Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 3/22/2017

Contact Duranglers for up to the minute information

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
 490 cfs Steady Flows are steady, but the river is slightly off color.  Fishing can be really good right now though.  Dark midges, BWO nymphs, annelids, and leeches are finding fish Midges size 20-24: Midge Adult, Midge Dry, Midge Emergerblack and brown flash midge pupa, Rootbeer Midge.  San Juan Worms 14-18, Red and Orange Annelids. BWOs 18-24: Thread Body Baetis, RS2, Juju Baetis, Barrs Emerger, Film Critic BWO.  Simi Seal Leeches, Goat Leech, Egg patterns in Pink, Yellow, Cream, Peach.  San Juan Worms: Red, Wine, Orange.

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
1390 cfs Falling slowly We have had a few cold days and are expecting a few more, with the possibility of rain and snow.  Because of this, the river is clearing and fishing will be picking up.  Consider a float trip with us in the next few days, streamer fishing could get interesting…  BWOs should also may a good showing. Prince Nymphs, Copper John, Hare’s Ears, Psycho Prince, and Pat’s Rubberlegs.  Dark buggers and streamers: Josh’s Ziwi, Home Invader, Circus Peanut, Conehead Wool Sculpin, and Dirty Hippy.  BWO’s sizes 18-20: Vis-A-Dun, Pheasant Tails, RS-2s, Blue Ribbon Foam Emerger.

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
1160 cfs Falling With these cooler days, flows will be dropping and fishing will be picking up.  Big dark nymphs and streamers will be the key, watch for hatches of BWOs. Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ears, Psycho Prince, and Pat’s Rubberlegs.   Dark buggers and streamers: Josh’s Ziwi, Home Invader, Lunch Money, and Dirty Hippy.

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
1930 Steady/Falling High and dirty.  Fishing will be tough Stonefly nymphs in sizes 6-12:  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs, 20 Incher. Caddis Pupa: 14-20 Cased Caddis, GTI Caddis, Stupid Fast Caddis.

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
469 below dam. Recently Increased Flows have been raised and fishing has been good.  Attractor nymphs with weight will be the key in the deeper holes.  Look for hatches of midges and baetis to get fish moving. Mayfly Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Juju Baetis, BWO Bat Wing Emerger, BWO Blue Ribbon Foam Emerger, RS-2.  Prince, Copper John,  Hare’s Ear Nymphs.  Caddis Pupa: 12-14 Cased Caddis, GTI Caddis, Stupid Fast Caddis.  Stonefly nymphs such as Pat’s Rubberlegs, Prince Nymphs, and 20 incher.

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
60.4 cfs Recently Increased Winter fishing techniques still apply, but flows have been bumped up.  If you can access the lower river (the forest service gate is still locked until the end of April), you may be able to find fish.  Midges and Baetis will be the primary food source right now.  Duranglers Midge Adult, Bling Midge, Black Midge Pupa.  Chocolate RS2, Phesant tails, Rainbow Warriors, Barrs BWO Vis-a-Dun, Bat Winged Emerger, BWO Hackle Stacker.

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
1130 Falling currently Flows are high and fishing will be tough.  Big nymphs fished deep will be your best bet. Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Caddis nymphs. Pheasant Tails, Prince Nymphs.

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
0.72 at 30 mile/507 Wagon Wheel Gap Steady Ice is leaving the banks of the Rio and fishing will be picking up with BWOs and baitfish on the menu.  We will be floating the Rio late March through April, now is the time to book a streamer trip of destiny. BWOs sizes 18-20: RS-2, Brown Baetis Nymph, Rainbow Warrior, Killer Mayfly.  BWO Dries: Barrs Vis-A-Dun, Bat Wing Emerger, Blue Ribbon Foam Emerger.  Caddis Pupa: 14-20  GTI Caddis, Stupid Fast Caddis.  Prince Nymphs, Copper John, Hare’s Ears, and Pat’s Rubberlegs.  Dark streamers: Josh’s Ziwi, Home Invader, Lunch Money, and Dirty Hippy.

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
94 Above/2.5 Below Very Low and steady The lower river is opening up but the water will be skinny.  The upper river is rising with spring snow melt.  Look for Lemon to be icing off, with fish eating as the ice subsides. Midges 18-20: Zebra Midge, Disco Midge, Black Midge Pupa.  Mayfly Nymphs.  Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Hare’s Ear, Psycho Prince.  Stupid Fast Caddis.  Buggers and streamers.  Eggs and leeches.

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
Slowly opening up Creek fishing season is still slow.  See our Creek Guide for more info on finding great high country honey holes.  Look for open water on creeks with lots of sun, and drop in a nymph if you manage to snowshoe to one. Attractor dries such as the Hippy Stomper, Royal Wulff, 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
367 Rising Flows are rising and the water will cold and off color.  Large attractor nymphs and buggers may fool a fish or two. 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.

 

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  • 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
Icing off Some low elevation lakes are icing off and fishing good for pike and trout.  Navajo is open, Totten and Puett will be fishable as well.  Lemon and Vallecito are icing off right now.  Carp fishing is also starting.

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
1140 Steady Flows are up on the Gunny. Nymph and streamer rigs are the ticket, but watch for rising fish to midge and BWO hatches.  The lower river can fish good this time of year with midges and deep nymph rigs.  It may not be a bad idea to swing a streamer. Rainbow Warriors, Barrs BWO Vis-a-Dun, RS-2s,  Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Prince Nymph, Sparkle Stone, 20 Incher, Pat’s Rubberlegs.  Midges, Caddis pupa.  Dark buggers and streamers: Josh’s Ziwi, Home Invader, Lunch Money, and Dirty Hippy.

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
147 Steady Flows are steady and fishing is good!  Look for fish to be holding in new water with higher flows.  Typical tailwater stuff will work, but so will stoneflies and bigger nymphs.  Try a Hare’s Ear maybe.  Leeches too. Eggs, leeches, and SJ worm patterns. Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear, BWO Blue Ribbon Foam Emerger.  Copper John, Flash Midge Pupa, Flashback WD-40.  RS-2