  Trout everywhere.  Including a pet rainbow that is well over twenty inches sitting right behind my feet in the current break.  A monster.

Cool with a few clouds mixed in.  Midges. Tiny black ones all over the place.  A few risers.


Al’s Rat (size 22) is the ticket for me. I catch a few and break off several others.  Some are having no luck, so I’m thankful I’m catching a few.  A bit frustrated though as I think I should be catching more given the number of fish swimming around.

None of us though is matching the dude that looks like Richard Petty.  Replete with the trademark ‘stache and cowboy hat too!  Dude waded politely through everyone, found a rock along the fast/deep current, stood on it, and proceeded to put on an absolute clinic.  Mopped up with a couple of rainbows and browns, each of which were well over 20.”  Very impressive.  You could tell he’s done this before as he had it absolutely dialed in.  Crazy good.  The Trout Vacuum was there as well.  He and his clients were doing pretty well too!

Petty in Waders

Trout rise and dance for

Richard Petty in Waders

And the Trout Vacuum

– Hats




Parade Float

May 28, 2019

October 5, 2018

First ever float trip.  Never been in a drift boat before. Watched a boat load of You Tube videos.  Microscopic midges, sizes 24 and 26.  Studied and studied some more.  I’d seen the recommendations as to why a guide is necessary to speed up the learning curve on the challenging San Juan River in New Mexico and so that is what I did; hired a guide.

Where to stay.  Abe’s Motel.  Waders hung out to dry.  Old school.  Nothing fancy.  Convenience/liquor/fishing shop. Restaurant attached.


Loved this old slug bus.


The source – the earthen dam from which the San Juan tail waters flow.


A view of The San Juan.



Stopped for breakfast.  Energetic scene of angler’s chowing down.

This Morning At Abe’s

A moment of truth

We have no carne adovada

A sham of an FBI investigation

Deadly shooting

Wooden, marble-eyed fish, swimming on the wall

Schools of fishermen in booths

One omelette, cheese and ham

Lunches, boxed and bagged

Orders taken

More coffee?

How would you like your eggs?

Rush Hour in Navajo Dam

In or out, the cow bell announces

Grannie in her Simm’s waders

Bustling waiters

Drift boats

Excuse me waiter, there is a fly on my table

The smell of burnt toast

A sign on the wall: eat

So I do.

And, I hope

So do these legendary trout.

Meet my guide. Jacob, aka “Jake”.  Exchange introductions and make our way to the San Juan.

Launched at the Texas Hole and joined the float parade.


The first thing you notice.  The fish.

Giant rainbows swimming in an aquarium.  All over the place.  Along the bank.  Just under the surface, cruising in a deep pool.  Fish and fisherman everywhere.  In waders.  In boats.  Drift down through the Texas Hole.  Row back upstream.  Repeat.

Learn the San Juan windmill in order to clear the algae off my flies.  I struggle with the technique.

Jake puts us on the fish and I catch several respectable ‘bows on assorted midges.  Miss a bunch.  Break a few off.  Jake does a great job with the boat.  I could have easily caught more but I’m having trouble with my hook sets.

Awed and a little shell shocked.  A lot different than our streams here in Minnesota.

I realize the drift boat allows you to cover more water. but I like wading better.  Kind of feel like I’m on a conveyor belt drifting down stream.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s cool and all.  There’s just something to be said for standing waist deep in the stream. Slipping on rocks.  Feeling your body grow colder standing in the cool waters.

The trip ends and I’m back at Abe’s around four.  Three hours before dark.  What does one do?  Grab the waders.  Head upstream of the Texas Hole and venture out on my own and mange to catch a couple trout.  Again, not giants.  However, satisfying in that I did it on my own.


Texas Hole Midges

Texas Hole midges

The legendary San Juan

‘Bowzilla she, swims




Jemez River, Jemez Springs, NM

October 20, 2018

October 4, 2018

So I’ve known for a couple of months that I was heading to New Mexico, i.e., the Land of Enchantment, for work.  Consequently, I had been studying up on the fishing via the books of Taylor Streit, Fly Fishing New Mexico, and Craig Martin, Fly Fishing in Northern New Mexico. Not to mention countless hours of watching fly fishing videos on You Tube.

The Cimarron, Pecos, Rio Grande, San Juan, Chama, and assorted creeks were all alluring.    Looking at my itinerary I decided that I could conveniently hit the Jemez Area streams on my way to Navajo Dam where I’d be fishing the legendary San Juan on Friday.  Rio Guadalupe, Jemez, East Branch of the Jemez, and the San Antonio, were streams that I had on the list.  The Valles Caldera called, but I wasn’t going to get there early enough to make the shuttle.


Work and hockey, two things I was trying to escape, adversely impacted those plans. Not to mention 35 MPH speed limits and my naivety, that is what looks like a 30 minute drive is easily double that, or more, when traveling windy, single lane, mountain roads.

Arriving at the airport I made the mistake of turning my phone on, not for business but for navigation purposes as my plan was to head to Los Pinos Fly and Tackle Shop

Unfortunately, my phone began to buzz with a phone call from the office.  Having to take the call to deal with a truly bizarre and sad HR related event, I wasted a good forty minutes or so in baggage dealing with exactly that. Finally, off to Los Pinos, which according to my phone was only 12 minutes away.  Los Pinos.  What a great place.  Harry was full of advice.  Great fishing guy. I  could have talked to him for days. Stay away from the Guadalupe..flows are too low due to the drought.  Try the Jemez and use these flies.  San Juan?  Try these.  Don’t speed on the road to Jemez Springs. The police will get you.  Try the the world famous Los Ojos Special at Los Ojos Restaurant & Saloon in Jemez Springs.


Fries and burger slathered with gooey cheese and chili verde….yum

On the Jemez you may see the springs:


The water may be a little stained but you should be able to catch a few fish, small browns and maybe a rainbow.


Pocket water on the Jemez that resulted in two misses and one six inch brown that jumped off.

Then a phone call from a hockey mom wondering why little johnny got cut from the team. Then a text from the hockey association president asking to elaborate on why two other players didn’t make the desired team.   A phone call from an employment attorney to address the HR matter.

Turn off the phone.  Try one more spot on the Jemez.  Running out of daylight.  Need to get to the San Juan.  Getting tired.  At Mpls/St. Paul International Airport at 4:30 a.m. to catch my flight. Call it quits.  Pick up a bunch of trash on my way out in hopes of building up some good karma for the San Juan.


I need to get back to this area.  More time will be needed though.



Bush Lake – One Last Time?

October 20, 2018

September 30, 2018

Took one more shot at Bush Lake in advance of my upcoming trip to New Mexico.

No pike today.

Just one scrawny bass.

Haven’t really been able to get it going on Bush this year.

Hope the San Juan River is better!



6 pike, 1 Bass

October 20, 2018

September 23, 2018

Donned my new Simms waders, courtesy of my wife and went to Bush Lake for an hour before heading off to coach hockey clinic.

The pike were aggressive and in shallow.  Caught six pike.  All big headed, but skinny bodies.  Hungry.  Stunted?

One little bass.  Not the big one I was hoping for.

Couple of bald eagles circling.  Beautiful morning.




October 20, 2018

September 3, 2018

For all the times I’ve fished Lake Minnetonka, it is surprising that I’ve never launched at Lake Minnetonka Regional Park in Minnetrista, MN.  Plus, I haven’t spent that much time fishing that part of the lake.

Nice access, with an abundance of nearby spots to try. Pretty good conditions: overcast, with a slight breeze.

Caught a few bass on spinnerbaits and a musky jerk bait. No musky though.  Lots of minnows in shallow and that is where I was catching the bass.  Caught a few pike near submerged mid-lake humps.


– Hats

Canoe Bay

October 20, 2018

September 15 and 16, 2018

Spent a glorious weekend with my wife at Canoe Bay near Chetek, WI.

Located on a private 50 acre spring fed lake, which I think is called Dead Goose Lake, it is a luxurious oasis in the middle of NW Wisconsin.  Food – excellent.  Accommodations – world class – all buildings are in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Style.  Breakfast in Bed – crazy good.

Pricey – but a simply amazing place. Enchanting. I was kind of waiting for elves, hobbits, nymphs and dragons to appear.

Plus, the lake a has a few bass in it’s tannin stained water. Catch and release only.  Fish are accessible via shore fishing in a few spots, or the available canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards. Nothing big…actually the fish I caught looked under fed. Again not a big lake.

Went to Valkyrie Brewing Company in Dallas, WI.  Awesome.  The Dragon Blade and other sampled beers were very good.  Played a little old school pinball.  Arrived a bit too late for the cribbage tournament.

Canoe Bay





Everlasting Enchantment







Trout Brook

October 20, 2018

August 19, 2018

Made the journey to Miesville, MN and Miesville Ravine Park to fish the improved trout water.  I was downstream last year closer to the confluence with the Canon River but wanted to try the headwaters for some brook trout.

Tight and narrow water with lots of fish present, but spooky.

Caught a few on a Royal Wulff.


The Daze After

October 20, 2018

August 14, 2018

Does it count as a fishing trip if you went fishing but really didn’t go fishing, i.e., you dreamed about fishing.

Woke up this morning to the sight of me fishing from my boat on a busy street close to where I used to live and miraculously catching bass after bass from the four lane concrete roadway that I was casting to.  Crazy!!!!

Crazier yet, a couple days later I dreamed about catching a walleye on skitter walk in a cabbage filled bay after my boat had done a cartwheel on the water.

Sounds like I need to get out on the water.


Last Day

October 20, 2018

August 13, 2018

The goal was to catch 10 bass before I had to get off the water at 7 a.m. to head home.


Mission accomplished.  With one kicker northern pike thrown in.

An awesome week of fishing I must stay.  Lots of family time.  A little golf.  No rain outs.

Going back to work will be tough.

– Hats




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