|Flyfishing in Pagosa|
|Joe Eichelberger | 7/3/12|
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|Happy first week of Summer! I hope you're all having a fun and safe summer and fishing season.
As many of you may have noticed I am no longer employed at Wolf Creek Anglers; I am now working at Ski and Bow Rack in Pagosa Springs helping to grow their Fishing & Outfitting Departments, and working as Head Fishing Guide.
As a lifelong outdoorsman, angler, hunter, shooter, and conservationist my career and free time revolves around these activities. My family has taught me that the only way to keep our outdoor sporting heritage & traditions going strong into the future and keeping our woods & waters healthy and accessible is through education and bringing new people into the outdoors. As a flyfishing guide and outdoor writer I have realized that sharing these experiences is just as rewarding as doing them alone. I will continue to educate and send out newsletters independently from now on and keep them as non-business related as possible.
Everything has been happening about one month earlier this year re: water conditions, weather conditions, and hatch activity. I did discuss this with some of you through emails, on Facebook, in my fishing reports on fishound.com, and on the streets or in the shop. Looking back to this Spring I really wish I had the funds to start sending this Newsletter earlier to inform you on all of this, and maybe get you here sooner to enjoy the fantastic winter and Spring Fishing this year.
However, on the OPTIMISTIC side, this area of Southwestern Colorado was much closer to average snowpack in most all our area drainages compared to a lot of the state. Also in comparison to the drought of 2002, we had a good early start to winter snowpack and currently are closer to average or above average water storage than during the drought in 2002. The Upper Rio Grande drainage reported the closer to average reports in the entire state. We are also looking at better forecast of lower temperatures and more precipitation in the near future.
The Entire San Juan Drainage has been fishing fantastic.
The San Juan in downtown Pagosa Springs has been fishing great. The town and the state have stocked the river, plus our pre-stocking fishing was very good with many holdover fish and wild fish caught prior and post stocking. There are Yellow Sallies and PMD/PED's hatching daily and some Caddis hatching also. Fishing early in the morning will be best for now; we are getting warm water temperatures in the afternoons.
Please check water temperature often and stop fishing if water gets around 68F. Usually by then the tubers abd swimmers are playing around the river. Evenings are producing good dry fly fishing with some insects hatching and returning spinner/spent egg laying caddis & mayflies on the water. Most tubers are gone by then. Again, please check water temperature though before you start fishing.
The Upper San Juan northeast of Pagosa is fishing well. Due to being higher up the drainage, with more tree cover, less irrigation, and less hot springs. The hatches are lasting a little longer with good fishing conditions and cooler water temperatures extending throughout the day. Hatches in the Upper river; Brown stones, Flavs., PMD/PED's, Blanketing Caddis of two species, and yellow sallies.
The East and West Forks of the San Juan are both fishing excellent, much earlier this year than usual. Lots of insect activity that is usually not seen in most years due to higher flows or colder water temperatures and/or taken advantage of by the fish due to murkier water. This year, water is low and clear (compared to average). Easily fishable and great dry fly fishing.
Both the East & West Forks are producing many larger fish than usual and still have good hatch activity. The Salmonflies continued hatching through the forks as of last two weeks and still have fish willing to eat a salmonfly dry up high. The brown stones have been dense too, and should be slacking off sooner than later, but caddis will only get thicker as well as flavs, pmd/ped's and yellow sallies throughout the next week or so.
The Piedra River
The Lower Piedra is open to fishing and is below the fire from the Sheep Creek down to Hwy. 160. Fishing is good with Caddis and PMD/PEDs and Yellow Sallies Hatching. Most larger stonefly hatches are done in the lower, but look forward to Goldens hatching. They will be early too this year.
The Piedra from the Sheep Creek to Piedra Road is "CLOSED" due to the Little Sand Wildfire.
The Upper Piedra, Middle and East Forks are fishing very well. Cool, clear water, good insect activity and Dry Fly fishing... Expect yellow sallies, caddis & flavs, with possibility of some brown stones around sporadically.
Good luck, and keep your lines tight!
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