2019 is Off to a Snowy Start – January 2019 Fishing Report

8 January 2019
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8 January 2019, Comments: 0

2019 is Off to a Snowy Start – January 2019 Fishing Report

Goodbye 2018…and in some regards, good riddance!  While last year had some highs that we remember quite fondly, the Durango area had some lows that we are excited to call “history”.  We have already seen more snow on the ground the past 2 weeks than we saw all last winter, which has us excited for the hope of this new year.  With the piles of snow, we have also seen some very low night time temps.  Low temps coupled with moisture makes for some hard-to-melt snowpack which just adds to the longevity of our summer float season.

The San Juan remains the old reliable of our wintertime fisheries, producing some fantastic fishing.  Its pretty amazing how well the Juan is actually fishing right now, with the cold weather we have seen the lake turn over effect discolor the river.  However, this discoloration seems to have emboldened the trout, and they are eating with fervent ferocity.  Rarely can you fish tippet larger than 6x on the Juan with larger flies, but now is the time.  Our favorite set up is a 4x or 5x leader fished with your favorite leech pattern, along with an annelid or large midge.  Fish are feeding hard, though the takes can be soft.  If you are in the zone, expect to get lots of eats.  Don’t discount streamers either: you may not get the numbers, but you will get quality.  Just fish them low and slow!

If you plan on getting out on the water with us this winter, don’t forget our Winter Guide Special.  $375 for the best of the day fishing, wade or float, for 1 or 2 anglers.  This is a great way to break up the winter doldrums or your ski vacation.  Make sure you stop by the shop or give us a call if you plan on getting out on the water at all, we would love to help you out.

You can also check out our frequently updated river reports page for the most up to date information.

River Reports:

San Juan River Quality Waters – The Quality Waters, like stated above, are seeing some lake turn over effect.  Bigger bugs, larger, tippet, and maybe even some movement.  Hey, it never hurts to give your bugs a little action every now and then.  Now is a great time to swing a streamer or leech through some likely holes.  The trout spey situation on the San Juan is probably one you should check out…

Flies of choice: leeches, annelids, larger midge pupa, worms, and egg patterns.

Animas – The Animas has been hit hard this year with the 416 Fire runoff, but she continues to hold on.  Fish numbers are down, but there are still fish to be caught.  The DOW has stocked a few fish in the town sections and it wouldn’t be a total waste of time to get out and toss a few bugs.

Flies of choice: Pheasant Tail Nymph, GTI Caddis, Disco Midge.

San Juan River In Colorado – The banks of the Upper San Juan around Pagosa are littered with geothermal hot springs.  These springs help keep the water temps in town slightly warmer than unbearabley cold.  This makes for happy fish.  Search out the deeper stretches and

Flies of choice: Wired Stone, Pat’s Rubberlegs, Black Midge PupaRainbow Warrior.

Rio Grande – This is not the best time to fish the Rio, mainly because it is covered in ice.

Piedra – Much like the Rio, the Piedra is mostly inaccessible.  What is accessible is either on private or covered in ice.  If you do have the opportunity to fish the Piedra.  Find the deepest, darkest holes and drop in your heaviest nymphs.

Flies of Choice: Any stonefly nymph you have in your box, fished right on the bottom and trailed by a Pheasant Tail Nymph.

Upper Dolores – Again, mostly ice by now.  Fish open water with lots of weight or wait until spring.

Flies of choice: Hare’s Ear Nymph, Stupid Fast Caddis, Disco Midge.

Los Pinos – Below Vallecito:  The lower Pine is very low and clear right now, but flows have been bumped up.  Fish will still be very skittish, but it doesn’t hurt to try.  Ok it does hurt because you will most likely get refused and that hurts your ego.

Above Vallecito: Snow and ice will make this trek very difficult.  Most of the river will be frozen over.

Creeks and the High Country – Covered in snow and ice.

Local Lakes – If you like ice fishing, local lakes will be frozen enough to cut a hole and drop a line.

Flies of choice: GTI Caddis, Grey and Olive Scuds.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

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