A Day of Spey on the San Juan River in January

5 January 2016
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5 January 2016, Comments: 0

A Day of Spey on the San Juan River in January

Rob Schmidt Spey Rod San Juan River - Duranglers - Andy McKinley

A day spent on the San Juan River in January attempting to fool trout are typified in these ways:

  • • Occasional winds – Sometimes gale force, sometimes dead calm
  • • Low Temps – Teens and Twenties
  • • Decreased flows – Currently at about 270 cfs
  • • Slower water – it’s moving at a snale’s pace in a lot of spots
  • • Selective fish – your presentation better be on point
  • • Smaller Flies – We are talking 26
  • • Light tippets – 6x is a start


Which is why Rob and I decide to kick off the new year by breaking out the 6 weight spey rods, meat box, and sink tips.  It’s actually not a very effective way to catch fish on the San Juan at all.  It really just weeds out about 90% of feeding San Juan fish.  Juan trout are used to the steady flow of microscopic bugs and worms.

There are a few players out there who like their food served on the swing though.  Some of these fish don’t get caught all that often either.

Most guides we saw were actually pretty pumped on our dedication to hucking spey rods and not catching fish.  We did get some weird looks from the bobber crowd though.  The nymph crew certainly caught more fish than us…oh well, we have fun how we want.  Maybe next time we will return with our single-handers and a pocket full of nuclear San Juan trout junk.  Maybe.

(If you were wanting a report, Simi Seal Leeches swung broadside were actually pretty productive.  Otherwise, the standard fare of midges and annelids downsized is the best bet.  We did see some Baetis coming off in the afternoon too.)

How about a few shots from the day…

Trout Spey Flies - Andy McKinley - Duranglers

Not Annelids

Reeds of the San Juan - Duranglers - Andy McKinley

Watch that backcast…unless you don’t have a backcast because you are fishing a spey rod.  Bust it!

San Juan River Spey Cast - Duranglers - Andy McKinley

Tight loops…

San Juan Streamer Eater - Andy McKinley - Duranglers

San Juan River Winter Fishing - Duranglers

San Juan River Brown Trout Spey - Andy McKinley

The Colorado Rockies were an American professional NHL team that played in Denver, Colorado from 1976 to 1982. They left Colorado to become the New Jersey Devils but Rob still rocks the hat.

Fly Fishing the San Juan River - Duranglers - Andy McKinley

Frozen Cattails - San Juan River - Andy McKinley

On the Road Home - San Juan River Fly fishing

The drive home has a beauty some fail to recognize.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

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