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November 19, 2007

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Dry Flies in January

San Juan River, New Mexico
Target species: Trout
January avg. temps: 38 high, 16 low
Round-trip airfare to Albuquerque: $230
Accommodations: Camping at $8 per night

Okay, this may not be what you’d call a “warm” getaway, but the San Juan tailwater is one of America’s best winter trout fisheries. You might even pray for a light snowfall—that’s the sort of cloudy weather that brings on intense bluewing olive hatches and rising trout. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Albuquerque to where the river flows from Navajo Dam. Hardy souls can pitch a tent in one of the Navajo Lake State Park campgrounds (emnrd.state.nm.us/prd/navajo.htm). If you don’t own a down sleeping bag, get an inexpensive room at Abe’s Motel and Fly Shop (sanjuanriver.com) right next to the fishing. Bring small nymphs, fine leaders, and warm neoprene waders—the water temperature will be about 45 degrees.

--John Merwin

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