Is the San Juan Worm The Ultimate Fly Fishing Fly?

Is the San Juan Worm The Ultimate Fly Fishing Fly?

The San Juan Worm is no stranger to the world of fly fishing due to its massive success in this field. Here’s a look at the San Juan Worm and its role as a tool in your fly box. 

Fishing is a hobby that many people like doing. Fly fishing is a type of fishing that is gaining popularity from all walks of life, especially because it can be done in freshwater or saltwater.

The San Juan Worm is no stranger to the world of fly fishing due to its massive success in this field. Here’s a look at the San Juan Worm and its role as a tool in your fly box. 


Fly Fishing with the San Juan Worm

Fishing With The San Juan Worm

The San Juan Worm is one of the most fundamental and most effective flies that exists. Many anglers use this as it is simple to tie and fish. 

The San Juan Worm looks much like a blood worm, which is a common type of worm in the San Juan River. It’s typically red, with a few variations in colors like purple, brown and pink.

There are variations to the types of San Juan Worm as well, and below are a few:

  • Beaded San Juan Worm
  • San Juan Worm Flash
  • Squirmy Worm


How to Fly Fish the San Juan Worm

How Do You Set Up And Fish With The San Juan Worm?

The San Juan Worm is made of a piece of chenille fixed to the end of a hook using a thread. 

However, there are several different versions of the make of this San Juan Worm. Some are made by tying a single piece of chenille directly to the fishing hook. More complex versions consist of using things like yarn, sparkle, and weight.

The San Juan Worm is ideal to use when fishing with anything like a bass or trout. It’s an excellent searching pattern which is great for trout when there are no visible hatches.

It’s a typically fished with as a wet fly or nymphed under an indicator but you can fish it with a tenkara rod or any kind of spinning gear as well.

When spin fishing, you should add some split shot or a small float on the fishing line so that you get the weight to cast it.


Fly Fishing Gear for Mississippi

In terms of fly gear such as the fly rod, you can pair up a San Juan Worm with any fly rod starting from the smallest 2wt on 7x tippet up to 7wt or 8wt if you're tackling largemouth bass.  Keep in mind that big fish may also indulge in small flies.

You can either fish it from the tip of your fishing line in a tight line approach or attach it under a indicator. After that, you aim it at your target areas to let it dead drift with the current. 

If it drags against than the water current, chances are that you may not get a hit from the fish on the pattern. However, if the worm moves at same speed as the current, also known as a dead drift, you are most likely to attract a take. 


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Where Can You Buy San Juan Worms From?

The San Juan Worm is typically mocked at for being a junk fly similar to the green weenie. One of the main reasons for this is because it doesn’t have delicate wings like some other flies, and is easy to tie due to this fact.

Since it’s so easy to tie a San Juan Worm, you may wonder why everyone doesn’t use it. Well, some people may not want to tie flies at all, or make the up front investment to get a fly tying kit set up. 

Sometimes people just want to fish during their free time. The San Juan worm and its many variations can easily be found your local fly shop or any reputable online fly shop.

The San Juan Worm is available in a variety of colors and sizes in almost any shop selling related items. They are commonly available in pink, purple, and red colors.


San Juan Worm on Fly Rod

Why Is The San Juan Worm Great?

The San Juan Worm is an excellent fly pattern due to its simplicity, and the micro chenille used gives it realistic movement when dead drifting in the water.

Anglers find this movement one of the most difficult to achieve in fishing. Getting a natural movement of the pattern is essential.

The San Juan Worm is also the ultimate pattern due to its close resemblance to the blood worm, which is commonly found in lakes and rivers and is a common food source for trout.


Fly Fisherman in the San Juan River New Mexico

History Of The San Juan Worm

Speaking a bit of the history of the San Juan worm, its history goes back to the San Juan River which is situated in the southwestern region of the United States. It’s from where this pattern got its name.

Jim Aubrey designed the San Juan Worm in the 70s. Jim was known for his kindness and ability to teach fly fishing to adults and kids around the San Juan River in the Colorado and New Mexico regions. Jim passed away at 90 in 2021, but fly fishermen worldwide will forever use his fly.What Fish Does A San Juan Worm Catch?

The San Juan Worm was originally designed to catch trout. However, it can be used to also catch many other fish species, including Grayling, Chub, and Carp.

With its versatile pattern, a few changes in your fishing rig will help you catch more fish using the San Juan Worm. The setup is very much similar to the way you would fish any type of nymph.

San Juan Worm: Size And Color

Here are the physical features of the different types of San Juan Worms.

  • Beaded San Juan Worm: It’s the perfect weightier version of the San Juan Worm. The bead is more forward in this pattern and comes in pink, purple, and red colors.
  • San Juan Worm Flash: It’s fished in different sizes ranging from size 14 to 16. It’s recommended to use heavier hooks for these worm patterns.
  • Squirmy Worm: Squirmy Worms are made of a silicon that creates another realistic look verses other patterns that use chenille.


How to Tie San Juan Worm

How Do You Tie The San Juan Worm?

Here are the things that you will need to tie the San Juan Worm:

  • A size 12 wet nymph hook
  • A 6/0 red
  • A small red chenille San Juan

Here are the steps to tie the San Juan Worm:

  • Secure the nymph hook in the vice.
  • Wrap a good thread base to the hook. You may also add a bead to the pattern.
  • Cut off the chenille, burn the corners, and roll to make the blackhead point.
  • Secure the chenille with three tight wraps and apply head cement to finish it off. 

The San Juan Worm is the ultimate fishing bait and has a very likely pattern that is ideal for the job. The San Juan Worm comes in many variations, including pink, purple, and red.

Fishing with the San Juan Worm is simple and it’s ideal because it can be used in both freshwater and saltwater.

San Juan worm in Red

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Created The San Juan Worm?

Jim Aubrey created the San Juan Worm in the 1970s. He was a renowned fly-tier and fisherman in the US.

What Is The Best Color For San Juan Worms?

The most popular colors used for San Juan Worms are pink and red. However, hot pink, purple, and yellow also make ideal colors for San Juan Worms.

What Material Is Used For San Juan Worms?

The materials used for San Juan Worms are thread and brightly-hued red chenille, as these bait mimic red bloodworms.

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