New Mexico’s San Juan River

If you’re a trout fisherman who enjoys catching big fish on tiny flies you should treat yourself to a few days on New Mexico’s famous San Juan tailwater below Navajo Lake. And when you go you won’t find a better base camp than Soaring Eagle Lodge. After a hard day of casting tiny flies on gossamer tippets you can sit outside your riverside unit and enjoy your favorite beverage, watch rising trout and sporadic flyovers by ducks, geese, ospreys, and the occasional eagle while working up a hearty appetite for the sumptuous evening meal. A big breakfast next morning will send you on your way to a guided float or wading trip, or if you prefer you can wade and fish on your own.

Raleigh Eggers and I recently spent five days at Soaring Eagle. Like any fishing venue, success can vary if you measure it by numbers and size of fish. But a “bad” day on the San Juan can be better than a good day on other streams. While crowded at times, some afternoons we had areas of the river virtually all to ourselves. Floating two days with guides Jeremiah Spradley and Curtis Bailey we managed to catch and release some good fish.

Breakfast and dinner at Soaring Eagle never varies. It’s always excellent, prepared and served by a courteous, competent staff.  Check it out at

Photos don’t lie (OK. I’ve got long arms). But a big trout is a big trout, and catching them on #24 emergers and 6X tippet definitely ups the sphincter factor.

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About BruceCochran

Bruce Cochran graduated from Oklahoma University in 1960 with a B.A. in design. He worked as a humor writer/illustrator for Hallmark Cards from 1960 – 1962 and has freelanced as a writer, cartoonist and illustrator since then. Cochran drew daily sports cartoon for USA Today from 1983 – 1991. He has 10 humor/cartoon books published by Willow Creek Press and his work appears regularly in Wyoming Wildlife, Outdoor News, On Wisconsin Outdoors, Pheasants Forever Journal, Wildfowl, Gundog, Ducks Unlimited magazine, Delta Waterfowl and other publications. He also writes and illustrates a regular humor column for Wyoming Wildlife News. Bruce won first place in the magazine humor category of OWAA’s EIC contest in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Life Sponsor: Ducks Unlimited. Life member: NRA. Member: Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, OWAA and Outdoor Writers of Kansas.

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