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Phone:  505-632-2194 Outfitting Fishermen for the San Juan since 1958 Navajo Dam, NM  87419
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The Restaurant - El Pescador - Open for the 2014 Fishing Season

San Juan USGS River Flow 501 cfs
Water Clarity:   2 1/2'  Visibility Abe's 50 Year Celebration
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Just Add Water    'Just Add Water' is a new book by Jay Walden which chronicles 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
July 20, 2014

San Juan Weekly Fishing Report 
I suppose I'm not all that different than any other fisherman out there, I put my waders on, one leg at a time, just like everyone else. I have my days on the water, when things seem to come easy, others when that's not necessarily so. Despite it all, my unrealistic expectations of catching every fish in the river, never seem to waver. I'm the guy that can end a forty fish day on big dry flies, and still walk away, wondering what I could have done differently, to have prevented that little slump there, midday. Good and great, never seem to be good and great enough. It's a hell of a way to look at things, I guess, this insatiable lust for fish flesh, but it's what haunts my thoughts as I leave the parking lot at dark and leaves me anxious to suit up a little earlier, tomorrow. I'm humbled occasionally when someone enters the shop, beaming, ecstatic, because they have caught "a fish" today, and you'd think that would be enough to change my ungrateful perspective on all this, but it never seems to last for long. Apparently, I have no shame, when it comes to being a fish hog. I'm lucky to live on a river where big numbers are possible. But, I'll be the first to admit, it has spoiled me, and if I now was forced to fish elsewhere, where the trout were less plentiful, I'd likely come unraveled a bit. There are times when the San Juan can be easy, a no-brainer, for anyone. These are the times, that fly-fishing writer Nick Lyons refers to as "Like playing tennis with the net down", a term he borrowed from the poet Robert Frost, but there are also days when these fish can be a challenge for the most seasoned angler. Right now, the fishing here seems to fall somewhere between the two. There's any number of reasons to explain the difficult part, if you will. The water level is low, the clarity approaching that of fine British gin, and fish that have seen a plethora of fly offerings by countless, summer anglers; not to mention, sparse hatches of midges that are borderline microscopic, at times. We have entered the period of 6 and 7x fluorocarbon and size 26 and 28 midge patterns, my friends. Tiny weights and nondescript indicators rule the day. Get your drifts and your presentations right, or prepare to suffer disappointment. In short, it's that time of year, to bust out your A-game. This doesn't mean the fishing can't be good, it just means these fish aren't pushovers right now, and you're gonna have to change those tactics you've been using for the last couple of months, to achieve the same results. On the bright side of things, these tiny midges are the key source of food out there, and you can see these fish feeding on them from daylight till dark, every day, trying to get enough protein to fill their bellies. Small midge pupae patterns in the morning, would be a good start. Around 10:30 or 11:00 am, you'll start to see lots of proposing fish and there's a temptation to try tiny midge dries, but you'll be better served to switch to 26 and 28 emerger patterns, until around 4:00 pm, when you start to see more adults on the water. Some people I know, are even using size 30's. Anyway, if want success on dries, your best bet is size 24 Fore and Aft's from 4:00 pm till dark-thirty. You can still bring up some fish in the skinny stuff, on terrestrials, throughout the day, but you're going to have to walk a lot and just keep putting it in front of every fish you see. Most of the fish you'll find in this kind of water, have been fished over for months, with this stuff, and they're not playing that game anymore. Outside of a water change from the BOR, or a sudden appearance of PMDs en masse, in the lower river, I expect these conditions to hold for a while. The San Juan's still a great place to be right now, if you're willing to make some adjustments and pay attention to the little details that make all great tailwaters both challenging and rewarding. If you would like to book a guided trip, or need more info, 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
The Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has made a decision to prioritize Reservoir Storage over a Spring High Flow, so without unexpected precipitation there will not be a Spring Release for 2014.

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 - El Pescador is open for the 2014 Fishing Season

Hours:  Wednesday - Sunday 6:30 am-9:00 pm,  Closed Monday and Tuesday



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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