Durango Area Rivers Report

Updated 9/13/2018

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
 717 cfs Steady Fall on the Juan might be one of our favorite times to be here.  With higher flows than normal, trout will be spread out throughout the upper and lower flats as well as many back channels.  Midges, aquatic worms, and baetis will be the standard fare.  We have not seen a lot of dry fly action lately, but on the lower stretches, terrestrials are bringing fish to the top.  Streamers become a good option the farther you get from the dam.  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 #14-20. Red and Orange Annelids #18-22, and Chamois leeches.

BWOs: Thread Baetis, Split Flag Baetis, Barrs Vis-A-DunJujubaetis #18-24

Terrestrials: Baby Boy Hopper, Morrish Hopper, Sweetgrass Hopper, Amy’s Ant, Glitter Ant, all in sizes 12-16.

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
124 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 not been great.  Fish numbers are down

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!


 Hopper dropper setups, stonefly and baetis nymph rigs, streamers such as: Cheech Leech, Triple Double Rainbow, Animas River Special, Lunch Money.

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/Bug
16.5 cfs Low Warm days and low flows are making fishing tough on the upper Juan

Flows are LOW on the upper SJ.  Mornings are best, and look for the deeper holes to hold fish.

Pat’s Rubberlegs, 20 Incher, Sparkle Stone, Atomic Stone, Brown Wired Stone in sizes #8-12.

BH Copper John, Psycho Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Prince Nymph, GTI Caddis #14-18.

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 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. 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
57.2 cfs below dam Dropping With dropping flows, fishing smaller bugs will become key below the dam.  You will have to be super stealthy and sneaky.

Above Vallecito, fishing has been ok in the mornings with terrestrials.  Low flows will have skittish fish, so wade slow

Nymphs:  Little Black Sloan, Brown Wired Stone, Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Z-Wing Caddis, RS-2, 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
25 cfs Low Water While the flows are low, fishing can still be good on the lower D.  Make sure you make stealthy approaches with light tippet.

Think about fishing terrestrials, BWOs, and PMD’s.

Dry Flies:  Morrish Hopper, Parachute Hopper, Never Sink Trude, BWO Snowshoe Dun, Parachute Adams 18-24, BWO Foam Emerger.

Nymphs: Tav’s Fluff Baetis, Tungsten CDC FB Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker.

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/Bug40
40.3 cfs Dropping Fishing is picking up on the upper Dolores.  With cooler evening temps, waters are also chilling out from the almost boiling summer temps.  Terrestrials, BWOs and fall caddis will be prime food sources for trout right now. Stonefly nymphs  Rubber Leg Copper John, Dirty Bird, Pat’s Rubber Legs.  Caddis nymphs. Prince Nymphs, Guides Choice Hare’s Ear.

Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, Dave’s Hopper, Yellow/Brown Yaegers, Red Legged Hopper, Black HiVis Ant, 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
150 cfs (30 Mile)

219 cfs (Wagon Wheel)

Low and steady Flows have picked up a bit on the Rio with recent rains.  Wade fishing will be good with nymphs, terrestrials, and hoppers.   Watch for hatches of BWOs.  The streamer game is also fantastic right now, and now is a great time to hit the river with your favorite trout spey rod swinging and stripping your favorite trout streamers. Terrestrials: Morrish HopperSweetgrass Hopper, or Hamburgler

BWOs:  Juju Baetis, BWO Snowshoe Dun, Parachute Adams, BWO Foam Emerger, Barrs BWO Vis A Dun.

A size 14 parachute Adams always seems to work on the Rio.

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
6.71 cfs (Above Lemon)

8.71 cfs (Below Lemon)

Low The Upper river low are LOW and fishing is mediocre.

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 Late summer flows on our local creeks will be low, but fishing will remain good.  High country cuttie holes will still fish good with attractor dry dropper rigs.  Now is the time to get up high and see some Fall aspen colors too!

Upper Hermosa is open,  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
56.1 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
Falling Fall temps bringing our local Reservoirs into some fun fishing shape before winter.

Navajo: Carp and pike are eating!  A few bass are still being caught.

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

Lake Nightmare …er…Nighthorse will also be fishing well with crayfish patterns for big trout.

Electra: Fishing really great.

Vallecito: Pike fishing is getting better by the day. Trout are staging and feeding.

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
546 cfs Rising 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.  BWOs are showing up en force and Streamers are also becoming more popular with each day. BWO Nymphs: Sniper Baetis, Pheasant Tails, Micro Mayfly Olive, Two Bit Hooker Red, Rainbow Warrior.  Stupid Fast Caddis #16-18.

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

Dries: Chubby Chernobyl Morrish Hopper.

BWO Dries: Barrs Vis A Dun, BWO Snowshoe Dun # 16-20


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

BWOs, PMDs, and Hoppers are a good food source these days.

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