Another San Juan Worm

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The San Juan worm is a simple fly, easy to tie and has many variations. These variations were tied by Joseph Aimonette at the Sept. Ozark meeting and are presented here as tied to demonstrate the versatility of this pattern. The main difference in this pattern is the use of a Sz. 12 red Gamakatsu C12-B hook. Credit for this unique difference is to be given to Tom Hargrove, who now ties all of his worm patterns as well as many glow ball patterns on this red hook. The fly is tied in as many colors as there are colors of ultra chenille. The most popular colors vary by season, but Red and Cherese (pink) were hot patterns, as told by the guys on the white river while at Conclave this October.

The San Juan Worm orginated with Jim Aubrey in the 1970's. It imitates many worms depending upon the colors selected. The actual San Juan Worm is about two inches and resides with the silty river bottom of the San Juan River, New Mexico. It was the impetus to the infamous "San Juan Shuffle", in which flyfishermen used to scuff along the bottom to dislodge the worms and create a feeding frenzy. This technique has become "unsporting" and is not looked upon favorably by most flyfishermen. In the Sierra's, it imitates the blood midge and is also used as a midge larvae patterns within most of the Sierra streams.


Hook:Gamakatsu c12-b #12
Thread:Danville Red 6/0
Bead:Tungsten bead, red wire or both
Body Dubbing:Red Ultra Chenille

Tying Instructions

  1. Attach the thread about one eye length behind the eye. Secure a ribbing wire and wrap the wire along the top of the shank to the midpoint of the bend.
  2. Tie in a 2 inch length of ultra chenille at the rear of the hook behind the wire. Make sure it is about one inch past the hook to imitate the end of an aquatic worm.
  3. Move thread forward and pull the body material over the top of the hook. Secure the body material with the wire wraps.
  4. Pull the chenille back and complete a small thread head, singe ends and tie off using a whip finish. Apply head cement and get it done.


Does not matter how, as long as it is deep and on the bottom. Can be fished below another fly or alone. Get it down, get a good drag free drift and watch the action.