America's Wilderness

San Juan River Float Trip

San Juan River 8I hope that you enjoy these incredible photos of the San Juan River float trip that my father and I took on September 7, 2011. The San Juan River is famous for large rainbow and brown trout. We found em and we caught em!


The area of the San Juan that we fished was directly below the dam at lake Navajo. We started our float trip at a place called the "Texas Hole." It was about 6:30 am when we put in. The water was calm and extremely clear. In fact, the water in the San Juan is generally so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom in many sections of slower moving water. The San Juan differs from other rivers in New Mexico, in that there are some really deep holes in the river, many of which hold giant trout.San Juan River - Roy Lein Awaiting The Next Strike 


We fished the Texas Hole for approximately 1 hour and caught several very nice fish. Our guide "Matthew" was a nice young man who lives near the river. The boat he owns was fantastic for drift fishing. It was specifically designed for river float fishing. My father sat in the back of the boat, the guide took the middle seat, where the oars were located, and I sat in front of the guide. The guide skillfully manuevered the boat to give my father and I opportunities to fish certain areas of the river first. Well done Matthew!


San Juan River - Lunch TimeMatthew was extremely knowledgeable and quickly had my father and I rigged up for fishing. Based on Matthew's recommendation, we stowed our poles and opted to use the fishing poles Matthew brought. The poles the guide recommended were a bit more heavy duty than our normal fly poles and equipped with the precise line weights that Matthew recommended. After putting in on the river at the Texas Hole, Matt quickly set up both poles with a main fly and a dropper. We fished this two fly set-up all day and found the primary fly, dropper configuration to be extremely productive.


Fly Assortment.jpgAs our primary fly, we generally used a small salmon egg or a copper john. We used varying color schemes for the both the salmon egg and the copper johns. Both the pink and red salmon eggs seemed to draw the attention of the trout. For the dropper, we used a variety of zebra midge nymphs. I felt that the copper color and the black midge proved to be the most productive on the river during our fishing expedition.


Mark_Fish_SanJuan River  9 7 11Folks, if you want to catch some incredibly huge trout in the San Juan, you really do need to use these extremely small flies. Remember, the water is crystal clear and the river gets some pretty heavy fishing during the Spring and Summer. These are very smart fish so I encourage you to stick to the game plan of using a main fly to catch their attention, then drift the second dropper fly past them in hopes they will strike. The vast majority of the trout we caught bit on the dropper midge. By the way, did I tell you that the flies need to be barbless hooks? No worries. Just keep your rod tip very high and work to maintain proper tension on the fish. If you keep your pole tip high, the pole will act as a shock absorber in a sense, helping you to keep the hook firmly placed in the trouts mouth.    


San Juan River 6Weather conditions were absolutely perfect as you can see from the photos in the gallery below. While we did utilize other flys during the day, the combination of flys you see pictured here worked very well in full sun. The air temperature ranged from 48 in the morning, up to low 70's in the afternoon. So it was truly a perfect New Mexico fishing day!

  • Mark_Fish_SanJuan River 9 7 11

  • San Juan River - Texas Hole

  • San Juan River 1

  • San Juan River 5

  • San Juan River 6

  • San Juan River - Roy Lein Fish

  • San Juan River - Below Texas Hole

  • San Juan River 8

  • San Juan River 9

  • San Juan River - Lunch Time

  • San Juan River - Ducks Enjoying The Sun

  • San Juan River 11

  • San Juan River - Roy Lein Awaiting The Next Strike

  • San Juan River 12

  • San Juan River - Roy Lein At The End Of A Great Fishing Trip