Larry Hersman, the creator of Taos Rods, tells us about his trout spey rods. We find out the advantages of spey rods that are shorter than usual, how they cast, and are they the future of spey rods? We also dig into San Juan River fly fishing – we discover why this was said to be the best trout stream in the world during the winter, and why Larry describes it as “better than heaven” during the ant hatch.

Plus, we talk about Larry’s old job as an Environmental Scientist – how his research and publications had a significant impact on that field.


Click below and listen to the Podcast about San Juan River Fly Fishing with Larry Hersman:

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(Read the Full Transcript at the bottom of this Blog Post)


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San Juan River Fly Fishing Show Notes with Larry Hersman

03:30 – 50 years ago, Larry and his friend Jack drove up to Anchorage Alaska. On the way, Jack taught him how to fly fish and the first fish he caught was an arctic grayling.

05:50 – The San Juan Worm fly pattern works great on the San Juan river

san juan river fly fishing
Photo courtesy of The English Fly Fishing Shop

06:30 – Larry started spey casting in the Skeena River

09:00 – Their trout spey rods are 3 wt 7 foot and 5wt 9 foot – shorter than the usual 11 foot

san juan river fly fishing

11:45 – Larry shares some tips on the recommended line setup for a 3 wt 7-foot spey rods


15:00 – You can dry fly fish with spey casting

15:45 – Larry spends most of his time in the Rio Grande river because it’s only an hour away from where he stays. The San Juan river is about 3 hours away.

16:30 – Rio Chiquito is only 20 mins away from where Larry lives

17:25 – Larry shares some tips on the recommended line setup for a 5 wt 9-foot spey rods

18:00 – The Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics has been a leader in developing the light skagit line. Scientific Anglers, Rio, and Airflo also produce great lines

19:30 – Larry describes casting at the fly fishing show pool in Denver

28:40 – 2 things make the San Juan river unique

  1. Constant water temperature at 40 degrees – water is cold
  2. It’s New Mexico where it’s sunny everyday – weather is warm

27:50 – At the end of May, they release a slug of water to mimic national runoff

29:50 – The word on the San Juan years ago used to be.. it was the best trout stream in the world in the winter because of the warm conditions, the fish are still feeding

30:50 – The ant fall or the carpenters hatch happens in early July and the fish go nuts for them. Size 22, 24, and 26 tiny flies with a 5x or 6x tippet work great

san juan river fly fishing
Photo courtesy of

31:30 – 90% of the fish you catch in the San Juan river are rainbows but there are brown trout below the quality water

33:10 – Taylor Streit was on the podcast at WFS 313

35:20 – Taylor wrote books about fly fishing New Mexico

san juan river fly fishing san juan river fly fishing

35:45 – The Taos Pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States (since 1100 AD)

45:10 – The summer is when Larry recommends fishing the San Juan river. Wait 2 or 3 weeks after the river has come down – so start about the early June

46:05 – Call Abe’s Fly Shop to check if the ant fall happens and get there as soon as possible

47:10 – Larry picks the Zebra Midge (size 26) as his go-to fly when fishing the San Juan river. Join the Top Fly Challenge and enter your favorite fly to win a box of flies

san juan river fly fishing
Photo courtesy of Tighline Videos

48:12 – Tim Cammisa was on the podcast at WFS 285

48:58 – If you go to the Texas hole, that’s the first huge hole on the river. The downside is, if you only target the Texas hole, you’re going to be with a dozen other people

50:30 – We talk about the Los Alamos area. There’s a film being shot there right now about Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb”.

51:45 – Larry always came to Taos to go skiing

53:30 – Larry talks about how the soil micro organisms could affect the movement of the radioactive nuclear tides and some other scientific stuff

55:45 – Larry Hersman’s got some publications you can find on Google


You can reach Harry via email at or visit his website at

san juan river fly fishing


Resources Noted in the Show


Videos Noted in the Show


Related Podcast Episodes

WFS 313 – Fly Fishing New Mexico with Taylor Streit – Rio Grande River, Taos Fly Shop


Read the Full Podcast Transcript Below


san juan river fly fishing


San Juan River Fly Fishing Conclusion with Larry Hersman

So there you go. We discovered why his trout spey rods are great, especially for people who are having shoulder problems or have limited strength like children, women, and older folks. You can reach out to Larry at or visit his website to find out more about these short spey rods.

We also discovered some good stuff about the San Juan River. So now we already know when’s the best time to fish there. Check in with Abe’s Fly Shop to find out when the ant hatch begins. If you’ve been there during the ant hatch and the winter, tell us about your experience or send me some photos on Instagram at @wetflyswing.