Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 8/23/2017

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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
 713 cfs Just bumped up Flows have been bumped, which has caused fishing to get better.  Worms, leeches, and annelids are the key; but make sure you also have the standard midge pupa.  Sick of the small stuff?  Throw terrestrial dries.  Midges 22-28: Black midge pupa, Disco Midge, Rootbeer Midge, Jujubee Midge, .Simi Seal Leeches, Goat Leech, Chamois Leech. San Juan Worms: Red, Wine, Orange. Red and Orange Annelids, and Chamois leeches.  Terrestrials: ants, hoppers, crickets.

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
354 cfs Falling, but fluctuating with rain events Late summer low flows are here.  Waters are clear (pending rain) and are warming up.  Mornings are having good hatches of PMDs and evenings are for caddis.  Trout will be somewhat skittish throughout the day. Duranglers Peacock Caddis, Black Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Dry Muddler Minnow.  GTI Caddis, Graphic Caddis, Swing Caddis.  PMDs: Barrs Vis A Dun, Sparkle Dun, Split Back PMD, RS-2.  Trico Spinner.  Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper

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 Falling The low summer flows are making for warmer waters midday.  The mornings and evenings will be your best bet with caddis and PMDs.  Hoppers will be all over the place as well.  Fish will be less active in the middle of the day. Duranglers Peacock Caddis, Black Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Dry Muddler Minnow.   GTI Caddis, Graphic Caddis, Swing Caddis.  PMDs: Barrs Vis A Dun, Sparkle Dun, Split Back PMD, RS-2.  If nothing else, fish a stonefly nymph 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
126 cfs Falling While the flows are falling, they are still high for August…which is good.  Mornings and evenings with moth patterns will be solid.  Look for hatches of PMDs and caddis.  Hoppers will abound. Caddis: Elk Hair Caddis, Foam Caddis.  Fat Head Moth.  Stimulators, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Pheasant Tails.  PMDs: Barrs Vis A Dun, Sparkle Dun, Split Back PMD, RS-2.  If nothing else, a good stonefly nymph rig.

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 below dam. Steady Late summer on the Pine tends to be good.  Stonefly rigs in fast water, hoppers in pockets, or a dry dropper to cover it all.  Fish will be holding in mid depth water until the cold really starts to come…but for now fish it all.  Above Vallecito, hoppers, caddis, and Moth patterns are a good option. Prince, Copper John,  Hare’s Ear Nymphs, Stupid Fast Caddis. Fat Head Moth Stoneflies such as Hot Wire Prince, Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 incher. Scuds and Sowbugs. PMDs: Barrs Vis A Dun, Sparkle Dun, Split Back PMD, 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
78.2 cfs Steady at summer flows The fishing has really picked up on the lower D with strong hatches of PMDs and some caddis.  Fish will be looking up throughout the day.  Be ready for some incredible dry fly fishing.  Late summer also brings on the hordes of hoppers… PMDs:  Split Back PMD, Barr’s PMD Vis-A-Dun, Juju PMD Nymph, Pink Harewing Dun.  Hoppers:  Yagers 409, Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper.  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
240 cfs Falling, fluctuating with rain With falling flows (finally) fishing will be awesome with dry dropper set ups.  Look for fish to be holding in likely spots on this classic Colorado high country river. Stimulators, Royal Wulffs, Chubbys.  Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Caddis nymphs. Prince Nymphs, Hare’s Ear.

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
140 at 30 mile/443 Wagon Wheel Gap Falling Late summer can be tough on the Rio.  Gone are the glory hatches of Summer and cooler weather is moving in.  Hatches of BWOs may begin to show soon, but hopper dropper rigs, nymph rigs, and streamers will be solid.  Wade fishing will be key, but some float opportunities exist. Hoppers: Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper, Yeager’s 409.  BWO nymphs and dries such as RS-2, Bat Wing Emerger, Foam BWO Emerger, Barrs Vis A Dun.  Streamers: Flash Fry, Josh’s Ziwi, Dirty Hippy, Bennett’s Lunch Money.

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
29.7 Above/170 Below Falling above, being increased below Fishing is good.  Below the dam, dry droppers are wrecking in the mornings and evenings; but a deep nymph rig will be good throughout the day.  Above: attractor dries. Nymphs: Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, Hare’s Ear, Rainbow Warrior.  Stupid Fast Caddis.  Elk hair caddis, Stimulator, Yager’s 409, Chubbies.

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 Falling into the late summer rhythm.  Attractor dries will be key…almost a go to really…but you can also fish a dropper off of the dry if you are into that sort of thing. 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
104 cfs Falling fast With falling flows (finally) fishing will be awesome with dry dropper set ups.  Look for fish to be holding in likely spots on this classic Colorado high country river. Stimulators, Chubbies, Elk Hair Caddis.  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
Most local lakes are iced off and ready to fish.  Very high, backcountry lakes may still have some ice. Fishing is great for smallmouth, and trout.  Pike may start to pick up soon with cooler weather.  Navajo is open, Totten and Puett will be fishable as well.  Lemon and Vallecito are also open.  Electra is open.  Carp fishing is good right now too.

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
936 Steady Floatable, fishable flows are here on the Gunnison.  Hatches of PMDs, and caddis are abounding. Terrestrials and streamers are also finding fish. Yager’s 409, Chubby’s, Parachute Adams, Stimulators, Humpies.  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
328 Recently Dropped Fishing is good .  BWOs and Midges are around, but look for PMDs and Caddis to hatch too.  Typical tailwater stuff will work, but so will stoneflies and bigger nymphs.  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.  PMD Pink Hairwing Dun, Elk Hair Caddis, X-Caddis.