San Juan River Two Fly Rule

7/22

The New Mexico State Game Commission has enacted a two fly only rule for the quality waters of the San Juan. This rule will go into effect on July 1st. As a result, Game and Fish officers are starting to make their appearance on the San Juan. They are informing fly fishers of the “two fly” rule, but also checking licenses and for barbed flies. They recommend that you completely file the barb down or risk a citation. They check for a barb by running your tippet over the bend of the hook. If the tippet catches on your “pinched” barb you may get cited.

Courtesy of highdesertanglerannouncements blog.

Please note the part about “barbless hooks”. It does not say pinched down barbs but barbless.  Either file the barbs off or purchase barbless flies or hooks to tie your flies on.

barbed hook

barbed hook

Regular Hook with normal barb

pinched barb hook - note the bump where the barb has been pinched down

pinched barb hook – note the bump where the barb has been pinched down

Hook with Barb Pinched down but still enough to catch a leader passed over it or snag cloth if cloth passed over it.  In Arkansas this would not be a “Barbless Hook”

Hook with barb filed off

Hook with barb filed off

Hook with barb filed off.  This was done with a small file and left some sharp edges as you can see.  Even though the barb has been filed off, it probably would not pass as  “Barbless” on the San Juan River New Mexico or in Arkansas because of the rough edges left from the filing process.

Better get those hook hones out if you are heading to the San Juan.

Eighteen states have passed regulations requiring the use of barbless hooks on all or certain streams.  But five states do not have any good definition of “barbless”.

Your best bet is to purchase barbless flies or hooks to tie on.  Umpqua maker of Tiemco barbless nymph and dry fly hooks has a fine “beak” hook design for some of their hooks that will penetrate easily.

Eagle Claw’s barbless hooks are available from queticofishing.com/barblesshooks.htm and have a sharp beak design.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall, Editor
www.fly-fishing-colorado.com