From the dam down to the Crusher Hole the San Juan River is known as the "Quality Water." This upper section is what we fished on Tuesday and Wednesday. Wanting a change of pace, Jerome told us he would take us to the lower section of the San Juan River on Thursday. Having never fished this 10 mile stretch, I thought it would be interesting to see. After finishing the float, I had to ask what constitutes "quality water." The only thing I could determine is that in the upper portion, only catch-and-release and single, barbless hooks are allowed, which typically means fly fishing only. We did see and talk with spincasters on downstream, all of whom seemed very nice and were enjoying a fine day of fishing, just like us. The other advantage we had fishing the "non-quality water" was, we were the only boat on the water all day long. Being a fishing snob is disadvantageous.
Jerome worked really hard, and as a result, we caught fish in front of the lodge where we were staying, Ayala's. We caught fish below the bridge that runs through town. We streamer fished catching big, beautiful Brown Trout (I used my TFO 6'8" 2# rod with a tandem streamer set up, just for fun). We fished in the light of the canyons and under overhanging willows. The moon shone brightly in the clear, blue sky and followed us down river. Cody boated six fish, and I boated eight. Regardless of what the maps and fellow fly fishers say, all of the San Juan River is quality water, all of it.