El Río Fabuloso Del San Juan

This post has nothing to do with anything except my extra-curricular enjoyment. I just got back from a couple of days fishing the San Juan River, and have to say the place hasn’t changed much since my last visit (in 2000) – it still kicks the ass of any other trout fishery in this country (and likely most others as well).

A fellow fisherman called it “an amusement park for anglers.” I agree. And I have to hand it to the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game for their management of all the “attractions”, which included numerous rainbows over 20 inches (and fat enough to be mistaken for collegiate footballs).

Check out these factoids on the San Juan River and its aquatic inhabitants, as dug up by one of our crew…

– The Navajo Dam was constructed between 1958-1963 and turned into/managed as special trout water in 1966.

– The river holds rainbow, cutthroat, cutbows, and brown trout.

– Nearly-microscopic midges make up the majority of a San Juan trout’s diet. Midges and baetis hatch year-round on the San Juan. There are estimated to be an average of 100,000 insects per square meter in the river.

– San Juan trout can grow as fast as 7-9 inches per year.

– New Mexico Game & Fish reports average fish size is a fat 17-18 inches.

– With its heavy fishing pressure, NM Game & Fish estimates that 99% of the fish have been caught.

– The river is stocked to maintain trout populations. Natural reproduction is limited. Fish are stocked at 3-5″.

– The lower sections of the river hold more brown trout because the water temperature is warmer. Brown trout have not been stocked for years. All browns in the river are naturally reproducing.

Interesting stuff, particularly those incredible growth rates!

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