Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 8/15/2018

Make sure you also watch our recent Animas Lunch Report for a weekly recap!

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
 846 cfs Fluctuating The San Juan is the place to be right now.  Summer flows are in full effect and with the flows in the 800’s, fish will be found everywhere.

Midges, aquatic worms, and baetis will be the standard fare.

August on the San Juan means terrestrials! If things start to slow down on your standard fare nymph rig, don’t shy away from throwing on a hopper with an emerging midge or baetis dropper.

 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.

Terrestrials: Baby Boy Hopper, Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper, Amy’s Ant, Glitter Ant.

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
161 cfs LOW and WARM! The conditions on the Animas have been pretty sub-par lately.  With recent mudslides on the 416 burn scar and ash and mud flows into the river, fishing has been…interesting (not great).

However, the river is clearing up a little bit and we are starting to have some visibility.  Water temps are finally dropping, but the afternoons have been hot!  If you do decide to hit the Animas, go early and quit early.


 Hoppers with a dropper of your favorite attractor nymph.  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.


CFS Rising/Falling Fishing Conditions Patterns/Bug85
29.1 cfs Fluctuating Warm days and low flows are making fishing tough on the upper Juan

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.

Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Sparkle Stone, Atomic Stone, Brown Wired Stone, BH Copper John, Psycho Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Prince Nymph, GTI Caddis, Split Case PMD, CDC Emerging PMD.

Little Chubbies, Para-Madam X’s,  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.

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


15.7 cfs Low and fluctuating Late summer has low and warm temps on the Piedra.  Fishing will be tough afternoon so get out early.  Slow stealthy approaches will be necessary. Dries: Chubby Cherynobl, 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
285 cfs below dam Dropping With dropping flows, fishing smaller bugs will become key below the dam.

With terrestrials out and about this time of the year, the fish have been responding well to hopper, beetle and ant patterns.

Above Vallecito, fishing has been good in the mornings with Caddis, Stones, and PMDs.  Low flows will have skittish fish, so wade slow

Nymphs:  Little Black Sloan, 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
29.8 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
94.3 cfs Dropping Morning fishing on the Dolores should be pretty good throughout the drainage.  Smallies are moving into the river and can be caught around the town of Dolores.  Be wary of trout health as temps rise in the afternoons and try to avoid fishing if it gets too hot (water temps above 65 degrees) 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, Fat Head Moth, Black CFO Ant

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
115 cfs (30 Mile)

137 cfs (Wagon Wheel)

Low and steady Flows are low for this time of year on the Rio…but fishing remains good.    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.

Terrestrials: Morrish HopperSweetgrass Hopper, or Hamburgler

Caddis: Parachute Caddis, Peacock Caddis, X Caddis.

A size 14 parachute Adams always, always works.

Buggers and streamers are always worth a shot too.

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
7.9 cfs (Above Lemon)

9.53 cfs (Below Lemon)

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

The lower tailwater is all private, and flows are really low.  Be stealthy, small dry droppers will be a good go to.


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
 N/A Steady The summer creek season is here!  Attractor dries will be your go-to.  Flows will be low, so be sneaky.

The majority of the Hermosa Drainage has Opened since the containment of the 416 Fire. Lime and Cascade are open as well 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
52 cfs Fluctuating 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 rig 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
With warmer water temperatures on a lot of our favorite trout streams, it is a great time to start thinking still-water!

Our local high country and mid elevation lakes are all open and the fish have been hungry!

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 the Bass and Carp fishing has been great!

Pasterious, Totten, Puett are all fishing good for Pike, Bass, and Carp.

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
593 cfs Steady Late 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
101 cfs Dropping With flows dropping, fish will be stacked up but spookier.  Be stealthy like a hunter and you may find big fish. 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.

Hoppers and terrestrials