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Phone:  505-632-2194 Outfitting Fishermen for the San Juan since 1958 Navajo Dam, NM  87419
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San Juan USGS River Flow
255 cfs
Decreasing to 250 CFS Tuesday, April 22, 2014  
Water Clarity:   1'  Visibility Abe's 50 Year Celebration
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Just Add Water    'Just Add Water' is a new book by Jay Walden which chronicle's fly fishing the San Juan River through the 4 Seasons.  The book includes Short Stories, Poems and Abe's Weekly Fishing Reports combined with Jay's natural humor and fishing insight.  'Just Add Water' is available at Amazon and Kindle on the links below. 
Just Add Water on Amazon.com

Just Add Water on Kindle
Fishing Report
April 20, 2014

San Juan Weekly Fishing Report 
If you've become bored over the past few months from reading my accounting of San Juan River fishing conditions, hopefully I can gain a bit of redemption by throwing a bit of fresh intel into the mix. I went out this past Monday and caught fish on dry flies--a lot of them. After months of pooh poohing this murky water and the nymphing method required to catch these fish; often at the peril of sounding like an iconoclast, railing against the very thing that puts food on my table, I perhaps have been saved from being labeled a heretic and my effigy burned in the streets of Navajo Dam, by a few rising fish. Hallelujah! Saved by midges and blue winged olive mayflies. Let me tell you, I needed this, life is good again, balance has been restored. And it couldn't have come soon enough, after a entire winter of staring at an indicator, I was beginning to fear I was headed down that slippery slope that Friedrich Nietzsche referred to as "staring into the abyss long enough, that it begins to stare back." Anyway, here's what happened. I was in no particular rush to get on the water, so it had to be somewhere around the early crack of 11:00 by the time I was wadered up and ready to go. I walked down to the first handicap ramp of the Texas Hole, which I often use as a lookout tower to gauge what's going on in the area. I ran into a guide I know, that had parked his boat and was headed back to his truck, to retrieve his client's lunch. He went on and on about this great BWO hatch that had been going on for the last hour and what great dry fly fishing they'd been having. Being the cynic that I am, I just nodded and said, "great" and told him to have a good day, as I watched him head back toward the parking lot. Besides, it was still too early for a baetis hatch and the sun was too bright, and everybody knows that kind of thing just can't happen under those conditions. The "Doubting Thomas" in me always has to see things first-hand anyway, when it comes to fishing intel, so I stood on the ramp for the next ten minutes and confirmed my suspicions, when I never saw a single fish rise. I left and headed up for the Braids, fully prepared to toss the old nymph rig again. But; lo and behold, I was met by rising fish. Not to BWOs; mind you, but to a blanket of tiny black midges. I quickly tied on a size 24 Fore and Aft and began to take a number of risers in the shallow sections below the riffles. After about an hour of sheer bliss and deliverance from the dread of an indicator, I began to experience a number of refusals to my midge offering, which left me scratching my head and wondering why these fish had suddenly become so fickle over a fly they had been taking for the last hour, with reckless abandon. Apparently, I had become so enamored with the sight of rising fish and my escape from indicator-prison, I had failed to see the growing number of tiny BWOs that were being scarfed up by the dozens, as they floated past. A quick switch to an olive bodied comparadun had me back into the game and for the next few hours I was into fish, until the wind came up and put an end to it all. So my point here is that the dry fly fishing that we have been missing for months, is now returning. The trick; it seems, is to stick to the skinny water where the trout's visibility window is better. If the fish are holding in deeper water, they're just not going to see a size 24 dry fly floating above, through 4 feet of murky water. The midge hatches have been good on most days and there have been some very good baetis hatches this past week from around 12:00 till 3:00. The nymph fishing continues to be good to great, when you are not seeing risers. Red larva, crystal flash, and bling midges are good producers, along with baetis patterns like Johnny Flash, foamwings, and rootbeers, especially in the lower stretches of the river. The flow is still in the 350 cfs range and although some people are trying to convince me that the water clarity is improving, I'm not really buying it and I'd have to say it is still less than a foot of visibility.The Public Operations Meeting for Navajo Reservoir is scheduled for this Tuesday and the BOR will hopefully announce their plans for spring water releases. My guess is that there will be no big spring flush from the reservoir, although it will be interesting to see if they make any longer term projections for what they plan to do this summer, given the low level of Navajo Lake. We'll keep you posted. Hope you can make it out this week. The weather looks to continue its warming trend, with several days in the mid-70s, but we may see some wind in the afternoons throughout most of the week. If you would like more info, or need to book a guided trip, give us a call at 505-632-2194.                       

Report by Jay Walden

                             The NM 2014-2015 fishing season begins April 1, 2014 and ends March 31, 2015.    NM Fishing License Info

 Spring High Flow 2014

Bureau of Reclamation
San Juan Flow Info
Early indications for 2014 indicate that there will be insufficient runoff in 2014 to support a Spring High Flow, although a decision hasn't been reached yet.  A decision may be able to be annouced at the BOR Operations Meeting April 22, 2014 in Farmington. 


The San Juan features year round consistent temperatures out of Navajo Dam providing a fabulous Four Season Fishery!  Water temps are in the low 40's near the dam providing a consistent environment for insect growth and development.  Fish have access to midges and annelids year round in addition to more seasonal mayfly, caddis, terrestrials and golden stonefly nymphs and adults.


NM Free Fishing Days:  You may fish without a license on two scheduled Saturdays/year as part of National Fishing Day & National Hunting & Fishing Day -- generally the first Saturday in June & the last Saturday in September. Please consult the NM Fishing Proclamation for exact dates &/or changes.  
NM Fishing Proclamation

 Link to Restaurant Page

Restaurant - Closed for the Winter - Re-Opening Spring 2014



BOR Stream Improvement Project - Project Completed Jan 2012  Beginning Oct. 10, 2011 the BOR will begin a $300,000 habitat improvement project on the “ Braids” section of the San Juan River. The first phase of the project will encompass changes to the Rex Smith Wash and address the silting problems associated with that area. During this time, the trail to the upper reaches of the river will be inaccessible from the berm area of the Texas Hole parking lot. In order to reach those areas of the river, you will have to access them by wading upriver from the Kiddie Hole Area, or from the BOR parking lot, located near the dam. The second phase of the project will begin sometime in November and the “Braids” area will be closed to fishing for about 30 days, until early December. The entire project is scheduled to be completed by January 8, 2012. There will still be plenty of water to fish during this time and upon completion, this project will add more fishable water and improved habitat for the trout in that area. We will be posting further information via our weekly fishing reports on our website.

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As always, we truly value our faithful customers and look forward to meeting new fishers daily to the San Juan -- Please stop in for a visit and share your fishin' stories. We'll be scoutin' and fishin' the river to provide you with the most current river info.

  2014 and 2008-2012 Historical Flow Data for the San Juan River

   San Juan Flow Graph

  San Juan River estimated Flow Data 2008 to Current

San Juan Flow Graph 2013

The San Juan Flow Graph data above are provided by Abe's Motel and Fly Shop and Aspire Computer Solutions, LLC as information to fishermen/women and other interested parties.  The data are drawn from the USGS public records, some of the data are provisional and may be subject to change.  In some cases CFS values were missing and estimated CFS Average values were substituted based on available Gauge readings. 

The flows in the San Juan river below Navajo Dam are controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in compliance with existing law and authorized purposes.  As is the case with many other western waters, some flows are influenced by system wide efforts to protect endangered species.  Water is naturally limited and always in high demand  in the Southwest, many competing entities are present staking claims to San Juan water and by complying with previous agreements/laws,  the BOR has limited flexibility in how flows are maintained. 

The reservoir at Navajo Dam was constructed from 1958 to 1962 as part of the Colorado River Storage Project.  There were two important provisions to the congressional authorization to build the dam, one included a substantial diversion of water from the San Juan Basin through the continental divide to the Chama river in northern New Mexico to supply additional waters to New Mexico cities along the Rio Grande.  These flows are not shown on the graph as the San Juan Chama Project water is drawn from the system before it enters Navajo Reservoir.  The second provision set aside a substantial amount of San Juan water to provide for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP).  The NIIP project is intended to irrigate approximately 110,600 acres of Navajo farmland south of the San Juan River.  The water for the NIIP project is drawn from the reservoir through a diversion headworks near the south side of the dam and moves water to the NIIP Project through approximately 60 miles of tunnels and canals south of the river,  bypassing the river.  As a result of the San Juan Chama Project and the NIIP Project waters no longer being present in the main river channel,  the San Juan has been a smaller river since the dam was constructed.   

In recent years flows on the San Juan have been significantly influenced by the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program (SJRIP) which recommends minimum flows (500 - 1000 cfs) in a targeted critical habitat downstream for two endangered species,  the Colorado Pikeminnow and the Razorback Sucker.  The critical habitat area is between Farmington and Lake Powell.  When sufficient water is available a short period of high water (5,000 CFS) is delivered to the river in spring to mimic historical flows in the interest of improving downstream habitat for the Endangered Species.  The main contributors to flow in the Endangered Species Habitat area are the San Juan and the Animas rivers.  As the Animas is a free flowing river, flows from the San Juan are adjusted up and down to try to meet the recommended flows in the Critical Habitat Area. 

For fishermen/women the lower flows of 2014 provide access to more of the river.  For those on Guided Trips, the river still fishes well in drift boats. 

The BOR provides information on the current status of the reservoir at Navajo Dam at the following link:


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