Mar 4, 2015

San Juan, Animas, Durango - January 2015

Dates were set, gear in check and Tom's flight just landed in the Albuquerque Sunport.

Passport NOT required!

Despite a near last minute cancellation due to illness all was on track to explore winter in the Southwest Trout Region. Winter conditions almost got in the way as our drive had us skirting around a cold front that had just earlier that day left snow on the Continental Divide.

First stop San Juan for some long overdue ego boost. Not today! Having arrived on the backside of a cold front we found fussy fish teasing us with short strikes and avoiding any solid pin of the hook.

What do you call it when the fish don't eat? Casting Practice!
Personally I realized that it had been too long since wetting a line. I knew this because I quickly realized I was off my game. Fumbling, not connecting, not focused and at a later point in the day Tom said "Dude...Chill out!...Just step back, relax and unwind" (deep breath!). You know you got a good friend when he's not scared to look you in the eye and tell you to get it together. Sometimes you need to hear it.Tom went on to land a couple fish at the end of the day while I pulled myself together but the fish were still far from happy.

Dark had fallen on the tiny town of Navajo Dam as we rolled in to the local diner for a dinner chow. Trophy pictures hanging on the wall did nothing to ease the torment of a mediocre at best day of fishing.

Back to our room at the Rainbow Lodge and Resolution Guide Service owner Steve came over to say hello. Steve gave us a great winter rate and his accommodations were exactly what two weary fisherman needed for a great nights rest. After a brief recap of our days success or lack of would be a better way to describe it, Steve offered his expertise and we listened closely. After unloading the truck I quickly grabbed a cold beer from the cooler and dumped my gear on the table. Get it together is the only thought on my mind. Tom and I spent the better part of the evening catching up on what's been going on and preparing for the next day.
Photo Credit Tom Larimer | Larimer Outfitters

Next day came with blue sky and the sunrise quickly leveled the frost. As I drove us down to Last Chance Hole I fired up a song on the stereo. Tony Furtada doing a cover of an old classic Tom Petty "Running Down a Dream."
It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down - I had the radio on, I was driving
Trees flew by, Me and Del were singin' Little Runaway
I was Flying'
Yeah Running down a dream That never would come to me

I got the look from Tom followed with "Dude! What are you doing driving 20 mph down the road? I said "Getting in tune and relaxing, we only have like a mile to go and I want to hear this song"... lol... Geared and ready to go we ran down to the water and made a few casts before our friends from Durango would arrive.

Soon after Beatle and Jon arrived. Truck tailgates dropped and a full on gear convention took place. I pulled out my Jetboil and offered fresh brewed coffee. After our show and tell session we took Beatle's advice and headed up to an area called the Back Channel. This run held great promise. It just felt right for swinging with its heavy current, deep channel and plenty of boulders to create seams.
Jon landing first ever Two Hand Trout catch
It wasn't long and Tom was into a Rainbow and followed that up with a Brown. The advice that Steve gave us the night before had been validated. It was a tiny size 28 red annelid trailing behind our streamers that the fish would eat.  It wasn't until later in the afternoon that the fish started to take the streamer. I could sense the change in the fish's attitude. That's a sign that we're getting tuned in and a good day turned into a great day of fishing!

Ore House | Durango, Colorado
As dusk set in we headed back to the truck, packed up our gear and took off north on a course set for the mountain town of Durango, Colorado. Beatle invited us to join him for dinner and drinks at his historic Ore House Restaurant. Greeted at the door by Beatle, Jon and wives Cheryl and Lyndsey, we quickly settled into the warm, casual, inviting atmosphere while granddaughter Alyson provided entertainment. Will Blanchard of Animas Valley Anglers joined in and we toasted drinks while recapping the days success. Drinks, laughter and an incredible meal kept us going late into the night. Durango is such a fun and friendly town.

Next day we met down on the Animas River close to town. The Animas is a beautiful freestone mountain stream. Middle January and this river is cold! No surprise that these fish aren't going to move far for a fly. About an hour after four of us probing the water Tom hooks up on an awesome Brown. That one fish validated all effort!
Tom Larimer | Larimer Outfitters | Winston MicroSpey

We went on to fish some other areas and later that day the Rainbows started feeding and several came to hand. We admired each one for they were all fat and healthy fish.

Animas River Bow
Dusk settled in as we stowed our gear. Tom and I decided right then that we would stay another night in Durango instead of making the long dark lonely drive back down into Albuquerque. It's the most scenic drive during the day and the darkest drive ever during the night!

Back to town, secured a room and dropped off three days of what was once precisely organized fishing gear now appears in total disarray. Hungry we walked down in town for dinner...I love towns that you can park the rig and just walk to whatever you want. Tom was told when you travel to New Mexico one must experience a green chile cheeseburger even if you're in Colorado! This is true! So with a recommendation from our local friends we entered a local cantina to try the best green chile cheeseburger in town. It did not disappoint and Tom approved!

Drove back to the city the next day and got Tom on a plane headed home. On my drive home I looked back on the past few days and wondered what was my favorite part of the trip. Was it catching up with a good friend, meeting new friends, experiencing a new town, fishing a new river, experimenting with new gear, catching fish or great food and drink. All of the above!


Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

1 comment :

  1. All that talk about equipment, but no details on what two-handed rods you were using, what weight, etc. I for one would like to know!


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