Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 7/4/2018


416 Fire Update!!!  Stage 3 Restrictions Lifted San Juan National Forest Opens

Due to our fortunate weather and rains over the weekend, the Stage 3 fire restrictions will be lifted on Thursday, June 21st at 3:00 pm in the San Juan National Forest and BLM.  You can read more here.  La Plata/Durango properties are still under stage 3 restrictions buy may open shortly after.

This means that most backcountry rivers, creeks (Hermosa excluded), and lakes as well as the Piedra, Dolores, and Upper Pine will be open.  Please please please, use responsibly.  It only takes a wayward spark to set off another blaze, which is something we don’t need right now.  Get out, catch a pile of trout, and have fun!!!

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/Bug
 1110 cfs Rising The San Juan is the place to be right now.  Summer flows are in full effect and with the flow bump, fish will be found everywhere.  Back channels and eddies are great places to find fish and get away from the crowds.  Midges, aquatic worms, and baetis will be the standard fare.  MAKE SURE you have some terrestrials on hand: hoppers, crickets, ants, etc…  Midges 22-28: Sidewinder Midge Pupa, Tav’s Big Mac, Jujubee Midge.  Midge Dries: Duranglers Adult Midge, CDC Biot Midge, Midge Dry.

San Juan Worms: Red, Wine, Orange. Red and Orange Annelids, and Chamois leeches.  Thread Baetis, Split Flag Baetis, Barrs Vis-A-DunJujubaetis.

Buggers, Sparkle Minnow, and Ant Patterns.

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
191 cfs Falling Caddis, tricos, PMDs, oh my!  Morning fishing on the Animas has been best with PMDs coming off around 10.  Until we start getting rains, we ask that if possible, avoid the Animas in the later afternoons.  Some folks are holding themselves to personal hoot owl restrictions.  Afternoon water temps can heat up over 65 degrees, which can stress fish.  A hooked and landed fish in hot water temps can kill them.  We ask that afternoons be spent in the high country or cooler water until we see more rains. The Foam Caddis, X Caddis, Peacock Caddis, and Missing Link are all great caddis dry fly patterns.  For nymphs, consider fishing a GTI Caddis larva, Cased Caddis, or Olive Caddistrophic pupa.

Nymph rigs such as a Guides Choice Hares Ear, Prince Nymph, or Copper John paired with a CDC Pheasant Tail, Rainbow Warrior, or a Split Back PMD.

Trico spinners and drowned tricos are also a good bet.


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.


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug85
 39.2 cfs Falling PMDs and Caddis will be out.  The water is low so smaller leaders are needed.  The rubber hatch in town is going strong.  Until we start getting rains, we ask that if possible, avoid the upper San Juan in the later afternoons (unless you are going tubing).  Some folks are holding themselves to personal hoot owl restrictions.  Afternoon water temps can heat up over 65 degrees, which can stress fish.  A hooked and landed fish in hot water temps can kill them.  We ask that afternoons be spent in the high country or cooler water until we see more rains. Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Sparkle Stone, Atomic Stone, Brown Wired Stone, BH Copper John, Psycho Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Prince Nymph, GTI Caddis.

Chubbies, Para-Madam X’s, and bigger stimulators are a great attractor pattern for this time of the year.  Terrestrials are out, so a Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper, or Hamburgler are all great terrestrial patterns.  The classic Elk Hair Caddis will work great if there is a caddis hatch.  Don’t forget to try a dry/dropper rig.

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
19.9 cfs Falling/LOW The water on the Piedra is LOW!  Fishing will be best from dawn through the late morning.

Until we start getting rains, we ask that if possible, avoid the fishing in the later afternoons.  Some folks are holding themselves to personal hoot owl restrictions.  Afternoon water temps can heat up over 65 degrees, which can stress fish.  A hooked and landed fish in hot water temps can kill them.  We ask that afternoons be spent in the high country or cooler water until we see more rains.

Dries: Chubby Cherynobl, Flushfloater, Tan E-Z Caddis, Peacock Caddis, Tan Caddis Emerger, Stimulators, and Para-Madam X’s, Fat Head Moth.

Nymphs: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Twenty Inchers, Prince Nymphs, Atomic Stones, Golden Stone Nymphs…anything stoned is what you want.  For caddis try a Olive/Tan Primetime Pupa, or Olive Super Pupa.

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
596 cfs below dam. Steady Fishing has been great on the Pine.  Fishing heavier nymph rigs trailed by mayfly emergers has been very effective for targeting trout in the faster water.  There have recently been some sporadic stonefly and caddis hatches.  Dry fly fishing has been solid if you are in the right place at the right time.  Above Vallecito, fishing has been good in the mornings with Caddis, Stones, and PMDs. Nymphs:  Little Black Sloan, Pats Rubber Legs, Brown Wired Stone, Copper John, GB Pheasant Tail, Z-Wing Caddis, Dirty Bird Hares Ear, Rubber Legs Hares Ear.

Dry Flies:  Black stimulators, Olive Hot Wing Caddis (easy to see in the evening), Foam Body Elk Hair Caddis, and X-Wing Caddis.  For attractors try a Amy’s Ant or Never Sink Trude.

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!


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
20 cfs Low water Fishing can be really tough during low flows.  If you choose to make the journey, think about fishing terrestrials, caddis, and PMD’s.  Small tippet and stealthy approaches are a must.  Please take care not to stress fish as temps increase. Dry Flies:  Morrish Hopper, Parachute Hopper, Never Sink Trude, CDC PMD Comparadun, PMD extended body,  PMD last chance cripple, and Purple Parachute Adams.

Nymphs: PMD Splitcase, Tungsten CDC FB PT, and all standard pheasant tails.

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.


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug
26 cfs Dropping With low flows, the fishing will be great in the mornings, but the lower stretches should be avoided in the afternoons until we get rains soon.  However, be aware that the Burro fire is in the area and closures may exist.  Check the updated incident report for more info.  Dry droppers are one of our favorite ways to fish this water. Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Caddis nymphs. Prince Nymphs, Guides Choice Hare’s Ear.

Wooly Buggers, Slump Busters, Meat Whistles.

Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams.

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
66.5 (30 Mile)

159(Wagon Wheel)

Falling Flows are low for this time of year on the Rio…but fishing remains goods.  Now is the time of the mayfly: PMDs and Drakes are out but don’t discount caddis hatches all day.  Smaller flies and tippet will be the go-to.  Nymph rigs run deep with a stonefly will find some great fish.

The moring fishing has been best, so start early.  With low water and higher temps, please give the fish a break in the afternoons and head to the high country.  High water temps ARE fatal to hooked fish.

Caddis: Parachute Caddis, Peacock Caddis, X Caddis.

Drakes: Parachute Adams, Para Henry Rib, Green Drake Parawulff, Grey Drake Film Critic.

PMDs: Pink Harewing Dun, PMD Film Critic, Barr’s Vis-a-Dun PMD.

Florida RiverReal-time River Data

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
9.4 (Above Lemon)

161 (Below Lemon)

Steady The Upper river low and fishing good with attractor dries/droppers in mornings before it gets too hot.

The lower tailwater is all private, but if you have access…fish a Dry.  Stimulators, Ants, Hoppers.  Fish are loving it!  Watch for hatches of PMDs.  A Dry dropper setup would be a good choice.


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

Dry Flies:  Dave’s Hopper, Yellow/Brown Yaegers, Red Legged Hopper, Black HiVis Ant, Parachute Adams, Yellow Stimulators, and Elk Hair Caddis.


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
Steady The summer creek season is here!  Attractor dries will be your go-to.

The majority of the Hermosa Drainage will remain closed due to the 416 fire, but Lime and Cascade are open along with numerous high country creeks and lakes!  Get those hiking shoes out, pack a lunch and few flies, and hit the backcountry!

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
71.7 Falling This is prime time to fish the San Miguel. Look for fish on the banks and around the structure as the river continues to drop.   A dry dropper would be an excellent choice to hook up on some trout Nymphs:  Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, and Prince Nymphs, Pats Rubber Legs, Little Black Sloan

Dries: Large H&L Variants, Stimulators, Royal Humpies, Foam Body Elk Hair Caddis and Hippy Stompers.


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
Most lakes are open except the highest country lakes.  Some mid elevation mountain lakes are fishing well. Vallectio is picking up!  Smallmouth bass fishing has been great. Targeting trout and pike can be more difficult as the temperatures increase, so think about fishing a sinking line and working deeper water.

Navajo is open and pike fishing is on, smallie fishing is great.  Carp is turning on

Pasterious, Totten, Puett are all fishing good.

Lake Nightmare …er…Nighthorse will also be fishing well with streamers and chronomids.

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
730 cfs Steady PMDs, BWOs, Caddis, Yellow Stones!  Summer fishing is here.  Dry droppers are a great way to catch lots of fish, but if no fish are rising, look to nymphing deep runs with a stonefly as your top fly Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Hare’s Ear, Rainbow Warrior.  Stupid Fast Caddis, GTI Caddis, Caddistrophic Pupa, Holographic Caddis

Stonefly Nymphs: Atomic Stone, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Wired, Stone, Sparkle Stone, Hot Wire Prince, and 20 inchers.

Dries: Chubby Chernobyl, El Camino, Stone, Improved Sofa Pillow, Tan and Olive X Caddis, EZ Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis, Yellow Stimulator


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
238 cfs Steady With larger flows, look for fish to be spreading out.  Hatches of Midges and BWOs are around but expect Caddis, Stones, and PMD’s as well.  Drakes may also show up. Eggs, leeches, and San Juan Worms patterns. Midges: Durangler’s Midge Pupa and Dry.  RS-2 Disco Midge, Sproat midge Dry, Miracle Nymph. Flash Midge Pupa, Flashback WD-40.

Green Drake Parawulff (It wouldn’t hurt to have some Stimulators, Chubby Chernoybles, or Rogue Foam Stones on hand.)