Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 10/27/2017

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San Juan River in New MexicoReal-time River Data

The Quality Water section of the San Juan River below Navajo Reservoir is arguably the best trout river in the world. The San Juan offers big fish…lots of them, and you can catch them 365 days a year!  Need a guide?

Buck San Juan River

Corky San Juan

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug408
 529 cfs Steady The Juan is in full on Fall mode these days with steady flows and consistant hatches of midges and baetis.  Warmer days are seeing good BWO hatches and are bringing fish to the surface.  Of course, fall is streamer time and it is worth a shot.  If nothing else, get dirty with an egg pattern.  Midges 22-28: Black midge pupa, Disco Midge, Tav’s Big Mac, Jujubee Midge, .Simi Seal Leeches, Goat Leech, Chamois Leech. San Juan Worms: Red, Wine, Orange. Red and Orange Annelids, and Chamois leeches.  Thread Baetis, Split Flag Baetis, Jujubaetis.

Animas RiverReal-time River Data

One of the last free-flowing rivers in the state of Colorado, the Animas is a unique and rare treasure. With the newest and one of the best Gold Medal Water sections in Colorado, the Animas is a river that should be on your list of places to fish. Animas River Rainbow Trout

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
208 cfs Falling It’s almost November, but temps have been good…and so has the fishing.  Baetis are still showing and midges are beginning to pop in abundance.  Nymph rigs are in order, but streamers are also finding lots of hungry post-spawn browns. BWOs: Barrs Vis A Dun, Sparkle Dun, Jujubaetis, RS-2, Killer Mayfly.  Streamers: Sparkle Minnow, Ziwi, Lunch Money, Meat Whistle.  Caddis nymphs are also worth having on hand: GTI Caddis, Graphic Caddis, Swing Caddis.

San Juan River in ColoradoReal-time River Data

Flowing through Pagosa Springs on its way to Navajo Reservoir, the “upper” San Juan is a good freestone river with good caddis and stonefly hatches.

Caddis-eating-Trout

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
102 cfs Low and clear Low flows call for deep running nymph rigs, but don’t discount a streamer either.  The ideal fall set up is a heavy stonefly followed by a smaller mayfly nymph. Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Sparkle StoneBrown Baetis Nymph, RS-2, Killer Mayfly, Pheasant Tails.   Streamers such as the Dali Lama, Sheila Sculpin, Josh’s Ziwi.

Piedra RiverReal-time River Data

Spilling out of the Weimunuche wilderness, this classic trout stream offer good dry fly opportunities and a surprising diversity of fishing opportunities and a surprising diversity of fish. Duranglers also has some outstanding guided private water on the Piedra!

DJ-Fishing Piedra

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
75.5 cfs Low fall flows Deep holes, deep nymph rigs.  This time of year, fish seek shelter from the oncoming winter.  The upper canyon sections will find fish deep, but lower down you may find some dandies… A Pat’s rubberlegs followed by a Pheasant Tail have done wonders on this water.  We don’t always throw nymph rigs, but when we do, bugs in the flavor of stonefly, caddis, and mayfly are Key.  Stay thirsty my friends.

Los Pinos RiverReal-time River Data

This is the section below Vallecito Reservoir. Bordered by private property on both sides for its entire length below the reservoir, you can only fish it if you are lucky enough to own property on it or if you take a guide trip with Duranglers!   Pine Brown

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
39.7 below dam. Dropped to winter flows The lower is going to be a tough go.  Low flows mean hard to catch fish.  The upper on the other hand…well just remember big brown trout live in lakes and have to spawn in rivers…giant trout are caught all over on Vallecito this time of year too. Prince, Copper John,  Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Stupid Fast Caddis. Stoneflies such as Hot Wire Prince, Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 incher. Scuds and Sowbugs.  RS-2.

Dolores River Below McPheeReal-time River Data

The Dolores River below McPhee Reservoir doesn’t get allocated enough water to blossum into the river it should be. Keep an eye on the little water it is getting and remember every drop counts!

Tom-Lower-Dolores-Duranglers-Durango-Colorado.jpg

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
40.2 cfs Steady Skittish fish this time of year with low flows…BWOs and Midges are hatching.  Streamers are also a good option. BWOs nymphs, emergers, and dries.  Streamers such as Bennett’s Lunch Money…and maybe a mouse pattern for the evening…

Dolores River Above McPheeReal-time River Data

This freestone river spills out of the high country and through a beautiful forested canyon. The limited access on the river should not be a deterent in exploring this great river.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
54.5 cfs Falling Waters are going to be cold.  Deep nymph rigs should be your first thought when fishing up here. Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Caddis nymphs. Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ear.  Egg patterns if you are a dirty bastard.

Rio Grande (30 mile /Wagon Wheel)Real-time River Data

The Rio Grande is a classic western river. It is a great dry fly river with one of the best Salmonfly hatches in Colorado. The flow is partially controlled by a dam, but the many tributaries add significant flow during spring and wet weather.   Jake-Mike-Rio

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
72 at 30 mile/272 Wagon Wheel Gap Fall flows…so it’s kinda low homie The Rio Grande in fall offers the perfect opportunity to buy another fly rod.  Namely, a spey rod for trout and swing streamers to your heart’s content.  Sure you could fish a single hander with a nymph rig or streamer set up, but why.  Get a two hander in the 3-6 weight variety and huck meat on this big water. Streamers: Flash FryJosh’s ZiwiDirty HippyBennett’s Lunch Money.  BWO nymphs and dries such as RS-2, Bat Wing Emerger, Foam BWO Emerger, Barrs Vis A Dun.

Florida River

The difficult fly fishing on the Florida River will not be attractive to every angler, and beginners should take some time to hone their skills on other rivers before going there. Those who are willing to put in the necessary effort to discover its scenic wonders as well as its secret trout holes will be amply rewarded with much more than wild trout.

The Stupid Fast Caddis Success

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
10.9 Above/10.6 Below Low my friends, low Low flows mean tough fishing below and above.  Trout will be skittish and holding in the deepest of waters available.  The lemon inlet may be worth a cast or 10… Midges will be popping: Disco Midge, Sproat midge Dry, Miracle Nymph.

Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Hare’s Ear, Rainbow Warrior.  Stupid Fast Caddis.


Creeks

Fishing Durango Colorado is very numerous and diverse. There is, of course, the famous San Juan River below Navajo Dam along with the larger freestone rivers like the Animas, Piedra, and Dolores. But there are also more small mountain streams than can be fished in a lifetime. Colorado Creek Trout

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
Falling and cold Cold conditions exist on our creeks but fish can be caught with nymph rigs if you are that type of person.  Fishing will hold until the snows cover these high country holes up until spring. Attractor dries such as the Hippy Stomper, Royal Wulff, Stimulators, and Humpies.  Dropper Nymphs: Prince Nymphs, Copper Johns, Pheasant tails, Hare’s Ears.

San MiguelReal-time River Data

Flowing out of the “hip” town of Telluride, the San Miguel is a small river/ large stream that offers some great fishing and pretty good access.

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
??? cfs  Ice maybe… Low fall flows It’s cold, run a deep nymph rig if you are up to it. Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, and Prince Nymphs.  Small buggers and streamers.

Lakes/Ponds

Our local lakes and ponds hold an abundance of trout, pike, bass, and many other species of gamefish.   1 resized

  • Vallecito Reservoir (Pike, Trout, Smallmouth Bass)
  • Lemon Reservoir (Trout, Kokanee Salmon)
  • Navajo Reservoir (Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Crappie, Carp, Trout, Catfish)
  • Puett Reservor (Pike, Smallmouth Bass)
  • McPhee Reservoir (Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Crappie, Walleye, Bluegill)
  • Pastorius Reservoir (Bass, Trout, Panfish)
  • Echo Lake (Bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Trout)
  • Summit Reservoir (Largemouth and Smallmouth bass, Trout, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Crappie)
  • Totten Reservor (Pike, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Crappie)
  • Haviland Lake (Rainbow and Brook Trout)
  • High country lakes (Trout)
CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
All are holding strong for now Trout fishing has been good, pike fishing has been getting good too!  Bass and Carp may be a tough gig now.

Gunnison (Black Canyon)Real-time River Data

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River offers one of the greatest wilderness/fishing experiences in the lower 48. The river has a good population of rainbows and brown and some of the best hatches around. Every angler should put our three-day float on their “places to fish before I die” list!

Les Gunnison

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
755 Steady You can fish BWO dries and nymphs..but don’t.  Throw streamers for insanity! BWO dries.  If no risers: stonefly nymphs, worm patterns, and Caddis Pupa are good go-to’s.  Bennet’s Lunch Money, Craven’s Dirty Hippy, and Ziwi streamers.

UncompaghreReal-time River Data

The newest tailwater fishery in the state. The Unc. (we like to call it) has two faces. The overly manicured part of the river is a little like fishing at Disneyland. The “wild” section is a real river.

CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
60.8 Steady Fishing is good .  BWOs and Midges are around.  Typical tailwater stuff will work.  Try a Hare’s Ear maybe.  Leeches too! Eggs, leeches, and San Juan Worms patterns. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, BWO Blue Ribbon Foam Emerger.  Copper John, Flash Midge Pupa, Flashback WD-40.  RS-2.